snackywombat (v.m.)'s Reviews > The Other Boleyn Girl

The Other Boleyn Girl by Philippa Gregory
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's review
Jul 19, 2008

liked it
Recommended for: the Ladies
Read in March, 2008

Historical fiction can't be good without an amazing history. And the story of the Boleyn girls' rise and fall qualifies as one of the most delicious stories ever. So basically the entire novel rides on the premise that Mary Boleyn has something unique to say about these girls' lives as courtiers and later royalty, and although at times she's too winningly innocent and ditsy in a much too contemporary "blonde" sense, her voice lightens a shadowy and inscrutable tale of ambition, manipulation and death. The writing doesn't exactly sparkle but it wrings the drama out of every situation and it flows in a way that you miss about supermarket thrillers.

Philippa Gregory wields both her imagination and her research but too often indulges her heavy hand with titillating scenes and the result in a bit of a cheese-fest. She uses some interesting theories about Anne Boleyn's career, like incest and homosexuality, and integrates them well into the collective knowledge we all have of this era. Deciding how much of the dialect and anachronistic details to include can be very problematic in historical fiction but the characters' pretty regular speech with a dollop of Olde English now and then actually allows it to be accessible and not overly precious. This is a book to take for what it is--an engaging way to experience a legend that catches the imagination.
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