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

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message 1: by Carolyn (last edited Sep 14, 2014 02:47PM) (new)

Carolyn Great review Bette!
Thanks for posting the link to the Cromwell Controversies.It's interesting to hear the speculation on what really caused Cromwell's downfall.


B the BookAddict Thanks, Carolyn. I always find it handy to read facts about an Historical figure other than what is in the book. And that link has some comment by well known historians and writers; I really enjoyed reading it.


message 3: by Carolyn (new)

Carolyn I like to know what is historical fact and what is conjecture or opinion and it's so hard to tell that from a novel. I love it when the author takes a bit of extra time to comment on this at the end of the book.


message 4: by Angela M (new)

Angela M Bette , thanks for the recommendation but I wasn't crazy about Wolf Hall so I'm not sure I could get into it .


B the BookAddict Carolyn wrote: "I like to know what is historical fact and what is conjecture or opinion and it's so hard to tell that from a novel. I love it when the author takes a bit of extra time to comment on this at the en..."

The line between conjecture and truth is a hard one for good historical novelists. They often have to rely on what was said, passed on and things often become like a chinese whisper e.g. distorted and quite unlike the real facts. But very little solid evidence probably remains from these times. I think Mantel covered this issue in the link "Thomas Cromwell Conspiracies".

I've recently read Anne Boleyn: Fatal Attractions compiled by Historian/History Professor G.W. Bernard. In the book, he presents you with all the evidence known to historians about Anne and the men charged at her trial. He then allows you to make up your own mind. It's not a book you can 'zoom' through; you need to really concentrate while reading it. But I would recommend it if Anne really interests you.


message 6: by Carolyn (new)

Carolyn Better BookAddict wrote: "Carolyn wrote: "I like to know what is historical fact and what is conjecture or opinion and it's so hard to tell that from a novel. I love it when the author takes a bit of extra time to comment o..."

That does sound interesting Bette. So much of history is affected by the politics of the time as well as the opinion of the writer so to be able to tease out the bare facts and present them without bias from your own opinion must be quite difficult.


message 7: by Sally (new)

Sally Howes It just so happens that I read your review immediately after watching the penultimate episode of Season 2 of The Tudors, in which Anne's supposed lovers are executed. Cromwell's overseeing of the torture used to secure their confessions is certainly shown in a worse light in the TV series than in Bring Up the Bodies, but still, I could see him as a man doing what he thought to be a necessary job and not enjoying it at all. The one overwhelming thought that remains with me in anything I watch or read about Henry VIII, though, is: 'This man is one of the most vain, selfish, and thoroughly EVIL men who ever lived.' Whatever his justifications and whatever the pressure he was under to produce a male heir, the buck stops with him. He married and then destroyed the lives of four different women (I'm not counting Jane Seymour, who died before Henry had time to tire of her, or Catherine Parr who was lucky enough to outlive Henry) quite simply because he became bored with them. The simple answer is often the right one, and I believe it is in this case. And for that, I loathe and revile King Henry VIII of England.


message 8: by B the BookAddict (last edited Sep 16, 2014 10:48AM) (new)

B the BookAddict Sally, I was taken aback to read in BUTB that if the men were tortured, then Cromwell did not oversee it or even order it although perhaps he gave a veiled message to the gaolers: "Get a confession no matter how". Most history would have us believe that he was the instigator. But I've since read other links from historians who say he was not. What to believe?


message 9: by Diane (new)

Diane Barnes I like your review a lot and agree with most of it. Mantel's Cromwell is a good man caught in Henry's web. Whether he agrees with him or not, he must be careful of his own head. But he's sly and smart, whatever he's feeling. I felt that he was getting revenge on the accused men for their treatment of the Cardinal at his death. In any case, I can't wait for the 3rd book.


message 10: by B the BookAddict (new)

B the BookAddict Diane, very true about revenge for the Cardinal. How did I forget to mention Wolsey in my review (dumb of me) because although dead, Wolsey does still feature in the book.


message 11: by Sally (new)

Sally Howes Oh yes, I remember now - it was implied in BUTB that Cromwell went after the four men who participated in that cruel play about Wolsey immediately before his death, the one about him going to hell. Cromwell kept his enmity for those four stored away until he found the perfect way to take revenge by 'encouraging' their execution along with Anne. It was like the King demanded scapegoats, so Cromwell took the chance to use them and avenge the Cardinal.


message 12: by B the BookAddict (last edited Sep 17, 2014 12:25PM) (new)

B the BookAddict @Sally. Oh yes, he wanted those guys, no matter what, didn't he? He hated Wolsey being made fun of that way; what a good opportunity Henry provided him with the avenge their cruelty in making Wolsey a laughing stock.

