The Other Boleyn Girl by Philippa Gregory
I read this book a few years ago, but it still remains my favourite of Gregory's novels. I remember when I sat down to read it, I was literally flipping the pages like a crazy person and basically did nothing for 3 whole days while I inhaled the thing. (much to my husbands extreme eye-rolling)
The summary: (from the jacket)
When Mary Boleyn comes to court as an innocent girl of fourteen, she catches the eye of Henry VIII. Dazzled by the king, Mary falls in love with both her golden prince and her growing role as unofficial queen. However, she soon realizes just how much she is a pawn in her family's ambitious plots as the king's interest begins to wane and she is forced to step aside for her best friend and rival: her sister Anne. Then Mary knows that she must defy her family and her king, and take her fate into her own hands.
"The Other Boleyn Girl" reads like a movie script, so it's really not all that surprising that a couple of years ago the movie, in fact, came out. I have to admit, I never did go see it. The book was such a great and fast read that I thought the movie may not do it justice. I felt a lot of sympathy for Mary in the beginning, and grew to loathe Anne. Mary is powerless against the mammoth greed her family has to gain power and riches from the King, and she desperately tries to please the king in every way. And as we begin to realize that the king's affections are turning to Anne, we see Mary wilt and then rise to the occasion as Anne's scheming partner to gain her the crown. And then there's George. He provides some levity in the book, but he is not without his faults. And the three of them form Team Anne as they do everything they can to keep Anne from going insane with her antics of trying to stay in the King's favour and eventually become his queen. They also form a trio that eventually hides a deadly secret.
Having very little knowledge of King Henry VIII's history, I was rivetted by the story. Oh, I knew the basics, like he had gone through a few wives, and had a pattern of doing away with them in a brutal way, but not the rich and lavish details of the court and the politics of the time. I mentioned a couple of days ago that the mark of a good historical fiction novel is that you want to then go and research more about the subject. GOOGLE : HENRY VIII. Which I totally did. And then I went to the library and piled my arms with books about him and his wives and watched documentaries. It was awesome! So, when I heard that there was going to be a TV series called "The Tudors" I was super excited! Until I saw that they had cast Jonathan Rhys Meyers in the part.
Tell me, Hollywood, how this:
Help me Rhonda.
But I digress......
For more about Philippa Gregory and her works you can visit her website here.