The Boleyn Inheritance by Philippa Gregory
Paperback, 518 pages
Published 2012 by Harper Collins
This is the story of three women in the Tudor court: Jane Boleyn, Anne of Cleves, and Katherine Howard. Told through each of their perspectives, we see the rise and fall of two more wives of Henry VIII. At this point, Henry VIII is no longer a handsome young prince. He is an aging man with a stinking, festering wound on his leg. He is no longer strong, but limps around on his good leg. Nevertheless, he insists on being treated as he always was–as the most handsome and strongest man in the room. Although nearing 50, he behaves as a spoiled child. This is not only unbecoming in a man, but it is dangerous in a king. This, coupled with his constant paranoia and suspicion, lead to a very dangerous tyrant. Circling in his court are Jane, Anne, and Katherine. Jane is a lady in waiting, as she had been for the last three queens of King Henry. Now she is the lady in waiting to Anne of Cleves, as she is brought from the Netherlands to be the bride of King Henry. These women struggle not only to maintain their place, but also to keep their heads. Literally.
We have been introduced to Jane Boleyn–the wife of George Boleyn–in The Other Boleyn Girl. In The Boleyn Inheritance we see things from her own perspective. Were the Boleyn sibling wrong about her? Or is she simply mad? Anne is a sweet and innocent girl who only wants to be the best Queen she can be. This, however, is difficult after accidentally offending the King. Will she be cast aside? Will she escape with her life? Kitty Howard is the youngest of the three, a frivolous maid in waiting to Anne. She is quite beautiful, however naive, and catches the eye of the king. However, is this a blessing or a curse?
I enjoyed this book. For the most part, it was less salacious than is predecessor, and I appreciated that. I also liked how the story was told through each woman’s point of view. The other Gregory books I have read have been told solely through one POV, so I liked that here she shook things up a bit. This also worked very well for this particular story because it allowed you to not only see the inner workings of each character’s mind, but you could also see how they appeared to the other women. For example, Jane thinks she is always doing the right thing. But, as some question, is she really trustworthy? I thought this book was really good, but I took a point away for the unnecessarily graphic sex scene and sexuality in the last third of the book. It had been really good up until then.
Today I went out to brunch with a friend. Afterward we went to Chapters and I picked up a copy of Divergent after my friend recommended it! I will read it next. I hope it’s good! 🙂
Have you read it?
Do you have any recommendations for me? Post them in the comments!
I just picked up Jane Green’s Second Chance. Have you read it? What did you think? (no spoilers please!) I haven’t read any of Green’s novels before but I have heard good things.
Now I’m going to curl up with a cup of tea and keep reading!
The House of Mirth by Edith Wharton
If you want to know what I think, email me and I will send you a copy of my Honours Thesis. 😉
I.E., This book is so amazing I wrote a book about it.
For real though, this book is an excellent exploration of femininity in the early 20th century. I love everything about it. Although Wharton won the Pulitzer for Age of Innocence, House of Mirth is what made her famous.
The Other Boleyn Girl by Philippa Gregory
Paperback, 664 pages
Published January 22nd 2008 by Touchstone (first published 2001)
Goodreads | Amazon | Indigo
The Other Boleyn Girl is the story of the rise and fall of Queen Anne Boleyn–Henry VIII’s second wife–as told through the eyes of her sister, Mary Boleyn. Mary Boleyn was only a child when her family married her off. However, a few years later when she is brought to the court of the King Henry VIII and Queen Katherine of Aragon, the Boleyn family’s ambition has another use for Mary. She has caught the eye of the King, and her family sees to it that she becomes his mistress–whether she likes it or not. They just as easily toss her aside again when the King’s interest wanes, and an attraction sparks between him and Mary’s sister Anne. The family’s conniving ambition, coupled with Anne’s own ambition, bring about a story so salacious and horrendous it could end only in the spilling of blood.
In true Philippa Gregory fashion, the story is told with precision and tact. She chronicles the lives of the Boleyn siblings as they weave their way through the most luxurious, avaricious, and lecherous court of Europe. Although I did enjoy Gregory’s telling of the story and her accuracy of her historical facts, I did not enjoy the subject matter itself very much. It’s pretty scandalous stuff. However, overall it was a good read. It’s not my favourite of Gregory’s novels, but it was still good. If you like Philippa Gregory, or historical fiction in general, I’d recommend giving this book a shot if you are interested in the Tudors.
