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The Boleyn Inheritance
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THREE WOMEN WHO SHARE ONE FATE: THE BOLEYN INHERITANCE ANNE OF CLEVES She runs from her tiny country, her hateful mother, and her abusive brother to a throne whose last three occupants are dead. King Henry VIII, her new husband, instantly dislikes her. Without friends, family, or even an understanding of the language being spoken around her, she must literally save her neck in a court ruled by a deadly game of politics and the terror of an unpredictable and vengeful king. Her Boleyn Inheritance: accusations and false witnesses. KATHERINE HOWARD She catches the king's eye within moments of arriving at court, setting in motion the dreadful machine of politics, intrigue, and treason that she does not understand. She only knows that she is beautiful, that men desire her, that she is young and in love -- but not with the diseased old man who made her queen, beds her night after night, and killed her cousin Anne. Her Boleyn Inheritance: the threat of the axe. JANE ROCHFORD She is the Boleyn girl whose testimony sent her husband and sister-in-law to their deaths. She is the trusted friend of two threatened queens, the perfectly loyal spy for her uncle, the Duke of Norfolk, and a canny survivor in the murderous court of a most dangerous king. Throughout Europe, her name is a byword for malice, jealousy, and twisted lust. Her Boleyn Inheritance: a fortune and a title, in exchange for her soul. The Boleyn Inheritance is a novel drawn tight as a lute string about a court ruled by the gallows and three women whose positions brought them wealth, admiration, and power as well as deceit, betrayal, and terror. Once again, Philippa Gregory has brought a vanished world to life -- the whisper of a silk skirt on a stone stair, the yellow glow of candlelight illuminating a hastily written note, the murmurs of the crowd gathering on Tower Green below the newly built scaffold. In The Boleyn Inheritance Gregory is at her intelligent and page-turning best.

Customer Reviews:

  • Wonderful
    Great and human writing showing this time in history. I read it again and again....more info
  • Not as Juicy
    Be warned, those who enjoyed the juicy romanticism of The Other Boleyn Girl may be disappointed here. But the facts of the story have a little less debauchery as history writes...

    The author was daring as she split her tale between several women's voices... and in the end wove them back together again. (I listened to this novel on my iPod, and this gave the story a better cohesion.)

    Lade Jane Rochford, Anne Boelyn's sister in law, whose husband went to the scaffold for incest with Queen Anne is the narrator.

    QUEEN- Anne of Cleves is a well drawn character.
    QUEEN- "Kitty" Howard is given a flippant air.

    and the Duke of Norfolk attempting the regain standing after the Howard girls' spiraling defeat.

    This novel gave meaning to many elements we could not understand looking back centuries later. It touched on the political structure and strings being pulled in Europe. It touched on the influence of the church and a wave of reform crashing through Europe.

    It spoke clearly of the tyrant Henry had become, touching on those whose livelihoods depended upon the moody man. The perspective on a monarchy, vassals and power within a court... these are the HIGHLIGHTS of this novel. Not the juicy (historical licensed) affairs and torrid romances in Henry's youth. In truth, the tone of the court had changed. Henry's focus, although always self serving, had changed. Be ready for the divergence.

    So this is not The Other Boleyn Girl. But the story told is a solid, entertaining one. And when you are writing about history, it is also well known the outcome. This is a fluffy, entertaining historical novel.

    ...more info
  • Boleyn Inheritance
    Turned out to be a pretty good book. It was a little confusing at the start since there are 3 characters points of view, but once you get to know the characters it gets really good....more info
  • Gregory at her BEST!
    This is Philippa Gregory's best novel yet! Not many writers would bother to go so deep into the lives of the women who changed the course of history. In a time when women were thought of as inferior and bothersome, Gregory opens the eyes of the reader and makes them realize that without Kathrine of Aragon, or Anne Boleyn, or Jane Seymour, or Anne of Cleves, or Katherine Howard, or Katherine Parr, Henry VIII would not be remembered as he is now. He would not be that infamous king who tore his own country apart for the lust of a woman. It was the women in his life that made him famous(and the same goes for many other men in history). That's what I like about Gregory, she makes these people real, she turns them back into flesh and blood before our eyes. She makes them laugh, love, and cry. She gives them humanity. This is not just another one of her fantastic triumphs as a writer, but full proof of her knowledge of the human nature....more info
  • Great story - a must read for fans of royal fiction
    This is a great book that combines fact and fiction to make a wonderful story. Be sure to read "The Other Boleyn Girl" first before reading this book though....more info
  • Life in the times of Henry VIII
    This book can be considered a sequel to Gregory's book The Other Boleyn Girl. This book though tells a slightly different story.

