Asho's Reviews > Wolf Hall

Wolf Hall by Hilary Mantel
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's review
Mar 10, 2010

really liked it
bookshelves: read-but-do-not-own
Read in March, 2010

I love reading historical fiction, particularly about England, and this is one of many books I've read that cover this time period (Henry VIII's marriage to Anne Boleyn and split from the Catholic church) from different perspectives. It was interesting to "hear" Cromwell's perspective for a change, since Thomas More-focused works paint him as the villain and from what I remember in The Other Boleyn Girl he played a very minor role. In short, it was nice to get a different slant on these historical characters who feel very familiar to me from other reading.
The style of this book took a while for me to grasp. It's rare to come across a book written in third-person present tense, so for the first fifty pages or so I was doing some re-reading to figure out who exactly was saying what. Once I realized that "he" pretty much always refers to Cromwell (although sometimes it refers to other people; Mantel is not fond of pronouns, apparently) I got into the rhythm of the novel and really began to enjoy it. This novel made Cromwell such a likable character, which surprised me, and I liked the weaving together of historical greats and very minor servants, children, etc.
I do find the title somewhat misleading, though. Since it is called Wolf Hall I fully expected the book to end with the Seymours' ascent to power. While at the end of the book things are clearly beginning to trend in that direction, I think Mantel chose a really strange spot to stop telling this story. I can only assume (and hope) that she is working on a sequel that will provide the major climax.

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02/28/2010 page 29
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