The Other Boleyn Girl – Philippa Gregory

Posted 27 March, 2008 by Trish in Reading Nook, Review / 20 Comments

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I logged onto my Google Reader this morning while eating breakfast and almost choked on my Special K. 177 posts? Seriously? I’ve taken a little bit of a break from blogging first because of a trip to Salt Lake last weekend where I was Internet-less at Grandma and Grandpa’s and second because I haven’t felt like blogging lately. I’m reading a fabulous book right now [Snow Crash], though, so I think my funk might be coming to an end (not that reading less than fabulous books was responsible for my funk). I try try try to be a good blogger and keep up with everyone’s posts, but I can’t. So, I’ll do what I can to try and make up for my lost time. :)

Title: The Other Boleyn Girl
Author: Philippa Gregory
Date Finished: March 23, 2008
Yearly Count: 15
Pages: 661
Rating: 3.75/5

I read this book because I enjoy the time period (can’t wait for Tudors to come back on this weekend!), but also because my sister was reading it. I don’t belong to a IRL book club, but it’s fun to be able to call Brooke up and talk to her about what’s happening in the book. This time it was a lot of fun because we were both reading it together in Salt Lake last weekend.

Mary, a naive thirteen-year-old, is introduced into Henry’s court as a lady-in-waiting to Catherine of Aragon. But, her ever scheming and social-climbing family pushes her into a different role when she catches the eye of Henry–the role of his mistress. With the help of her sister Anne and brother George, Mary wins the heart of the King of England. But can she maintain the King’s desire? We all know the story of Anne of Boleyn, so I’ll leave my summary at that. !!

I won’t lie–thick books scare me. I think it is because of my fear that one day I will run out of time to read all of the books that I want to read, so by reading some of the shorter books I will be able to get to more of them. Silly, I know. So, I have a whole stack of long books (long for me is 400+ pgs) haunting me everytime I look at my bookshelf. A more reasonable fear would be that my bookshelf topples over from the weight of all those big books and crushes me. Oh well.

But this book held my attention all the way through. Maybe because I wanted to finish it while in Utah so I was reading it rather quickly. I don’t know. Gregory certainly puts enough detail in this book to paint a rather vivid picture of the goings-on in Henry’s court. I enjoyed most of it, but sometimes the details were redundant and I felt as if I were reading the same thing over and over. Probably a good 100+ pages could have been cut out of the book with no significant loss.

I enjoyed reading about the relationships of the different characters and getting a glimpse into their minds and motivations. Gregory’s thesis is an interesting one that I had not heard before, but the whole subject of Henry VIII has always fascinated me. I can remember visiting the Tower of London several years ago–I simply can’t imagine the atrocious things that happened there at one point in time. But, I guess atrocious things happen all over the place–even today.

Well, my thoughts are all over the place and I don’t feel up to editing, so off to the gym I go. I’ll simply say that if you are interested in this time period, the book should be a delight–or even if you aren’t interested I still think it’s a fun read. Some sex talk that I didn’t care for, but I guess it was all part of character development. I’ve been keeping my eye open for a second-hand copy of The Boleyn Inheritance and I own a few other Gregory novels that I look forward to reading. But, I have no interest in the movie. If you saw it, I’ll be interested in hearing your thoughts. I don’t believe Natalie Portman as Anne–she just seems too meek. Ok…I’m through!

20 Responses to “The Other Boleyn Girl – Philippa Gregory”

  1. I read The Other Boleyn Girl the year it came out and loved it but I don’t see Natalie Portman as Anne either, so i think I’m going to wait till the movie goes to the dollar movie theater and see it then.

  2. My husband really enjoyed Snow Crash and is trying to talk me into reading it too.

    I enjoyed The Other Boleyn Girl but wasn’t overly impressed with it. It had a chicklit feel to it that turned me off a bit, I think. If that makes any sense.

  3. I hope you had fun up at my neck of the woods! It snowed this morning!

    I have this on my TBR, a book club I participate in is reading it this month so I hope to get to it real soon!

  4. I was away from my computer for just one day yesterday and now my blog reader is out of control too!

    My mum bought me this book for Christmas a few years back and it went straight on the shelf as I’m not really interested in period dramas. With the film being released and the renewed hype I’ve been thinking about bumping it up to the TBR imminently shelf. After your review I think I might just do it ;)

  5. I love this book, I really must re-read it soon. I want to see the film but don’t see either leading lady as right for their roles despite liking both of them as acresses. Oh well, I will hopefully catch it before it leaves the big screen and judge it fairly.

  6. *Christina – I’ve found that I don’t have a lot of desire to see movies after I’ve read the book–they just don’t compare. No Country for Old Men was pretty good, though, so I guess there are exceptions. I bet Eric Bana is yummy, though. :)

    *Lit Feline – I am really really enjoying Snow Crash–can’t put it down (ha! and it’s sci fi!) And yes, I understand what you mean about TOBG, but sometimes chicklit that doesn’t require a whole lot of thought can be nice. My brain is definitely hurting with Snow Crash.