    This book centers on three women who have to deal with the aftermath of Anne Boleyn and Jane Seymour.

    Jane Boleyn was the wife of George Boleyn and the sister in law of Anne Boleyn. Her testimony helped convict both of them leading to their deaths. When Henry VIII decides to marry Anne of Cleves Jane comes back to court to help.

    Anne wants to get out under the thumb of her mother and brother and so is very excited when she is to become Queen of England. However the relationship between Anne and Henry is tumultuous and only six months after their marriage they are divorced and she becomes Henry's beloved sister.

    Katherine Howard is the cousin of Anne Boleyn. She lived with her step-grandmother until her uncle says that he wants her to serve Anne of Cleves. Soon she catches the heart of Henry and several days after the divorce she is the new Queen of England. There is only one problem, she does not love Henry. Soon Katherine catches the eye of Thomas Culpeper and Jane Boleyn must help them to keep their relationship a secret from King and court, which ends with both Jane and Katherine beheaded for treason.

    A very interesting look at history....more info
  • Gregory tackles lesser known Tudor figures with winning results
    I have to admit that as much as I enjoyed "The Other Boleyn Girl," I liked "The Boleyn Inheritance" a great deal more. First and foremost, we are treated to a story about three women from English history that have been for the most part relegated to footnotes and back-burners, with the sole exception being Katherine Howard, who has received a more substantial amount of attention lately; however Anne of Cleves, Henry's fourth and most obscure (though not uninteresting) wife whose marriage to the king was a very short-lived 7 months and Lady Jane Rochford (sister-in-law to Anne Boleyn and wife to her brother, George Boleyn) whose false accusations were considered the catalyst for their fall from grace and, ultimately, execution are sometimes played off as minor historical figures in a time and place that never lacked for larger than life personalities. The novel is narrated by all three of the aforementioned women and we see how their lives, though, woven in many respects, were very separate and their narration tells us as much. While serving as a lady to the king's new protestant German wife, Anne of Cleves, Katherine Howard catches the eye of the aging king whose lust and sense of romance are rekindled by her calculated flirtations and feigned innocence. As a willing pawn for her ambitious family, headed by her ruthless uncle, the Duke of Norfolk, she has little idea of the price she will pay for a childhood indiscretion that surfaces soon after being crowned queen of England. Lady Jane Rochford named Queen Katherine's lady-in-waiting, quickly becomes her greatest confidant, a role that will ultimately lead to her downfall, as court secrets and accusations of betrayal surface and she's named a conspirator in the queen's affairs. Throughout all this, Anne, who thought she'd gained relative safety when Henry annuls their marriage, declares her his sister and grants her various properties, among them the Boleyn ancestral home, Hever Castle, soon realizes the precariousness of her position when the king's fickle and suspicious nature rears its ugly head and her quiet existence is threatened with fear of imprisonment and, perhaps, even death. Just like with her earlier novels, Philippa Gregory's storytelling is both succinct (no padding here) and first rate, with every character given ample attention, which keeps the story moving along at a breathless clip. The narrative never wanes and the climactic exchange between Lady Jane Rochford and the Duke of Norfolk is alone worth the price of admission, as it were. The ferociousness of the encounter is such that it will not soon be forgotten. By far, my favorite PG novel, so I highly recommend it. ...more info
  • Phillippa Gregory
    Thoroughly enjoyed this and all of her books which I have read already...planning for several more!...more info
  • Mediocre fluff
    Phillipa Gregory is a mediocre writer. For whatever reason, she's had great commercial success as a writer of historical fiction. However, I am usually disappointed in her books. This one was no exception. The first half was dreadful. It was repetitive and trite. The second half was much better though - hence the 3 star rating.

