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I love these books that are narrated by three persons! Along with 'The Help' that I rave about constantly, the 'Boleyn Inheritance' is one of those. Exquisite writing, matched with beautiful narration made this book a joy to listen to. I must say though, the only reason this book does not get 5 stars across of board is because I listened the Abridged version (by mistake of course because I normally never listen to Abridged books unless I must). The narration in the Abridged book was just plain better, the one here is great, superb, beautiful, but the other one is in fact better. Do not let that stop you from getting this book though! I would also suggest you give 'The Other Boleyn Girl' a listen too prior to this if you can because this builds so well from it.
Overall... if you like Historical Lit set in that Renaissance period... You will LOVE this book!
32 of 32 people found this review helpful
I know Tudor history. I have studied it my entire life. I am a fan of many of Ms. Gregory's other novels; both of the Tudor series and the newer Cousins' War series. I decided to re-listen to the Boleyn Inheritance to be fair to the author (and for lack of anything else to listen to while at endless swim meets and practices for my kids). I tried to love this book and couldn't do so.
First, let me state that I was able to re-listen to this novel without feeling as if my teeth were being set on edge as I felt about "The Red Queen." The story is not awful, but the players are terribly whiny. From a historical viewpoint, I wholeheartedly understand that women in Henry VIII's Court were often victimized. However, the constant repetition of "poor me" becomes too much by the time the listener is halfway through the novel.
The focus is on Anne of Cleves, Katherine Howard (wives #4 and 5) and Jane Boleyn. The latter two women are wholly unlikeable; Katherine because she is a silly twit and Jane because... well, Jane Boleyn is one of the nastier women in English history. I love the portrayal of Anne of Cleves and she makes the story worthwhile as a whole. My biggest complaint is that Ms. Gregory simply tried to excuse too much bad behavior on the part of Katherine and Jane and to place blame on King Henry. It isn't an invalid theory, but the characters are portrayed in such a way that I simply didn't care about their inevitable fates.
On the plus side, the three voice narration is STUPENDOUS !!! It is unique. It gave life to the characters (regardless of how much I liked the characters). The book is worth a listen and the historical facts are superb. Ms. Gregory can not ever be faulted for straying too far from the facts (as Carolly Erickson so frequently chooses to do). It's good Tudor fiction -- if one can stand the whining.
13 of 14 people found this review helpful