Lauren Stoolfire's Reviews > Wolf Hall

Wolf Hall by Hilary Mantel
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's review
Jan 30, 2015

really liked it
bookshelves: history, realistic-fiction, historical-fiction

Wolf Hall by Hilary Mantel traces Thomas Cromwell's rise to power in Henry VIII's court. Cromwell was essentially a nobody - a son of a blacksmith - who becomes Cardinal Wolsey's aide and a well-known lawyer, and eventually King Henry VIII's most trusted advisor. The story is primarily set between 1527 and 1535 as Cromwell, a proponent of the English Reformation, is working on Henry VIII's divorce from his first wife and union with Anne Boleyn.

This novel is an excellent work of historical fiction, to the point where you can almost forget it's a fictional account. It's thought-provoking, atmospheric, and commands your full attention. The cast of characters is broad, and well known to those knowledgeable on the Tudor court, but she has really succeeded in making Cromwell, often portrayed as a villain, her own and a sympathetic character at that.

Unfortunately, sometimes this novel is a little difficult to follow with the use constant use of "he" instead of names. It's hard to keep track of which character is speaking at any given time. It's also told from an unusual and sometimes jarring point of view.

I'll admit, I bumped this up on my reading list partially because I've been enjoying the PBS Masterpiece miniseries. I loved being able to find the scenes and dialog that appear in the show, sometimes even word-for-word. I don't often say this, but I actually prefer the adaptation. The casting, costuming, sets, direction, and even lighting make it well worth viewing, even if you couldn't get into the dense novel.

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Quotes Lauren Liked

Hilary Mantel
“Some of these things are true and some of them lies. But they are all good stories.”
Hilary Mantel, Wolf Hall

Reading Progress

January 30, 2015 – Shelved
January 30, 2015 – Shelved as: to-read
April 27, 2015 – Started Reading
April 28, 2015 –
page 152
April 29, 2015 – Shelved as: history
April 29, 2015 – Shelved as: realistic-fiction
April 29, 2015 – Finished Reading
September 8, 2016 – Shelved as: historical-fiction

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