This was a great novel. It will go down as one of my favorites. I first became fascinated with the life of King Henry and everything to do with it after reading Henry VIII. It was interesting to read about the Boleyn girls from the Boleyn perspective.
Anne and Mary truly never had a chance. They were brought up to be courtiers and hopefully catch the eye of the King which both of them did. They were both beautiful; one fair and one dark. However, Anne had an evil side from the beginning which Mary did not. The girls were always in a competition of sorts although Anne was much more competitive and would stoop to any level to achieve what she wanted. She wanted to be Queen, to have power over everybody; Mary not so much. Mary had actually thought herself to truly love the King when she was a young girl.
This novel takes us through the lives of the Boleyn Three: George, Mary and Anne. It shows us how children weren’t children in those days but pawns in a never ending game for families to further themselves. The Boleyn kids never knew love except maybe from each other, certainly not from their parents. I was impressed that Mary was different. She loved her children, wanted them with her and wanted them to always know love.
I am still shocked as I was when I read Henry VIII of how young these girls are when introduced into womanhood. At eleven and twelve years of age they are expected to flirt and entrap men. Their lives revolve around material things, parties, dancing and if ordered by the King, sleeping with him. They never have a chance to just be children when they grow up at court.
My favorite character would have to be Mary even though for the most part she bent to her family’s wishes. She really had no choice and knew nothing else until William. In the end though, after meeting William, she realizes that there is more to life than the court and being ordered around all the time; there is love. I was happy she found that.
A line that stuck with me for some reason was when Mary was thinking of how the King had affected their lives. Her thought was in pertaining to what the King had taken from her: “George, my beloved George, from me. And he had taken my other self: Anne.” Mary’s whole life had revolved around Anne really. Even when Anne was cruel to her she was there for her. I can imagine the feeling of loss she had in the end-as she says her other self.
I thoroughly enjoyed this novel. It has everything you want in a book to keep you coming back until that last page and then leaves you wanting more. I would definitely recommend this novel!
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