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Wolf Hall (Thomas Cromwell, #1)
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message 1: by Amy (new) - added it

Amy (asawatzky) | 1631 comments location to discuss Tournament of Rooster Winners book: Wolf Hall by Hilary Mantel


Risa (risa116) | 134 comments This is one of the all-time greats. Seriously. I have been holding off on reading the sequel ("Bring Up the Bodies") because I've always heard that a sequel to the sequel is planned, and I want to re-read "Wolf Hall" and then the other two Cromwell novels in direct succession. But, truly: "Wolf Hall" t deserves all the praise it has received.


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Amy (asawatzky) | 1631 comments I’m the opposite: read and loved Bring Up the Bodies but delayed picking up Wolf Hall due to its length and thinking it was well-trod history.


Nadine (nadinekc) | 511 comments I loved Wolf Hall and thought Bring Up the Bodies was its equal. In fact, so did the Booker judges - it won the prize the year after Wolf Hall did. The two books felt seamless to me - if you loved the first, you'll love the second. I'm going to pounce on the 3rd when it comes out!

I thought the BBC miniseries Wolf Hall (which covers both books) was superb and really did justice to the book. Mark Ryland as Cromwell was amazing!


Risa (risa116) | 134 comments Mark Rylance is an International Treasure! I saw him on Broadway recently in "Farinelli and the King". When he was on stage, you could not look elsewhere ....


Jennifer (aka EM) | 24 comments I loved both Wolf Hall and Bring Up The Bodies - they are *very* different from each other. I too have been waiting for the third ... I'm starting to think we won't see it though. :-(


Risa (risa116) | 134 comments Jennifer (aka EM) wrote: "I loved both Wolf Hall and Bring Up The Bodies - they are *very* different from each other. I too have been waiting for the third ... I'm starting to think we won't see it though. :-("

Really? I'm counting on it! Come through, Hilary.


Sarah Tittle | 49 comments This book is genius. It's rare to read historical fiction that intimate and precise. It is not an easy read--all those Toms!--but a very very rewarding one. And it's unusual, I think, for historical fiction to actually rewrite history. I'm really looking forward to Book 3.


Nadine (nadinekc) | 511 comments Sarah wrote: "This book is genius. It's rare to read historical fiction that intimate and precise. It is not an easy read--all those Toms!--but a very very rewarding one. And it's unusual, I think, for historica..."

You summed it up perfectly, Sarah! Intimate an precise - exactly. And Ryland conveyed it so beautifully.


Ellen H | 706 comments I so wanted to love both Wolf Hall and Bring Up the Bodies -- on paper, they're so much my sort of thing -- but found them both a total slog. To me, they weren't written in a way that made their inherently interesting subject matter, well, interesting. I thought seeing it in action would improve it for me, but I felt the same both about the mini-series and the stage adaptation, which I also saw, all god-know-how-many-hours of it. So many of my reading friends loved both books, though, so I think it's just me.


Daniel Sevitt | 80 comments I struggled with Wolf Hall. That's not a bad thing, but I just can't say that I had as much fun reading this as I did with some of the other winners. Ultimately, the book's quality is all on display. The experience was rewarding and I found the sequel a little more accessible. It's a fine read, but it wouldn't be my choice to win the whole thing.


message 12: by Cat (new)

Cat | 34 comments I tried to read Wolf Hall years ago and did not finish! Looking forward to making another valiant attempt.


message 13: by Care (new) - rated it 4 stars

Care (bkclubcare) | 76 comments Cat wrote: "I tried to read Wolf Hall years ago and did not finish! Looking forward to making another valiant attempt."

I'm enjoying the audiobook. Am about 25% in. So far, the narrator is doing an excellent job differentiating between characters (which I was worried about - all the Toms!)


message 14: by Ace (new) - rated it 5 stars

Ace (aceonroam) The Mirror & the Light is due out in March.


message 15: by Kyle (new) - rated it 5 stars

Kyle | 212 comments Rereading it now that I have a copy of book 3 in my library and enjoying it a great deal more than I did last time - a lot of lovely sentences and images, for sure.

The pronoun thing does bug me, though - whenever "he" shows up, I have to make a conscious effort to figure out if that's Cromwell or not.


message 16: by C (new) - rated it 3 stars

C | 464 comments Kyle wrote: "Rereading it now that I have a copy of book 3 in my library and enjoying it a great deal more than I did last time - a lot of lovely sentences and images, for sure.

The pronoun thing does bug me, ..."


YES, surprisingly this was the one problem I had with this tome -- figuring out if 'he' was Cromwell or someone else. I thought Wolf Hall would be more difficult for me! I liked the book better than I thought I would, BUT didn't like it as much as others seem to... I think The Lacuna should have won instead, though that would have also been by a slim margin. Not my favorite Kingsolver and I think I read most of them up to The Lacuna!


message 17: by Kyle (new) - rated it 5 stars

Kyle | 212 comments I'm most of the way through Bring Up the Bodies and it's just as good. If Mirror and the Light wasn't the third book in a trilogy, I'd be optimistic about its chances for ToB 2021. Assuming it's as good as the other two.


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Amy (asawatzky) | 1631 comments I’m calling it - this will be a “read enough” book for me - I love the voice and the subject matter... but it’s way too long and I kept getting distracted. BUtB was just the perfect length - wish she’d kept that in mind for the third (it’s much longer than Wolf Hall!)


message 19: by Amy (new) - added it

Amy (asawatzky) | 1631 comments I’m calling it - this will be a “read enough” book for me - I love the voice and the subject matter... but it’s way too long and I kept getting distracted. BUtB was just the perfect length - wish she’d kept that in mind for the third (it’s much longer than Wolf Hall!)


message 20: by Tristan (new)

Tristan | 84 comments Amy your post came at the perfect time for me. I just finished Part III and needed someone to tell me it is okay to abandon this book.

