Several years ago at a Grand Designs exhibition I was given a goody bag. Assuming it to be loaded with advertising bumph I was ridiculously excited to find a copy of 'The Other Boleyn Girl' amidst the recycling. Not having read any historical fiction I was looking forward to reading it but lent it to a friend to take on holiday. I never saw that copy again but hopefully someone came across it, enjoyed it and passed it on.
Recently I acquired another copy. And this time I did get it back when I lent it to someone. The machinations of the Tudor court and the palpable air of paranoid claustrophobia that infects many of the scenes was absorbing. Dramatic license has been taken to create a compelling story based around historical facts, motivations ascribed to push the story along, and gaps filled in by maybes and what ifs, causing some questions about its historic accuracy. But it is a novel after all, not a history book and Philippa Gregory creates a world rich in gilded assignations, entrapment and entitlement, where days are passed with poetry and games and girls are commodities to be traded for land and prestige. A world where, despite knowing Anne's destiny, you will it to be different.
Reading the book left me with a desire to research the Tudors. I've satisfied the initial urge looking up the main protagonists on wiki but plan to read some of the source material used for the book. It made me aware how limited my historical knowledge is. Several times during reading 'The Other Boleyn Girl' I had to ask my youngest daughter to recite the rhyme about Henry VIII's wives to place various people (sad, I know). For some reason it won't lodge in my brain and I tie myself in knots with it. I thinks it's because, by my befuddled reasoning, I always think Henry had 8 wives.
I hope the book was found. It was left in St Catherine's Chapel, Abbotsbury, Dorset, a beautiful 14th century building on a high hilltop overlooking the fleet and its flock of swans.
I hope people feel free to comment on this book whether the left copy was found or not.
'The Other Boleyn Girl' was the fourth release by 'Books in the Wild'.