Wednesday, February 3, 2016

Reviewer: Jillian Rutledge, Waverly Public Library

Title: The other Boleyn girl

Author: Philippa Gregory
Information on series: Second of the Tudor series, though can be read as a stand-alone.

Audience: Adult/New Adult 

Read alikes:

The lady in the tower by Jean Plaidy
The lady raised high: A novel of Anne Boleyn by Laurien Gardner
The Queen’s rival and I, Jane by Diane Haeger
Wolf Hall by Hilary Mantel

Rating (scale of 1 – 10, with 10 being the highest): 8

Recommended to:  Fans of Tudor-era novels, British literature, Political dramas


Mary Boleyn’s family sees an opportunity when the King of England sets his sights upon her and they will stop at nothing to win his favor, including using Mary’s sister Anne as a pawn in this dangerous game of love.


The year is 1521 and the life of Mary Boleyn, a young lady in waiting to Queen Katherine of Aragon, is about to change drastically. Though Mary is the wife of a gentleman of the court, King Henry VIII has set his eyes on her and isn’t a man to take no for an answer. Mary’s family, Boleyns on her father’s side and Howards on her mother’s, are ruthless social ladder climbers, desperate to add titles to their names and increase their fortunes, regardless of the cost. When they see an opportunity for advancement through Henry’s favoring of Mary they begin conniving schemes to secure her place in the King’s bed as his mistress, with no consideration for Mary’s own thoughts or desires. Despite her reservations concerning her own husband and her loyalty to the Queen, Mary is young and impressionable, and the King is a handsome and powerful man.

While Mary may be naïve her sister Anne is anything but. Raised in the French court Anne is mercilessly ambitious and struggles to stand idly by while her sister bears the King first a daughter, then a son. As Mary is recovering from the birth of her second child Anne swoops in, charming the fickle King with her guileless wit and charm. Soon he is infatuated with her and as Anne grows ever more powerful it becomes apparent that she will stop at nothing to be Queen of England.

At times romantic, often dramatic, and ultimately heartbreaking, this story differs from other tales of Anne Boleyn as it focuses instead on her relatively unknown sister Mary. 

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