I dislike a lot about it "who is the 'he' referred to in this sentence" and "which of the 11 characters named Thomas is she referring to here" but for some reason just couldn't stop.

I'm done. Thank you.


message 21: by Doug (new) - rated it 3 stars

Doug I've got about 100 pages more for WH ... which I am reading mainly because I am a 'Booker completist', so am reading the first 2 before moving on to TMATL. After all the hoopla over the trilogy, I am finding it sorely lacking - as Tristan indicates, it's so annoying when she neglects to indicate who her pronouns refer to, or worse, changes subject or POV mid paragraph. And so much of the minutiae is superfluous - it may indicate some impeccable research, but not EVERYTHING is important - or interesting. I will persevere, however ... I hear BOTB is peppier - and shorter, at least!


message 22: by Carmel (new)

Carmel Hanes | 125 comments I found The Mirror and the Light WAY too long. But I've wondered if it was just feeling relentlessly surrounded by too much testosterone. All those scheming men... ;-) I also wondered about all that minutiae. I'm glad you said that, Doug. I felt the same.


message 23: by C (new) - rated it 3 stars

C | 464 comments Tristan wrote: "Amy your post came at the perfect time for me. I just finished Part III and needed someone to tell me it is okay to abandon this book.

I dislike a lot about it "who is the 'he' referred to in this..."


So. Many. Thomases.


Nadine (nadinekc) | 511 comments I'm of the camp that has loved the first two books, but Mirror has been sitting on my shelf for a couple of months, waiting till I'm ready for a long read. The negative reviews make me nervous, so I just did a test read of the first page and that measured, soothing voice (even when describing the Queen's body moments after her beheading!) calmed me down and set me straight. I think of it as the Mantel purr - maybe shifting towards a growl this time.....


message 25: by Amanda (last edited Sep 15, 2020 12:59PM) (new) - rated it 4 stars

Amanda | 117 comments I read TMATL back in the spring, and recently did a reread of Wolf Hall. The tone is consistent throughout the trilogy. I marvel at the writing and the research even if I don't agree with some of Hilary's conclusions. Bit players like Margaret Pole the Countess of Salisbury behave the same way throughout the books. A lesser author would forget what they wrote a decade ago before writing about a smaller character, but Hilary is consistent. And bless her heart, she tried to make Jane Seymour interesting. My two main complaints about Mirror is too much Jane Seymour and how she handled Thomas Cromwell's actions in the Exeter plot leading up to the eventual execution of Margaret Pole.


Ellen H | 706 comments That sounds like I may like it better than the first two -- Jane Seymour has always been my favorite of the 6, and vies with Lady Jane Grey to be my favorite of the whole Grand Guignol mess that is the Tudor dynasty.


Amanda | 117 comments Ellen wrote: "That sounds like I may like it better than the first two -- Jane Seymour has always been my favorite of the 6, and vies with Lady Jane Grey to be my favorite of the whole Grand Guignol mess that is..."

I love the Annes so I was disappointed with how little Anne of Cleves appeared in Mirror. She fascinates me since she was the only one of Henry's wives to come out unscathed.

I do enjoy the portrayal of another one of my favorite Tudors--Mary. That poor girl was ill-treated by both of her parents and Mantel doesn't shy away from that.


Ellen H | 706 comments I get tired of Anne Boleyn. She's just been over-exposed, and the Mantel books haven't helped. And Anne of Cleves -- her story is self-explanatory to me, and I certainly admire her, but I don't need to know anything more about her. To me, the neglected wives are Kathryn Howard and Catherine Parr. But Jane Seymour is a total enigma always and therefore fascinating.

Oh, and yes, poor Mary. She and Jane Grey, total victims.


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Lauren Oertel | 792 comments Oh man, this book is so far from my reading interests that I had to have low expectations going in. Since I'm committed to being a Super Rooster completist I gave it my best effort. I promise I tried, but it didn't connect at all for me. :(


message 30: by Risa (new) - rated it 5 stars

Risa (risa116) | 134 comments Lauren wrote: "Oh man, this book is so far from my reading interests that I had to have low expectations going in. Since I'm committed to being a Super Rooster completist I gave it my best effort. I promise I tri..."
Good for you for trying! I happen to LOVE "Wolf Hall", but, I get it. I didn't connect with "Normal People", and, yet, here we are with it winning the most recent Rooster. (Spoiler alert: I shall not be re-reading it for the Super Rooster.) I suspect most of the commentariat will have at least one Super Rooster contender that wasn't their cup of tea. That's, in fact, what makes the commentary interesting. Vive la difference!


message 31: by Lauren (new) - added it

Lauren Oertel | 792 comments Risa wrote: "Lauren wrote: "Oh man, this book is so far from my reading interests that I had to have low expectations going in. Since I'm committed to being a Super Rooster completist I gave it my best effort. ..."

I'm with you on Normal People. It's my least favorite of the tournament and I almost actively dislike it... It was hard enough having it win this year's tournament - really hoping it wouldn't win the Super Rooster as well!


Nadine (nadinekc) | 511 comments Carmel wrote: "I found The Mirror and the Light WAY too long. But I've wondered if it was just feeling relentlessly surrounded by too much testosterone. All those scheming men... ;-) I also wondered about all tha..."

I'll grant that it could have shed some pages, but although the men are the players and the women are the pawns, some of those pawns are pretty steely. And when it comes to childbirth, Mantel as narrator has some powerful stuff to say, in her own utterly original way. The quotes are too long to post here, but I put them at the end of my review.


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