Sue’s review of Bring Up the Bodies (Thomas Cromwell, #2) > Likes and Comments

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message 1: by ·Karen· (new)

·Karen· Hey Sue, I'm up to page 72. How are you doing?


message 2: by Sue (new)

Sue Haven't read any further yet. I do like it. Hope to get to more today.


message 3: by Tajma (new)

Tajma I can't wait for Anne to get her comeuppance. She's so mean!


message 4: by Kim (new)

Kim I love this book.


message 5: by Tajma (new)

Tajma I'm finding it much more concise than Wolf Hall. The writing is smoother.


message 6: by Sue (new)

Sue I'm noticing that she defines her "he" in this book. Must have felt the comments after Wolf Hall. I agree it does seem more concise. I had to finish a library book due tomorrow. Now I can return to this (after email!)


message 7: by ·Karen· (new)

·Karen· Tajma wrote: "I'm finding it much more concise than Wolf Hall. The writing is smoother."

It certainly seems to flow more, yes. It doesn't jump around quite so much, is that it?


message 8: by Tajma (new)

Tajma That's definitely a big part of it, Karen. Also, she concentrates on fewer characters so their voices are more distinct to me.


message 9: by ·Karen· (new)

·Karen· That's true. There are fewer characters - well, a lot of them are dead. All those Cromwell women, now falcons. There must be some significance there. Who are the crows? I'm on that section now. I'm not sure who the crows are.


message 10: by Sue (new)

Sue The falcons were really odd. I was wondering who named them. I know you're ahead of me, Karen. I've only read that initial scene. Somehow I can't see Cromwell naming the falcons. Henry? yes.


message 11: by ·Karen· (new)

·Karen· That's an interesting question Sue. The names strike John Seymour as odd too. Maybe Mantel sacrificed verisimilitude to a cracking opening sentence!


message 12: by Sue (new)

Sue Good point Karen.


message 13: by Tajma (new)

Tajma ·Karen· wrote: "That's an interesting question Sue. The names strike John Seymour as odd too. Maybe Mantel sacrificed verisimilitude to a cracking opening sentence!"


I can live with that! :-)


message 14: by Sue (new)

Sue Just finished the first 100 pages. Mantel's writing continues to pull me in and captivates me. She is so strong. The visit to Katherine---very interesting.


message 15: by ·Karen· (new)

·Karen· I'm there too, Sue.

I was just looking back at this first part. I was struck by the scene where the King has fallen asleep, the jockeying between the men as to who should wake him, and how, without bringing his wrath down on their heads. And it's Jane who smartly raps the back of his hand, as if she were testing a cheese! Prophetic, no doubt. But it shows how the men are afraid, whereas she is not. Is this just because she knows less how the King can do harm?


message 16: by Sue (new)

Sue Jane is an interesting person. I'd love to know what is said on those walks. She seems to have no fear of him, to see him less as king and more as a man. in spite of everything she has witnessed. Perhaps too the men are more subject to Henry's wrath than a woman is for Henry does like women. Most of the men surrounding him are "yes men" except Cromwell--who will say yes but in a very different way.


message 17: by ·Karen· (new)

·Karen· Yes, you're quite right, as a woman she does have less to fear from Henry. There's less at stake for her - she doesn't expect a baronetcy. And she's already been lady's maid, both to Katherine and Anne.
Do we know why she no is no longer at court? I should remember from the last book, but I don't


message 18: by Tajma (new)

Tajma ·Karen· wrote: "I'm there too, Sue.

I was just looking back at this first part. I was struck by the scene where the King has fallen asleep, the jockeying between the men as to who should wake him, and how, withou..."


This was hilarious! They were too afraid of him to stop him from making a fool of himself.


message 19: by Sue (new)

Sue I'm getting ahead of myself!. I've just finished the next section. I love Mantel's writing. Given all the reading I'm in the midst of I'll probably try to stay a bit ahead. Actually this is very addictive.


message 20: by Tajma (new)

Tajma I've fallen off the pace a bit but I'll catch up with you! I'm realizing what my problem is. I LOVE the interaction between Anne and Thomas. I find myself always wanting to jump to their scenes, which I guess isn't fair to the rest of the novel.


message 21: by Sue (new)

Sue Tajma wrote: "I've fallen off the pace a bit but I'll catch up with you! I'm realizing what my problem is. I LOVE the interaction between Anne and Thomas. I find myself always wanting to jump to their scenes, wh..."

