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The Other Boleyn Girl [Paperback]

4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (268 customer reviews)

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Most helpful customer reviews
4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The Passion, Power and Poison of Courtly Politics Oct. 20 2007
By Ian Gordon Malcomson HALL OF FAME TOP 10 REVIEWER
Gregory has written a very graphic and intriguing tale about the life and times of courtly politics during the reign of Henry VIII. Her rendition of these very hair-raising times tracks the rising fortunes of the Boleyn family as it connugles its way into the grace and favor of Henry's, a lustful, vengeful and wiley Tutor dynast. What makes the book a compelling read is that there are two Boleyn girls contending for Henry's affections, both brought to his attention by greedy and grasping relatives who are seizing the opportunity to grab power and shape their own dynasty. In this battle of wills between the Boleyns, Wolesly,and Norfolk, Gregory does a superb job in welding the elements of sexual dalliance - a constant theme of Tutor times - and political subterfuge in the spirit of Machiavelli. Anne, the oldest of the two sisters, is determined to use her French charm and wit to 'steal' Henry from Mary, her younger sister and mistress to the king, and become the Queen of England in her stead. What Anne doesn't understand in all her wheeling and dealing is that while her efforts might succeed, she will invariably make a lot of enemies along the way, and may very well end up alienating her newly acquired husband's affections because of her inability to produce the all-critical male heir. Unlike Mary, Henry's concubine of three years, Anne does not want to settle for just being the King's whore. She has other more grandiose plans that entail going for everything. It is this driven and obsessive personality of hers that will spell her eventual downfall. Into this steemy mess of courtly intrigue and subversion, throw the seedy and strange life of the brother, George, who also has designs on becoming an important magnate in the kingdom. Read more ›
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Occassional brilliance, but mostly frustrating March 1 2003
This is one of those books which I felt started off really badly - and so any other brilliance in it was very much marred by the bad start. I found the first part which is a description of an execution rather curious - although it is clearly written to shadow a scene at the end of the book - but Mary Boleyn - the narrator of the story is watching an execution and waiting for Henry to commute the sentence...which she apparently believes he will. I cannot recall a single instance where in the middle of an execution he did this - there may well be but they certainly don't seem to be well documented. So right at the start I was a bit nonplussed.
In the very next chapter Mary describes herself as 'the youngest Boleyn girl" who is waiting for her sister Anne to return from France. Now this is patently wrong. Mary was the eldest girl - she went to France first in the retinue of Henry VIII's sister who married the King of France. Anne Boleyn, her younger sister, followed later. Francois, the king of France even described Mary Boleyn as the most promiscuous woman at the French court - and this was at a time when the French court was highly promiscuous.
After that I found myself very much at odds with much of the material in the book - I found it hard to enjoy what was patently a plot device (making Mary the younger sister) to try to build up some kind of rivalry between the two sisters over Henry's affections.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars an enthralling tale from a new perspective Jan. 1 2004
By Julia W
I absolutely loved this book. I've read much Allison Weir and Margaret George, and while they are great, this book reads much more like a novel. There is a Q&A with the author in the back which explains how much is historically accurate (and from what sources) and how much is fiction. There are also discussion questions to use if you are reading the book for a report or book club. This book primarily focuses on Mary Boleyn. I don't think there is quite as much available material on Mary as on Ann and it was great to have one possibility of her viewpoint of this terrible and exciting time in England's history.
I would definitely recommend this book to lovers of historical fiction as well as newcomers to the genre. If you haven't learned to love historical fiction yet, you will with this book. I am just waiting for more from Gregory to satisfy my appetite.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars Complete Rubbish! Jan. 10 2012
The Other Boleyn Girl (TOBG) is one of the worst historical fictions I've ever read. Gregory takes every myth, stereotype, rumour, and lie about Anne Boleyn's life, and turns her into a caricature, which resulted in another bodice-ripper based on little more than conjecture. TOBG could have been so much more, if Gregory has taken the time to conduct intensive research. Instead, she takes Retha Warnicke's convoluted theory and ran with it.

None of the characters emerge as an anything but selfish, idiotic, brats, who are more interested in their sexual inclinations. George Boleyn, one of the great minds of Henrician England, is relegated to an ineffectual loser, who lacks any religious devotion, personality, or intelligent thought. He is so far removed from the real man I was reduced to banging my head on the wall. Mary Boleyn, a mistress of two kings in the real world, is made to be the virginal, good girl, who suffers from a strong moral compass. Mary must fight off her evil, sexualised, villain sister to win the King's affection. Anne is so depraved and desperate(she is the epitome of the sexual predator), she wants to commit incest with her brother. The only true fact within this nightmare is many readers believe it to be fact. Apparently, Gregory is also an historian. She's not! Check her credentials. No PhD in Tudor history to be found.

Gregory wants to sell books. I get it! But, save your money, and go read an author worthy of your time and hard earned cash. For better Boleyn/Tudor fiction, check out: Jean Plaidy, Margaret Campbell Barnes, Sandra Byrd, and Robin Maxwell.
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Most recent customer reviews
4.0 out of 5 stars Brilliance in catching the essence of Anne Boleyn
After visiting London and becoming immersed in the bloody history that became of British Rule I quite enjoyed this journey through one of the most important experiences that... Read more
Published 14 months ago by Karen
5.0 out of 5 stars Good reading
It was a good read that kept me interested and I didn't want to put down. Gotta go for my shower now.
Published 20 months ago by Joan Lemire
4.0 out of 5 stars Great book, but....
I would have given 5 stars because Otis a great book however, the book I ordered according to the picture shown wasn't the same cover as I received! Read more
Published 21 months ago by leanne larkin
4.0 out of 5 stars The Other Boleyn Girl
Interesting book! I have never read any of her books before, I really like her writing. I am now reading The Boleyn Inheritance, and it seems as good as this one.
Published on Oct. 17 2012 by Bobi
1.0 out of 5 stars Distorting History for Sensationalism
"The Other Boleyn Girl," by Philippa Gregory, purports to tell the story of Mary Boleyn, Anne's sister and her predecessor as a lover of Henry VIII, albeit only at her family's... Read more
Published on Oct. 11 2012 by Alison S. Coad
5.0 out of 5 stars Smartly Written Page Turner
I had not read a historical romance novel for some time. Quite frankly I was sick of them. I'd also seen the movie for this book (which was good). Read more
Published on Jan. 10 2011 by Barbara
5.0 out of 5 stars page turner
LOVED LOVED LOVED this book! Total page turner. One gets inside the characters. Mary Boleyn is a great "character". Anne is hateful! Read more
Published on April 7 2010 by Katherine F. Lowe
4.0 out of 5 stars Good read
Found this to be one of Philippa Gregory's better books,it is fiction and it does make for a good story,how much is fact not alot. Read more
Published on May 15 2009 by v. rubin
5.0 out of 5 stars Get hooked on historical fiction
I admit I saw the movie that was recently based on the book first, and I loved it - so I knew that I had to read the book. Read more
Published on May 14 2009 by A. Taylor
5.0 out of 5 stars Not into history? Read it anyway.
Absolutely fantastic. Personally I am not at all into English history and actually I don't even remember what drove me to buy this book, but I'm definitely glad I did. Read more
Published on May 6 2009 by Trang T. Ly
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