Sue Bursztynski's Reviews > Mary Boleyn: The Mistress of Kings

Mary Boleyn by Alison Weir
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's review
Oct 11, 2011

really liked it

I have read a fair number of Alison Weir's books. I find them very readable and this one is on a subject I have never known much about. She has this rep as a bit of a slut who embarrassed the family. Alison Weir suggests it wasn't quite like that and argues that, whatever else is true, she was the luckiest Boleyn. She lived into middle age, unlike her prettier, smarter sister and, the second time around, married for love, to a man twelve years younger than herself - not bad for a woman who was getting on in years and, as far as we know, was never pretty to begin with! (That's Queen Claude of France on the front cover of the book - we don't know what Mary looked like.)

There are some fascinating details I never knew. We see Henry VIII as a sex fiend, but Weir's argument is that in fact, he was a bit prudish.

Alison Weir does a very thorough job of putting her arguments in almost forensic detail, using every bit of evidence she can find to make her point. I admit there were times in this one when I thought, "Yes, yes, just get on with it!" but you have to respect someone who knows what she's talking about and can put together all the evidence to reach a conclusion.

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