But totally understandable. Actually I'm finding so much of the action is really holding me this time. I think she (Mantel) had eliminated much of the descriptive language of the land, etc. in favor of more internal and external dialogue. It seems to make some scenes move very quickly.


message 22: by Sue (new)

Sue Have to say I love her descriptive language--it's beautiful--but this novel is just so much more active-feeling.


message 23: by Tajma (new)

Tajma Sue wrote: "Have to say I love her descriptive language--it's beautiful--but this novel is just so much more active-feeling."

Well put, Sue!!


message 24: by ·Karen· (new)

·Karen· Yes, there does seem to be more movement, more action.

I've got up to the end of part one. I think the crows were the women around the queen, is that what I spotted? All those ladies were described as crows, shaking out their feathers when they moved away as Cromwell came in to speak to Anne.

I also noted the proxies: the killing of Anne's dog, the weird scene much earlier when two of Cromwell's young men were kicking what looked like a body and turned out to be an effigy of Weston. Foreshadowing of more violence, I presume.


message 25: by Sue (last edited Aug 12, 2013 10:40AM) (new)

Sue And the Papal snowmen to be destroyed in the morning by stomping!
There seem to be many fore-shadowings of mystery, fear, violence in noises of unknown origin, mists over the city or country hiding the shape of the land or the appearance of people.


message 26: by ·Karen· (new)

·Karen· Oh now I do feel a little sympathy for Anne, and those around her too. It was a gamble that she lost. The stakes were high - her own life. Did she hold out too long? - past her most fertile stage in life, a little harder to conceive, a little harder to keep the baby and wham, that's it, thank you ma'am, next please. It is harsh. How was she meant to 'keep' Henry? How could she have sustained his interest in her? I don't know that she ever could have, in any way. The royal wife was a brood mare, nothing more than that. If she doesn't fulfill that role, then there's nothing.


message 27: by Tajma (new)

Tajma Anne made the huge mistake that many people make when life is going well. She assumed she could never be brought down and that she didn't need to respect anyone "beneath" her. She only shows humanity when the wolves start howling at her door.


message 28: by Sue (new)

Sue I haven't read any further this week--caught up in other books--but Mantel is calling to me so I'll probably dive in and get ahead.


message 29: by Tajma (new)

Tajma I have lots of library holds coming in so I'm hoping to be able to keep pace. What's good is that because it's historical fiction you can put it down an never really lose the plot too much.


message 30: by ·Karen· (new)

·Karen· Tajma, yes, you're quite right. She was arrogant in that respect, so I suppose she did bring it on herself. And she wouldn't read the signs and go quietly to a convent.

But this is all from Thomas Cromwell's point of view.

Sue, whenever you're ready. I'm sorry, there's a certain dynamic that sets in after a while, I just can't stop, although I should be reading other things too!


message 31: by Sue (new)

Sue I'll be picking it up again soon I've been reading so many books but finished another this evening. Once I open this book, though, I find it difficult to put down. I'll read a bit of Mann and Andric then come back to this tonight I think (though I'm also reading Faulkner). who knew I could get myself in such a reading pickle!


message 32: by Tajma (last edited Aug 14, 2013 05:59PM) (new)

Tajma Kudos to you for being able to read Faulkner along with anything else! LOL. Which one are you reading?


message 33: by Sue (last edited Aug 14, 2013 06:29PM) (new)

Sue Tajma wrote: "Kudos to you for being able to read Faulkner along with anything else! LOL. Which one are you reading?"

I'm reading Go Down Moses and actually finding it quite difficult to read with anything else (and somewhat difficult all by itself!) I'm using the "just let it flow over me approach" which has worked in the past. I'm doing this with the southern group I'm in. There is a discussion but I don't want to read much of that til I've read at least the first story.


message 34: by Tajma (new)

Tajma That's a nice group. Unfortunately I've come to realize that I'm not the biggest fan of Southern Lit. I joined when they were reading one of my top five favorite novels but I couldn't hang around after that.


message 35: by Sue (new)

Sue There's a lot that I like in Southern lit and I usually read at least one of their books each month.


message 36: by Sue (new)

Sue I finished tonight. Loved, loved, loved this book. So glad we worked this into our schedule ladies. Can hardly wait for the next book whenever it arrives.


message 37: by Kris (new)

Kris Hooray Sue! I'm so glad you loved this book. I thought you would. :)


message 38: by Diane (new)