    *Maw Books – I was actually born in Provo and most of my family lives in SL valley (W & S Jordan, Murray, Sandy, etc), so I’ve spent time in Salt Lake probably more than any other city. When I left on Easter the weather was *gorgeous*! Hope you enjoy the book.

    *Mrs S – I wish I could keep up with everyone’s posts! I don’t read a whole lot of historical fiction, but I do like this time period. It’s an interesting read–hope you like it!

    *Rhinoa – Have you read any of her other books? I’ve heard so much about this one but not as much about her others. I do like both actresses (loved Natalie Portman in V for Vendetta!), but I don’t see them in their roles either. I think I would actually switch them, but hey I guess I’m not a professional caster. :)

  7. Joy

    I read this in 2004 with a book club – that was the ONLY way I could get through this chunkster (we read small amounts daily for over 2 months). Anyway, I rated it a 3/5.

    AND, yesterday my friend dragged me to see the movie. She LOVED the book and made me go with her. Believe it or not, I really, really liked it! I thought they did a great job. However, they could have done a better job casting BOTH girls. All in all, I’m glad I saw it and I made my friend happy. Win-Win.

  8. *Heather – My officemate just received a copy from my other office mate so you aren’t the ONLY one. :) I’ve had this one sitting on my shelf for months and probably would have left it there longer if my sister wasn’t read it also.

    *Joy – glad to finally hear something about the movie! Maybe I’ll see if my sister is up for it this weekend since it will be rainy. Actually, hubby was wanting to see it as well. :) I told him he had to wait until I read the book.

  9. I’m going to read this one too, and your review has me looking forward to it even more. Thick books can scare me too sometimes, but there is a certain unique joy in a thick book when you really get into it. Maybe it’s just because there’s so much of it to read :P

  10. I read this book a couple of weeks ago and I LOVED it!!

    And I agree – Natalie Portman as Anne?! I’m not sure about that one at all…

  11. I am interested in this book, but to be honest I hadn’t heard about it until after I heard about the movie. I haven’t seen the movie, but the book sounds like the better option of the two.
    I’ll have to look into snow crash, haven’t heard of that one either.

    welcome back to blogging, glad you had a good vacation!(or break)

    PS I just picked up a copy of Zorba the Greek at goodwill…I may switch something out to read it for the OT challenge!!

  12. I don’t know if I’ll ever read this book because I found the film depressing. But I thought Natalie Portman was perfect as Anne Boleyn! I will never be able to think of Anne Boleyn again without seeing her face now:P

  13. *Nymeth – I’ve seen this book listed on yours and Rhinoas mutual challenge. What a fun idea you two thought up! Hope you enjoy it…I know that Rhinoa certainly did!

    *Tara – glad you liked the book. It’s funny because usually if I read the book knowing who is cast as the character, I can’t help but picture them in the role. It wasn’t the case for this book, though.

    *Bethany – I had seen this one around but certainly more often recently due to the movie! I still haven’t decided if I’ll see the movie or not–most times the book is good enough for me.

    I’ve been switching out books and adding alternatives as well for your challenge. :) I look forward to getting into it more in April!

    *Valentina – I guess that means that Natalie Portman did a pretty convincing job. I think she’s a great actress, just not the one I would have pegged for this role. The book does have it’s depressing aspects, but I think there is a little bit of happiness (at least for the characters who don’t get their heads cut off!!). Ha! :)

  14. It’s very funny to read your reviews because I’m finding that they almost always mirror my thoughts or even my reviews. I wrote a review on this one, again on 5-Squared, and what did I say? Well, the middle was very repetitive, probably at least 100 pages could have been cut out because of repetition, and the sex talk was a bit much. Otherwise, I enjoyed it, because I really like the time period and I liked seeing a glimpse of these people’s lives. I also wasn’t sure I really wanted to see the movie.

    I’ve since seen the movie, and thought it had good and bad points. The characters are all softer, and they make some huge cuts from the book (George hardly exists). I did a review of the movie on my personal blog, here.

  15. *Amanda – Great minds think alike?? I still haven’t seen the movie for this one, but perhaps I should. Interesting that George isn’t in the movie all that much since so much of Gregory’s “thesis” revolves around him.

  16. This was a really, really good novel! One of the sit up all night kinds!

    I love that you have a master list of what you’ve read. It’s huge! :-)

    – Jillian

  17. Hey Jillian!

    About the master list, I actually just created it this week! I moved blogs a few months ago and though I imported my posts they aren’t “searchable” and are just plain hard to find. Decided it was the only way to make my blog more accessible. :)

    Regarding the book, I’m glad you liked it too! Have you read any of Gregory’s other novels?