I'm glad you brought up the Wolsey factor; for some reason, his mention in BUTB got lost in my thoughts about Henry's wants and Cromwell's efforts.


message 13: by Jeffrey (new)

Jeffrey Keeten I'm really amazed at how many readers I'm seeing crash and burn while reading this book series. I blazed through Wolf Hall and need to get time to read this one as well. Wonderful review Bette! Loved the LINK!


message 14: by B the BookAddict (new)

B the BookAddict @Jeff. Thanks, I loved the series. I'll admit I found Wolf Hall required much concentration while Bring Up The Bodies seems a much more flowing read. I love to suss out stuff about historical people after I've read a book. The link was great because you got Q&A, and opinions by Mantel, references to Weir and in a small part David Starkey.

I found it intriguing that after Anne's demise, Cromwell realise he has only 'fair-weather' friends but seems to accept this. He could have fled England but does not; I wonder why...


message 15: by Jeffrey (new)

Jeffrey Keeten Bette BookAddict wrote: "@Jeff. Thanks, I loved the series. I'll admit I found Wolf Hall required much concentration while Bring Up The Bodies seems a much more flowing read. I love to suss out stuff about historical pe..."

He is an Englishman through and through. He came from nothing, became so much. The thought of leaving must have been impossible to consider. I'm afraid that most of us would find we only had fair weather friends especially under those circumstances and in those tumultuous political times. There is being a steadfast friend and then there is having your detached head lying next to your good friend Thomas Cromwell's head.


message 16: by B the BookAddict (new)

B the BookAddict @Jeff. lol! The same can be said about modern day friends, I suppose. You have acquaintances who will socialise with you in the good times and then good friends who will stick by you no matter what.


message 17: by Dale (new)

Dale Harcombe A fair comment re friends, Bette.


message 18: by Sally (new)

Sally Howes I've heard a lot of people had trouble with Wolf Hall but I breezed through that as well as Bring Up the Bodies possibly because I listened to them as audiobooks instead of reading them, and the narrator, Simon Slater, was really good. He had a dry, sometimes almost sarcastic tone to his voice that I thought suited Cromwell to a T!


message 19: by Mike (new)

Mike Warble I like everything abut this comment, but the victim role is mentioned about Anne. Her family was very amibitious...this cannot be denied...and she also took many heads as trophies to her grim end.


message 20: by B the BookAddict (new)

B the BookAddict Mike wrote: "I like everything abut this comment, but the victim role is mentioned about Anne. Her family was very amibitious...this cannot be denied...and she also took many heads as trophies to her grim end."

Oh, I agree, Anne was guilty of many, many things but in her demise, I think she was a pawn in Henry's marital machinations.


Sandy *The world could end while I was reading and I would never notice* Thanks Bette - I was given both books for Christmas, but haven't started them yet. Will have to move them up my pile I think! 8:D


message 22: by B the BookAddict (new)

B the BookAddict Sandra wrote: "Thanks Bette - I was given both books for Christmas, but haven't started them yet. Will have to move them up my pile I think! 8:D"

Hope you like them! My twin, who usually loves what I read, hated them. Lots of people on GR are very ambivalent about them. Good luck:)


message 23: by [deleted user] (new)

B, I am so thrilled that you loved part 2, and you have whet my appetite for an immediate start as soon as I finish the book I am on. I am thrilled that you saw Cromwell as I did, that shows that perhaps I was on the right track. I have an idea of what will happen in this volume because I did see the PBS production. Thank you for such a sumptuous review that hints at the mystery of Cromwell.


message 24: by B the BookAddict (last edited Jan 01, 2016 10:11AM) (new)

B the BookAddict Thank you, Steve. I think that Cromwell has suffered over five hundred years of bad press; it's good for people to see another view of him. I love British history so the story of Henry, Cromwell, More and Wolsey, not to mention the unfortunate women who became Henry's wives is not new to me. Mantel provided, for me, a more gentle portrait of Cromwell and I am appreciative for that; she doesn't absolve him but she is a more positive biographer.


message 25: by Carol (new)

Carol Dobson Your review has just popped up on my screen. I have no idea why as you wrote it some years ago. However, I was very pleased to read it. It is a wonderful review, with a real feeling for the characters and for the history. Am not sure I will read the book as it is a little too sad for my taste (am still struggling with CJ Sansom's Lamentations, a beautifully written novel, but grim.)


message 26: by Sharon (new)

Sharon Metcalf It popped up on my feed also Bette and I was excited that you'd foubd a 5 star read so soon after coming out of a reading slump. Either way, great review and a very interesting set of comments.


message 27: by B the BookAddict (new)

B the BookAddict Carol, I am re-writing reviews of books read, as a way to get back in the habit of writing them again. I am seriously out of practice.

Thanks, Sharon.


message 28: by Carol (new)

Carol Dobson B the BookAddict wrote: "Carol, I am re-writing reviews of books read, as a way to get back in the habit of writing them again. I am seriously out of practice.

Thanks, Sharon."

That's a good idea Bette. I often struggle with writing reviews as if I have enjoyed the book I like to do it justice but that takes time. So I end up with a lot of books which I appear to be currently reading, but have actually finished, but haven't yet managed to write a proper review.


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