    This novel is about the 4th and 5th wives of Henry VIII. It is told in the first person with the narrative shifting in each chapter between Anne of Cleves (#4, a younger sister of the Duke of Cleves), Katherine Howard (#5, an impoverished much younger cousin of the ill-fated Anne Boleyn and niece of the powerful Duke of Norfolk), and Jane Boleyn (the mentally unbalanced wife of Anne's brother George - the one who gave the testimony which Henry relied on to have Anne and George beheaded for incest).

    Gregory does a great job in giving a reader the sense of terror that Henry's wives felt when they could not win his favor. I think she created an interesting picture of the sycophantic court and clearly showed that Henry was severely disturbed and had an innacurate sense of self. Gregory really pounded home (really really pounded home) the reminder that Henry was fat, flatulent, and had a festering wound on his leg. Really, I can't tell you how many descriptions the various characters gave of Henry's stink. She also did an ok job with characterizing Katherine Howard. Katherine was presented as flighty and an unapolagetic teenage floozy. The final execution scene was really sad - Katherine was a ditz who really did not ask to mary Henry and did as she was told. I felt for her. I think her characterization of Jane Boleyn was good too. Gregory did a good job of conveying her self-importance and her delusions about the role she played in her sister-in-law and husband's downfall. I also think her portrayal of Anne of Cleves was plausible, explaining why she would have married Henry and why she was willing to agree that she was precontracted. However, Anne was a boring character and I didn't really care much about her.

    I thought that Rose Without a Thorn was a better portrayal of Katherine Howard. I can't really think of a better one about Anne of Cleves - I haven't read anything about her before. I'm sure there is something else out there. The novel, simply put, is not well written. I like my historical fiction to be more about politics rather than scandal. I couldn't really relate to any of the three women. ...more info
  • The madness of Henry VIII
    The Boleyn Inheritance continues where The Other Boleyn Girl left off. Henry is once again looking for a wife and this time he looks to Cleves. Anne's arrival to the English court follows intrigue, passion and more romantic drama as the perpetually fickle Henry falls for yet another lady in waiting to yet another queen. For those who enjoyed The Other Boleyn Girl, this is a welcome addition but not necessarily as fast-paced. There is a lot of introspective repetition i.e. characters thinking out loud the same thoughts over and over again. Jane Boleyn's character touches the reader, as does that of Katherine Howard. Jane leaves a slimy, deceptive impression on you in the previous book but in this one, PG deliberately makes you confused in what you feel for her.
    The book is very well written and the characters are extremely strong in their impact. The story is obviously based on actual history with a few stretches. Towards the middle of the book, I felt... disgusted. Why? Well I felt disgusted with Henry VIII once again. It is amazing, the number of people he sent to the block and stake just because they did not agree with him. The helplessness of his people, family and his tyrannical rule almost put a fear over the reader. Every tale entwined in Henry's life starts with a castle and ends with the execution block. I think this disgust is PG's success in writing a very good book. I will now turn to something lighter, like fantasy!
    ...more info
  • Great series
    The Boleyn Inheritance was an excellent read. This book was one of my favorites in the series. It is written in a narrative-type format by 3 different women. This format kept me very interested. It made the differences and similarities between the 3 women really stand out because you could view events from 3 different sets of eyes. ...more info
  • a good read
    This is the second book I have read by Philippa Gregory. When I finished the first book, The Other Boleyn..., I immediately went to Amazon and purchased this book. Although it is basically fiction, the way Gregory intertwines fact, when the courts moved about England, and fiction, any dialog, is wonderful. If you have any interest in the wives of Henry VIII, I highly recommend this book, and possibly any other she writes! ...more info
  • Loved narrative from all 3 women's view points!
    I have read other books by this author, and I really like her writing style. I especially liked how this book was a little different in that it told the story from the point of view of 3 different women. Talk about putting yourself in someone elses shoes! It was very entertaining seeing inside the mind set of THREE of the characters in King Henry's court!...more info
  • ...No Fury Like a Woman Beheaded
    KF Zuzulo is the author of A Genie in the House of Saud: Zubis Rises
    It's almost as dead Anne Boleyn curses Henry to perceive his marital lot as intolerable, no matter who he was married to. He really was a churlish cur; and, in this version of the tale, he's not even attractive anymore. However, if you liked The Other Boleyn Girl, you'll really enjoy this extension on the story of courtly intrigue and the scheming necessary for survival. You can't blame the chaste Anne of Cleaves for being a pushover, or Jane Boleyn for being a twit, or Katherine for being a silly simp. They were just being the women they were -- the intrigue lies in how that interacts with Henry's reprehensible personality.
    Gregory conveys all the glamour and pageantry of courtly life in a way that makes you feel you've studied the era -- plus you get all the juicy gossip and scandal. Not as sexy as The Other Boleyn Girl, but definitely worth reading....more info
  • Another can't put down from Philippa Gregory!
    While not as excellent as The Other Boleyn Girl, The Boleyn Inheritance is a darn great read! It has intrigue, romance, murder, lust, betrayal, suspense, humor, irony....I read this 500 page book in 5 days, it kept me reading late at night. (Not something I do often with a toddler who wears me out during the day!) There wasn't a boring page through the entire thing- the 3 main characters Queen Anne, Queen Katherine and Jane Boleyn are not to be forgotten. Each are intriguing in their own way and their stories pull you in. Even if you aren't very familiar with this period in time, like myself, you can still enjoy this book because the author does a good job at setting the background, filling in information and giving you tidbits of knowledge. The author's attention to detail is superb. Gregory does it again!! ...more info
  • The Axeman Cometh!!!
    The timing for my reading of this book was perfect as The Tudors, Season 3, is presently being aired on TV and it covers the same period in history as The Boleyn Inheritance does. Henry's beloved wife Jane Seymour has just died as a result of childbirth and he is encouraged to take another wife.

