Everybody knows Anne Boleyn. Anne who seduced a King and change the course of English history. Anne who divided church and country, induced wars. Anne whose head rolled, executed in the French style, on her knees. Scheming Anne, pitied Anne, ambitious Anne. But what of her younger sister Mary, the first that Henry VIII loved?
Philippa Gregory's bestselling novel examines Tudor history as we've never seen it before. Through the eyes of sweet, impressionable Mary the schemes of the Boleyn family appear all the more brutally ambitious, using the two Boleyn girls to secure the King's affection via ruthless means. The powerful Henry Eighth appears (as he is reported throughout history) to be both charming and attractive, spinning both girls into a game of seduction and courtly appearance that cannot be sustained. Mary, perhaps the nicest of the Boleyns, watches helplessly as her family is slowly ruined, eventually saving herself as those she loves fall at the mercy of a wrathful court and King.
As dramatised history, this book is both informative and gripping, and you'll likely find yourself searching for more information about this tumultuous time in history. Gregory's subsequent books The Boleyn Inheritance, The Queen's Fool, The Virgin's Lover and The Other Queen continue where The Other Boleyn Girls leaves off, completing the history is Gregory's addictive, dramatic style. There is also a prequel of sorts, The Constant Princess, which follows Katharine of Aragon's life. When you next need to recall the wives of the infamous Henry VIII, the rhyme to remember is "divorced, beheaded, died; divorced, beheaded, survived." But don't forget the other Boleyn girl.