Diane Barnes My "real life" book club chose Wolf Hall for our August read, and we met tonight to discuss it. We had a great discussion, and a couple of members went right into Bring Up the Bodies and said it was even better. I can't wait to read it myself.


message 39: by Sue (new)

Sue Kris wrote: "Hooray Sue! I'm so glad you loved this book. I thought you would. :)"

Oh indeed I did. As many others did, I liked it even better than Wolf Hall which I would have though difficult to accomplish. So much wonderful reading this year--so many different types of books. LOVE GR!


message 40: by Sue (new)

Sue Diane wrote: "My "real life" book club chose Wolf Hall for our August read, and we met tonight to discuss it. We had a great discussion, and a couple of members went right into Bring Up the Bodies and said it w..."

Jump right in, Diane. It really pulls you along. The only reason it took me as long as it did to read this is the fact I'm reading a few other books that demand attention (that and some migraines).


message 41: by ·Karen· (new)

·Karen· Fine review, Sue. I'm sorry to hear about the migraines, especially as they interfere with reading, which is the most important thing after all ;-) I hope you feel better.


message 42: by ·Karen· (new)

·Karen· I was thinking again about how old and tired Henry is. That early scene of him falling asleep at the table after the hunting expedition. I think Mantel is right to emphasise that he is tired: he wants a sweet compliant companion for his old age, he's done enough (too much perhaps) on the European stage, and his efforts have not been rewarded by heaven.
I think you're right too to point up the commercial aspect, that growing shift towards the cash nexus. These two currents are the beginnings of big changes: the move towards a different model of marriage, based on personal feelings, and the growing influence of the financial.


message 43: by Sue (new)

Sue ·Karen· wrote: "I was thinking again about how old and tired Henry is. That early scene of him falling asleep at the table after the hunting expedition. I think Mantel is right to emphasise that he is tired: he wa..."

There was a statement at one point, nearer the end than the beginning I think, that points out that only the poor can marry for love or companionship. Henry is aging fast, isn't he. I imagine the various wounds mentioned aren't helping as they don't seem to heal well, if at all.

The world of that time does seem to be changing. I love the mention of letters and proclamations now being translated into local languages as Latin no longer rules. I recently read The Ornament of the World: How Muslims, Jews, and Christians Created a Culture of Tolerance in Medieval Spain which deals with that in some ways through the changes in Spain in particular. Very interesting times.


message 44: by Sue (new)

Sue ·Karen· wrote: "Fine review, Sue. I'm sorry to hear about the migraines, especially as they interfere with reading, which is the most important thing after all ;-) I hope you feel better."

Thanks Karen. I had many sections marked for possible inclusion but this just seemed to sum up so much of what was happening, personally, nationally and internationally.

As for the headaches, most times the meds will help. I just need to take them instead of thinking maybe this time it's not really a migraine :) (many of mine now come from my neck so it can be confusing)


message 45: by Fionnuala (new)

Fionnuala Cromwell is in charge
One of the key messages in this book, I think, Sue. You've extracted the essence very nicely.
As to the falcons mentioned in the discussion, I felt they were also a key metaphor for the action in this part of the Cromwell saga, they do what has to be done, as he does, swiftly and silently.


message 46: by ·Karen· (new)

·Karen· Sue wrote: "only the poor can marry for love or companionship."

Yes! And although Henry is tired, he's also secure as king. He doesn't feel the need to bolster his position with a marriage of convenience any more. The personal CAN override the state considerations.


message 47: by Kim (new)

Kim Such a wonderful novel. I completely believe in Mantel's version of her historical characters.


message 48: by Tajma (new)

Tajma If there were six stars, I would have given it to this novel. Not a single flaw of plotting, character or dialogue.

Sue, I was also bothered by a few migraines during this read and more than once had to reread blocks of pages. The writing was so strong that even with that problem I never lost the narrative thread.


message 49: by Sue (new)

Sue Fionnuala wrote: "Cromwell is in charge
One of the key messages in this book, I think, Sue. You've extracted the essence very nicely.
As to the falcons mentioned in the discussion, I felt they were also a key metaph..."


I noted the change from falcons at the very end of the book. though I can't recall what bird took it's place. All part of the overall change.


message 50: by Sue (new)

Sue ·Karen· wrote: "Sue wrote: "only the poor can marry for love or companionship."

Yes! And although Henry is tired, he's also secure as king. He doesn't feel the need to bolster his position with a marriage of conv..."


Cromwell seems to have certainly been a largely factor in that security!


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