    So begins this 6th Philippa Gregory book dealing with the life and many wives of King Henry VIII. This last book in the series takes on his marriages to Ann of Cleves and Katherine Howard. If your memory of what happened with these two wives is scarce, it's probably better because the book then becomes that much more of a page turner. I stayed up until 2:30AM finishing it because I simply could not put it down. I had to know what was going to happen before I went to sleep. With a book like this, it probably wasn't the best idea because it only leads to dreams of The Tower and the "axe". I say this is the last book in the series but I do not know this definitely because there is still one more wife, Katherine Parr, so perhaps Gregory is going to take us into that marriage as well.

    This book has three different narrators and each mini chapter is told from their individual voices. We first meet Ann of Cleves as she is hoping to get chosen as Henry's 4th wife. Then there's Katherine Howard, who is hoping to go to court serving the new Queen. Lastly there's Lady Rochford, better known as Jane Boleyn. It was she who was married to Ann Boleyn's brother George and it was her testimony alone that sent him to the scaffold.

    I can't tell you how much I enjoyed this book. Gregory intersperses her own dose of fiction into the already written history about these years in Henry's life. When you think of the time in history you yourself are born into, you can't help but think "thank God I wasn't born in England during this period". It was such a time of turbulence with an unstable tyrant of a King. I can't even fathom it and, more to the point, I can't even fathom wanting to be his Queen.

    I guess there's two ways to read this series....either chronologically or the order in which Gregory wrote them. I chose the latter starting with The Other Boleyn Girl and ending with The Boleyn Inheritance. As it turns out, the first and last books written ended up being my two favorites. I guess an argument could be made for reading them either way but I'm happy I did it the way I did. There's nothing better than beginning and ending a series with two "great" books.

    So I encourage any lover of historical fiction to read this book. You won't be disappointed....more info
  • Loved it!
    What more can one say? Great historical information. Felt like I was really there. Wow, being royalty in those days wasn't exactly an advantage!...more info