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.
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.
Another good book by Gregory. I found this one a little harder to read from the three different women's views but it added and interesting dimention to the story to see how differently the situation was precieved.
For Jane, Gregory gets to you understand if not like her character. Hemmed in by historical fact, I didn't like the way Jane's story ended.
For Anne of Cleves, I found the insight to this character plausable and I liked this strong woman.
For Katherine, Gregory developed a believable frivolous little girl . . .she was only 15!
I loved this book! It was so much better than The Other Boleyn Girl in my opinion. It is not necessary to read them in order but it was helpful to know the back story on Anne Boleyn and Jane Boleyn. This story is told from 3 different perspectives - Anne of Cleves (Henry VIII's fourth wife), Katherine Howard (his fifth wife), and Jane Boleyn (Lady Rochford), AKA George Boleyn's wife. Like other reviewers have said, Katherine is an idiot but she makes the story so much more interesting. The story details the rise and fall of the three women.
I love all of Philippa Gregory's books, but this was one of my favorites. It got off to a slow start but picked up quickly. If you are a fan of hers, or enjoy reading about the Tudor women, you will love this book.