Short Book Review: The Other Boleyn Girl by Philippa Gregory
SBR: The Other Boleyn Girl is another of those best-selling books that should not be read. It is historically inaccurate, the characters who are known to be vibrant, complex and multi-dimensional have been reduced to the single dimension of black and white and the author’s attempt to show Mary Boleyn as an innocent woman victimized by her family and Anne Boleyn as a vicious, revengeful shrew are pathetic. Deviating from historical facts is fine in a work of historical fiction, but those deviations should serve the story. That doesn’t happen here. The idea of seeing Tudor history from Mary Boleyn’s point of view is an interesting premise too. But the story ends up reading like a shallow historical romance. The characters of Mary and Anne Boleyn from the book could easily be adapted for a contemporary Hindi soap opera, where the ambitious woman can only be a vamp and the simpering doormat gets the heroine’s crown. That should tell you how flat the characters and the book are. The writing craft has nothing to redeem the pointless story.
To read or not to read: No. Please don’t.