Title: The Boleyn Inheritance
Author: Philippa Gregory
Series: The Tudor Court
Previous Books Reviews:
1. The Constant Princess
2. The Other Boleyn Girl
Date Started: March 13
Date Finished: March 14
Format: Hardcover from my local library
You know what I don’t understand? Why for almost every review I’ve seen for this book states that it covers the rest of Henry VIII’s wives. Let’s be clear about something. It doesn’t. The Boleyn Inheritance picks up three years after the events of The Other Boleyn Girl. Jane Boleyn is in exile with only her title and small fortune after turning evidence against her husband and her sister-in-law. She still stands by what she does only because she claims to have loved George Boleyn. Anne of Cleves is preparing herself to be picked by the king to become his new wife. She is leaving behind a brother and mother who have only ever used her to get what they want. Katherine Howard is living with her grandmother and trying to overcome her cousin Anne’s enormous shadow. She wishes for something more, although at the tender age of thirteen she finds herself in love.
Okay, so in The Constant Princess we had Catherine of Aragon’s story, she was Henry’s first wife. She got put aside for Anne Boleyn, who was beheaded. Henry’s third wife – Jane Seymour – gave him a son and is only mentioned a few times in this book. By the point this book begins, Jane has already died from complications of childbirth. Anne of Cleves becomes Henry’s fourth wife, but it doesn’t last. She makes the mistake of not recognizing the king when he first shows himself to her at a New Years Eve celebration and thinks that he is just some old drunkard. It’s the worst start to a marriage, so they never consummate the marriage. She gets put aside for her lady-in-waiting Katherine Howard who he loves completely. The only problem is that because he’s so old, she cannot get pregnant. She takes on a lover and that is her doom.
So according to the reviews, that’s the end of Henry’s wives. But it’s not. There’s one more – another Katherine who gets a brief mention at the end of The Boleyn Inheritance – but I want to know what her story is. According to the one line she’s mentioned in, Katherine almost met her end, but Henry died before he could behead her. Anyway, I really liked this book a lot more than I did The Other Boleyn Girl. It was nice to see the aftermath of the chaos that Anne Boleyn started. Henry doesn’t trust anymore and has become a complete tyrant. He is still the selfish asshole that he was in the previous book only on a more grand scale.
It’s actually kind of sickening to watch how quickly friends turn on each other to condemn someone else. Like watching Katherine’s fall was just disgusting. The man she ‘married’ two years ago tells of their marriage only because he couldn’t stand seeing her with her lover and the king. Yikes. My only complaint was how much Jane Boleyn trusted her uncle. He’s already had his own niece beheaded; did she really think that he wouldn’t do the same thing to her?
Final Rating: 5 out of 5 stars. A rather good read that shows the aftermath of Anne Boleyn’s games. I kind of wanted to know more about Anne of Cleves. She’s the only wife – other than the last Katherine – to survive Henry without being ruined, beheaded, or put into exile to die alone. What happened to her after his death?
Bookshelf worthy? Philippa Gregory is becoming one of those authors that I would try to get all her books if I ever hit the lottery especially those about the Tudor court.