Carol's Reviews > Mary Boleyn: The Mistress of Kings

Mary Boleyn by Alison Weir
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's review
Aug 23, 2011

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bookshelves: 2011
Read from August 28 to September 01, 2011

This my first venture into anything about the Tudors. I had a difficult time reading it and will tell you why. I think that the aim of this book is to set the record straight on Mary Boleyn. The author, Alison Weir is an extremely meticulous researcher. This is evidenced by the text of the book, bibliography and Notes and References. She, states that she researched the original sources as much as possible.

Each fact about her family and Mary, herself was gone through with a fine tooth comb. Because I was background poor, I had not read the other books about Mary Boleyn prior to this book, it felt tedious and like there were too many details. Each fact was carefully researched and arguments for and against it being true were covered one by one. That left me, feeling like I was making no progress in learning about her life and also wishing that I had several books about Mary Boleyn before this one. Because each side of pro and con of a statement was covered in such great detail I felt like I was reading a continuous debate. That made me weary of the book. However I can understand someone who has read several books about Mary prior staying up all night discovering which things were true and which were not.

Mary Boleyn, The Mistress of the Kings, begins with the background of the Boleyn family. Instead of inheriting their place in society, they had to earn it through marriages to elevate the family, supporting the right side during the War of Roses and trade.

There were three chapters before Mary Boleyn is actually discussed. The author states and backs up her statement that a lot said about Mary was untrue. Since King Henry VIII was so discreet, we really don't know much about the affair between the King and Mary Boleyn. She was a married woman of some social height, she had nothing to gain from it.

I did learn some about Mary Boleyn but the most prominent truth is that there is quite a bit that simply not true. There were rumors during the days and some historical fiction writers picked up on them, also there have been movies that perpetuated the untruths.

My recommendation is to read several books concerning Mary Boleyn and then read this book. Do not read it as a "starter".

I received this book as a part of the Amazon Vine Program but that in no way influenced my review.

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08/31/2011 page 39
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Deni Skeens Carol, you should read The Lady in the Tower, also by Weir, it is STUNNING- and if you would prefer fiction, Margaret George's Henry VIII as told by his fool Will Sommers is brilliant!

Carol Hi Deni

Yes, I think I prefer fiction. Thank you for the recommendation.


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