A sequel to The Other Boleyn Girl. You don't need to read them in order, but if you don't know anything about the reign of Henry the 8th, I would read TOBG first. I don't think that this book would be the same without a good understanding of what was going on at the time and the crazy stuff that Henry did. I also think it helps to have a sense of what Henry was like as a younger man to appreciate how messed up this period in English history was and how things progressed with Henry's growing power.
This book is from the point of view of three women, Anne of Cleves(Henry's fourth wife), Jane Boleyn (The wife of George, Anne Boleyn's brother) and Katherine Howard (Henry's fifth wife). I normally don't like it when the point of view changes from more than two characters, but it was done very well and I didn't mind at all. It did not feel segmented because when it changed POV character, the new character picked the story up from where the last character left off.
This is good historical fiction and a worth reading if you enjoy the genre and a must read for those of you who are interested in the period.
As a woman I find it utterly frightening to imagine living in Henry's court. To live in a time where you are owned by the men in your family and traded to another man, like a horse. To have little or no choice about anything in your life and your worth is judged on your ability to give birth to a boy child. To live in fear of being drug to a scaffold, kicking and screaming, to be beheaded on the whim of a madman, with no trial, or proof of a crime. It's chilling. I find it a whole lot scarier than anything Stephen King's written in the last twenty years.
To read this series chronologically, read them in this order: TCP, TOBG, TBI, TQF, TVL, and TOQ (coming 9/16/08). If you want advice on the best way to read the books when you have started with TOBG (most of us seem to have done this), I recommend reading all of them chronologically after TOBG to the end, and then looping back to read TCP after you have finished the series. I heard that from folks who've read them all, and it seems to be working for me. This book reads quickly with many breaks and many chapters that are only a page or two long. It has a very intimate feel as if you are reading the diaries of the three main characters. A note to readers of historical fiction, Gregory is filled with PLENTY romance and cotton candy to make the reads seem light while informing of the period.
I enjoyed this book, although at times I found Howard's voice rather annoying. But I had to remind myself, she was portrayed as a flighty teenager in this book and at that age, I was probably annoying as well.
Another great tale by Gregory. I haven't been disappointed with any of her Tudor books (yet). Recommended to lovers of historical fiction/romance with an interest in the Tudors.
The Boleyn Inheritance is the story of King Henry VIII and his fourth and fifth wives. The fourth wife, Anne of Cleves, the fifth wife, teenager Katherine Howard (cousin to Anne Boleyn Henrys second queen), and Lady Rochford (Jane Boleyn) take turns narrating the story.
Gregory does a beautiful job of creating an individual and unique voice for each narrating character. The life of the court at the time is so vividly painted that it makes you feel as if you are there taking part in it yourself. Taking a rather unique approach in writing in three different first-person narratives, Gregory manages to make each character more understandable, and really brings them to life.
While little is known historically of Anne of Cleaves or Katherine Howard, Gregory did a fantastic job of bringing these characters to life, and offing us an insight into the past that is little known. A discussion at the end of the novel with the author provides further information on her research and character choices (as does the list of references).
If you have any interest in the time of King Henry VIII (and who doesnt?), then I highly recommend that you read The Boleyn Inheritance. It is a fantastic novel, and it is remarkably well written. Pick it up today! You dont even need to read The Other Boleyn Girl first. Although, it will help you better understand some of the characters: Lady Rochford, and the Duke of Norfolk, as well as King Henry VIII himself.
Phillipa Gregory continues to write historical fiction from interesting angles. This tale is told from the perspective of 3 women in the court of Henry VIII; Anne of Cleves, Katherine Howard and Jane (Rochford) Boleyn, who was the sister-in-law to ill-fated Anne, and the wife of George, Anne's brother, whom she betrayed out of jealousy, sealing their fate on the scaffold. The story tells the tale of events in the same time sequence, but from the three different perspectives, A Queen, a lady in waiting, a lady in waiting who became a queen. Anne of Cleves comes off the best -- you had to pity anyone married to Henry, Catherine merely pathetic and Jane conniving and obnoxious. Told all together, the story is a complete and satisfying novel, well written and with powerful character development.