The Undomestic Goddess by Sophie Kinsella
The Undomestic Goddess is the story of lawyer Samantha Sweeting. She is a workaholic with a messy desk, devoting her blood, sweat, and tears to firm Carter Spink. On the eve of being made partner, she makes a mistake. A mistake so huge that it will likely cost her her career. She does the only sensible thing, and walks out of the office in a daze, hops on a random train out of the city, and ends up in the middle of nowhere. Not only so, but she knocks on a random door, and accidentally takes a job as a housekeeper when she barely knows how to make toast. She considers telling her new “employers” that they have mistaken her for someone else, but instead thinks that this might be the break she needs. That, and the gardiner is gorgeous.
This book was a super fun summer read! Light Chick Lit that would make an ideal poolside companion.
Someday, Someday, Maybe by Lauren Graham
Fiction, Chick Lit (ish)
Hardcover, 340 pages
Published April 30th 2013 by Ballantine Books
Goodreads | Amazon | Indigo
Someday, Someday, Maybe is the hilarious and charming tale of aspiring actress Franny Banks.
It’s 1995 and Franny lives in Brooklyn with her two best friends, Jane and Dan. She works as a waitress at a comedy club to pay the bills, and tries not to get too disheartened by the lack of auditions lining her filofax.
Franny doesn’t want to become one of those people who can’t seem to admit to themselves that they simply aren’t meant to be an actor. Therefore, she has set a three-year deadline for herself: if after three years in New York she has not become a successful actress, she is going to pack it in.
Her deadline is nearing, and things aren’t going too well. Should she extend her deadline? Give in? WHAT? She stays hopeful, attending an acting class. Perhaps this will get her noticed by some bigwigs. It doesn’t hurt that there’s a handsome and successful actor among her fellow students.
To be frank, that Lauren Graham wrote this book sort of hurt its chances with me. I love her SO MUCH that it was impossible for me not to subconsciously have extremely high expectations for it. I tried my best to keep an open and clear mind… But it proved to be too great a task.
However, I did really enjoy this book. Graham is a really good writer. Not only so, but she brought some amusing creativity with the many filofax entries. I really loved her style, and often found myself laughing out loud. That being said, I couldn’t always connect with the main character. I just had very little in common with her. However, on the whole, I did enjoy the novel and would recommend it to all who are interested!
Where We Belong by Emily Giffin
Published April 16th 2013 by St. Martin’s Griffin
Paperback, 384 pages
This is the story of Marian Caldwell and Kirby Rose. Marian is a successful TV producer living the dream in NYC. At least that is how it seems. But does she really have it all? Is she truly happy? Enter Kirby Rose. She is a angsty teenager looking for contentment as well as her birth mother. When she knocks on Marian’s door late one night, everything changes. For the both of them.
I found this book fun and charming–just like the other Emily Giffin books that I have had the pleasure to read. It is fun and funny, and just the right combination of serious and light. I find Emily Giffin Chick Lit at it’s best, and Where We Belong did not disappoint. That being said, there was nothing particularly noteworthy about the novel. One thing that I did notice (however neurotically) was the overuse of many adjectives. For example, the word “deadpan” was extremely overused. It takes only a couple of seconds to look a word up in the thesaurus to shake things up. However, I did really enjoy this book, and would recommend it if you like Chick Lit!
A Place Called Here by Cecelia Ahern
Paperback, 485 pages
Published March 1st 2012 by HarperTorch (first published in 2006)
This story is about a somewhat neurotic woman named Sandy Shortt who runs a missing person’s agency in Ireland. She is obsessed with finding lost objects and always has been–At least since she was ten years old and her neighbour disappeared without a trace. However, along the way, she herself becomes lost. She finds herself in the land where lost things go–a place called Here.
This was a light novel that had more… whimsy then I was in the mood for when I read it. It wasn’t bad, and was often quite enjoyable. However, I didn’t find there was anything particularly special about the book. It’s a neat idea, but I didn’t find it as engaging as I had expected it to. It is a suitable companion for a trip to the beach, but if you are looking for anything more than that, maybe you ought to look elsewhere.
The Girl Who Played with Fire by Stieg Larsson
Mystery, Suspense, Thriller
This novel is the second installment of Stieg Larsson’s epic Millenium trilogy. The girl Who Played with Fire focuses more closely on Lisabeth’s character. It delves deeper into her past and her psychology while placing her on the run from not only the law, but also her past. Lisabeth’s story is further cloaked in mystery as you flip through the pages. What does Lisbeth have to do with this sex trafficking ring? Who is Zala?
Although there were several racy elements in the novel, I did find that on the whole it was less disturbing than The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo. This book is pretty long, but I could hardly put it down! It was very exciting and enjoyable. I really liked it. It could have been toned down some, but the story was solid, interesting, and engaging. If you can get past the swearing and the promiscuity, I would recommend it! If you are easily offended, I might suggest to give this one a pass.