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Mary Boleyn: The True Story of Henry VIII's Favourite Mistress

4.10  ·  Rating details ·  3,310 ratings  ·  21 reviews
The scandalous true story of Mary Boleyn, infamous sister of Anne, and mistress of Henry VIII. Mary Boleyn, 'the infamous other Boleyn girl', began her court career as the mistress of the king of France. Francois I of France would later call her 'The Great Prostitute' and the slur stuck. The bete-noir of her family, Mary was married her off to a minor courtier but it was n ...more
Hardcover, 256 pages
Published June 15th 2009 by Amberley Publishing (first published April 14th 2009)
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4.10  · 
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 ·  3,310 ratings  ·  21 reviews

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May 16, 2012 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: history, library
As a very basic history of the Henrican court this just about works, so long as you take the author's flights of fancy with a pinch of salt; as a history of it's title subject, Mary Bolelyn this sucks. As it's such a slim work I wasn't expecting an in depth biography, but I was expecting more that one paragraph in five to concern 'the other Bolelyn girl'. Even in the rare moments that Mary get's a mention in her own book, there is so much wild conjecture, and so little evidence as to make it rat ...more
Sarah -  All The Book Blog Names Are Taken
I have been fascinated by Mary for a long time, I find her far more intriguing than Anne. You can't help but feel sorry for her, given how Anne and George always seemed to be favored by their father. Unfortunately this biography doesn't give any new information or insight into Mary's life; but that's not entirely unexpected, given the time period. The trouble I have with this text is the leaps the author takes with the information we do have access to. Most notably, there is no concrete evidence ...more
Marc Kohlman
Sep 12, 2013 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Beautifully written biography with rich detail! Ever since I read Philippa Gregory's novel "The Other Boleyn Girl", Mary Boleyn had intrigued me both as a historical figure and as a ordinary person. Wilkinson really conducted meticulous research into the life of Henry VIII's most "infamous" mistress. She strips away the myths of what Mary's contemporaries and popular culture have said she was. I certainly think her children, Katharine and Henry, possibly were Henry's while evidence is circumstan ...more
Sarah Bryson
Mar 08, 2017 rated it it was amazing
I have always been fascinated with Mary Boleyn. Compared to her sister Anne she may be the unknown Boleyn sister, but for me there is so much more to Mary Boleyn. For me Mary is a woman of depth and substance, a woman whom defied the common rules of the time, defied her parents and ultimately followed her heart.

Unfortunately there has not been a great deal of information recorded about Mary. What has been recorded is scant but I felt as though Josephine Wilkinson did a marvellous job of compili
Jun 16, 2010 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
While I appreciate the author's efforts at focusing on the lesser-known Boleyn and understand it is difficult to interpret in light of few original sources, that doesn't excuse the fact that the writing was repetitive. The author filled in the lack of information with more details about Anne and Henry, when the subject matter was intended to be Mary. Finally, the author seemed intent upon confirming every person's pedigree without really explaining why that information was important to her subje ...more
Jun 29, 2009 rated it liked it
This is a pretty short biography that is rather sparse on factual information concerning Mary and resorts to descriptions of court, pageants, and other individuals connected to Mary as filler. Wilkinson does set out her theories (and some evidence both for and against) for Mary being the older sister and the likliehood that Henry VIII was the father of her children. It's not a bad book per se, it's just rather underwhelming.
Jan 25, 2017 rated it really liked it
Shelves: tudor-fact

I think it’s a stretch for Wilkinson to suggest Mary Boleyn was the great love of Henry VIII’s life – Henry loved Henry – but other than that, Wilkinson does a solid job examining the possible motives and reasoning behind the bare facts that we have to work with about her life.
Jun 21, 2009 rated it did not like it
Shelves: tudors-era
Not much information on Mary. Like several biographies related to Boleyn family this one follows suit with overshadowing Mary with Ann, I found this biography detailing Ann Boleyn rise and not Mary. However their was some interesting information about Henry’s other mistress.
Oct 29, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I did thoroughly enjoy this book about Mary Boleyn, one of my all time favorite historical personages, and her family. Josephine Wilkinson did a fine job with SOME equivocating on the actual paternal line of Henry and Catherine Carey. I work extensively with would be lovely to know that for sure.

Mary, to me and apparently to the author, was a sympathetic character and I feel redeemed herself as she bowed out of Henry VIII's life.

Recommended to many others, who like Tudor historicals, I r
Apr 03, 2009 rated it liked it
I remember when I first heard about this book, I couldn't wait for the release date, so I order the book as soon as it hit the bookstores in England. Once it arrive , I started reading it, and I finish the whole book in about 2 hours. yep, 2 hours. It's a very short and easy read. Only 200 pages double space. The whole book reads like a teen's essay . There is nothing new at all in this book about Mary Boleyn,and most of it is guess work, as in what Mary might have done, or how she might have fe ...more
Feb 02, 2014 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: non-fiction, tudors
The slimness of this book reflects the scarcity of knowledge about Mary Boleyn, mistress to Henry VIII prior to his marriage to Anne. It feels as though the author has to imagine far more than there is evidence for, and certain sections, especially regarding her children, feel somewhat repetitive. Overall though, this is a very easy read however it is best to have a bit of knowledge of the established Tudor chronology to put this in context.
Rebecca Nelson
Jan 20, 2013 rated it it was ok
Very easy read and interesting in regards to the history of the time. A biography about Mary Boleyn it is not- very little is told about the title
subject, seemingly due to little surviving historical evidence regarding her. The cynic in me feels this may have been an attempt by the author to sell more books in light of the recent "the other Boleyn girl" film success...
Shirley C
Oct 18, 2012 rated it liked it
More of a scholarly work (commentary, not novel form). It was interesting but only with a small amount of more information than has been generally gleaned from reading the novels. It was enjoyable, but not great.
Sep 05, 2009 rated it it was amazing
Commissioned by me, sold out in two months and currently reprinting.
Mar 30, 2015 rated it did not like it
Felt like I was reading an encyclopedia- way too many facts spouted out without weaving it into a storyline.
Sep 23, 2016 rated it liked it
Very basic information about Mary, proves there is little recorded about this lady.
Aug 13, 2010 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: tudors, nonfiction
Not as much information as I was hoping for, but still a quick, interesting read.
Oct 17, 2016 rated it really liked it
A delightful little romp through a real-life soap opera!
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Nov 14, 2013
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Sinopsis en Español // Synopsis in Spanish 1 3 Feb 13, 2015 09:43AM  

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Dr Josephine Wilkinson received a First Class Honours degree from the University of Newcastle. She was the winner of the Third Year Prize for her work on The Little Apocalypse, which placed Mark chapter 13 into its historical context, and the Jewish Studies Prize for her historical study of the community at Qumran. She remained at Newcastle, earning an MPhil for her thesis on the historical John t ...more