2007: 11. The Boleyn Inheritance 

“It is hot today, the wind blows over the flat fields and marshes with the stink of plague.  In weather like this, if my husband were still with me, we would not be trapped in one place, watching a leaden dawn and a sunset of dull red; we would be traveling with the king’s court . . .”

 The Boleyn Inheritance, Philippa Gregory

This book carries on Gregory’s Tudor series (she has previously written about Anne Boleyn, Katharine of Aragon and the relationship between Elizabeth I and her sister “Bloody” Mary), by telling the story of three women – Jane Boleyn, widow* of Anne’s brother, Anne of Cleeves, Henry VIII’s fourth wife, and Katherine Howard, Henry’s fifth wife. The chapters go back and forth among the three, telling the story of their lives as they intersect and ultimately diverge. It is definitely popular fiction, and I wouldn’t vouch for the historical accuracy, but it was a darn enjoyable read. Gregory has a way of capturing just how dangerous the times were, living under a capricious (perhaps even mad) king, and how treachery was everywhere. The story of Anne is particularly interesting, since she was the only wife to get away from Henry completely unscathed, Poor Kitty Howard, who is dim and doomed will break your heart, and Jane Boleyn is mad, malevolent and marvelous. I know its not great literature, but I must say that I really enjoyed the book.

Recommend for: People who are interested in getting the sense (if not the 100% true facts) of Tudor England; people who have always been interested in Henry VIII’s wives, and want to know more about Anne of Cleaees, who seems to get the least amount of ink of the six; people who like well written if a little trashy historical fiction.

Date/Place Completed: 01/21/07, Flying from Boston to D.C.**

Categories: Fiction


*He was executed with Anne, under charges that they had been lovers. Jane was one of the principal witnesses against him.

*This was actually number 9, but I made a wee blogging error…

© Carrie Dunsmore 2017