Review: The Boleyn Inheritance
The Boleyn Inheritance
Author: Philippa Gregory
Number of pages: 592
Genre: Historical fiction
First of all, I've decided that I'm going to be adding a lot more book reviews to the blog. I'm sorry if this doesn't interest you. It's partially for the fans but also more for myself. I read a lot but never really take the time to think about what I've read. Then people ask me how was this book or that book and I can say Amazing or Terrible but I'm always stuck when they ask why. So I figure writing it down will help me make better recommendations and conversations with people. Hopefully these reviews get better as we go along. I'm embracing my inner book nerd so go with it.
Also, I wrote half of this review yesterday but my computer battery is completely shot so one false move and the battery comes unplugged and the entire computer instantly shuts down. This is what happened last night.
Anyway, if you haven't read anything by Philippa Gregory yet, do yourself a favor. I have never been a fan of historical fiction but because of her I am sold.
"The Boleyn Inheritance" is the third installment in the Gregory's Tudor series so if you do start, begin with "The Constant Princess". "The Boleyn Inheritance" follows three women: Anne of Cleves, Katherine Howard and Jane Boleyn. Anne arrives in England as a complete foreigner as part of an arranged marriage to King Henry. Katherine is a completely vain and spoiled 15-year-old who arrives to serve in the court of Anne but becomes a pawn in a much much bigger game. Jane continues to serve in the queen's court but is haunted by the events of the second book "The Other Boleyn Girl".
Gregory narrates the book from the point of view of each of the three women and switches back and forth throughout the entire book. While this might be confusing to some readers, Gregory pinpoints each woman's voice so distinctly that the transition from voice to voice to voice is seamless.
What struck me the most about this book is how these women, no matter how powerful they thought they were, had absolutely no say over anything in their lives. One false look, one misspoken word, one misconstrued tone of voice and a woman will be sent to prison or even to their death for treason, witchcraft, adultery, you name it. This time period was so dangerous for a woman.
Gregory also does an excellent job of mapping the transformation of each woman. Anne starts out as a shy girl in a foreign country, eager to please everyone around her and fulfill her role as Queen. We then see her grow into a strong independent woman, comfortable in herself and her new role once she is removed from her throne. She becomes gracious, stoic, and through Gregory's storytelling, she becomes the Queen that she always wanted to be even though she is not officially in any power. Jane finally comes to the realization that she doesn't want to be someone's puppet anymore and doesn't want to keep hurting people but not reap any of the "reward" yet it's unfortunately too late for her once the light does go off. Katherine... well Katherine pretty much remains the same spoiled young girl throughout the entire book but the tone that Gregory gives her makes her character just as powerful as the other two.
Compelling characters, deceit, lies, treachery, sex, and finally redemption for at least one character - this book really had it all and I can't wait to read all of Gregory's work!
Final Rating: 5/5
Coming Up Next: "Handle With Care" by Jodi Picoult
When Charlotte and Sean O’Keefe’s daughter, Willow, is born with severe osteogenesis imperfecta, they are devastated – she will suffer hundreds of broken bones as she grows, a lifetime of pain. As the family struggles to make ends meet to cover Willow’s medical expenses, Charlotte thinks she has found an answer. If she files a wrongful birth lawsuit against her ob/gyn for not telling her in advance that her child would be born severely disabled, the monetary payouts might ensure a lifetime of care for Willow. But it means that Charlotte has to get up in a court of law and say in public that she would have terminated the pregnancy if she’d known about the disability in advance – words that her husband can’t abide, that Willow will hear, and that Charlotte cannot reconcile. And the ob/gyn she’s suing isn’t just her physician – it’s her best friend.
Handle With Care explores the knotty tangle of medical ethics and personal morality. When faced with the reality of a fetus who will be disabled, at which point should an OB counsel termination? Should a parent have the right to make that choice? How disabled is TOO disabled? And as a parent, how far would you go to take care of someone you love? Would you alienate the rest of your family? Would you be willing to lie to your friends, to your spouse, to a court? And perhaps most difficult of all – would you admit to yourself that you might not actually be lying?