This is my first experience with Philippa Gregory. I'd never heard of her before until the book, The Other Boleyn Girl was made into a movie. I was a...moreThis is my first experience with Philippa Gregory. I'd never heard of her before until the book, The Other Boleyn Girl was made into a movie. I was asked to read and review this book. I'm glad I was asked.
I was awestruck by the amount of history and historical facts in this book. I've never been much for English history, and I think I'll leave it that way. It's not that I didn't like it, but I was so confused half of the time I didn't know if I was coming or going. Why parents insist on naming their children the same names over an over, even back then, is astounding; I had a hard time remember which Edward was which, which George was which, which Richard was which. The only two names that really stuck out: John and Henry - no one else had those names! Talk about lack of imagination ... good grief, LOL!
The amount of plotting, deceit, made me sick to my stomach. I can't believe people lived that way back then: some in constant fear for their lives, some always believing they are right, some having to do things in order to keep themselves 'above water'... I can say I'm glad the world doesn't live like that now.
I read one reviewer's comment that they were 'glad the book wasn't romanticised'. Frankly, I think I needed it to be a little more. I felt nothing for the characters, I could not associate with them in any way, I felt detached from the whole thing. Another reviewer stated that, while it wasn't the author's best book, it is also far from the worst. I cannot comment, as I've stated this is my first taste of Philippa Gregory, but I don't think it will be my last.
Queen Elizabeth wasn't endeering to me at all. Her ambition for the throne left a sour taste in my mouth; she pleads that she loves her husband, and yet, now that he's dead, she continues to push, even in sanctuary. Even after being defeated, dethroned, judgement passed that her marriage was a sham, her children declared bastards, she still continued to plot and scheme, to see either her son or her daughter on the throne. By the end of the book, all I kept thinking was - why? I still don't get the 'why'. I'm afraid someone will have to explain that one to me; it went directly over my head by at least a dozen miles.
The plot is fast-paced, and the author leaves enough of a cliffhanger that pretty much guarantees you'll pick up the next book.
For me, it is the history in this book that has me rating it 4 stars. I am curious to see if the Queen's son, Edward, was ever found, if her daughter Elizabeth sits on the throne, if her son Richard does... (how can you tell I don't know much about that history.) It's the history in the novel, the plotting, the scheming, the deceit, that makes the book riveting.(less)