TOBG is one of my favorite books. It’s entertaining, compelling, and simply fascinating; I swear, the oh-so-luscious Eric Bana playing King Henry VIII on the upcoming movie version didn’t affect my decision. (Well, just a bit LOL. Oh, isn’t he yummy? *sigh*)
When Mary Boleyn comes to court as an innocent girl of fourteen, she catches the eye of Henry VIII. Dazzled by the king, Mary falls in love with both her golden prince and her growing role as unofficial queen. However, she soon realizes just how much she is a pawn in her family’s ambitious plots as the king’s interest begins to wane and she is forced to step aside for her best friend and rival: her sister, Anne. Then Mary knows that she must defy her family and her king, and take her fate into her own hands.
A rich and compelling tale of love, sex, ambition, and intrigue, The Other Boleyn Girl introduces a woman of extraordinary determination and desire who lived at the heart of the most exciting and glamorous court in Europe and survived by following her own heart.
For Trollop and all you lazies (you better listen, grr!): I’m gonna tell you guys already, the paperback version is 672 pages; DO NOT WAIT till it’s near the end of the month before you start reading, ya hear me?! LOL I promise, it’s a good one. *g*
BBC discussion, as always, will be on the last Monday and Tuesday of the month (August 28-29). Now, keep these questions in mind while reading the book:
- Why does Philippa Gregory choose Mary to narrate the story? Keeping in mind the relationship between the observer and those observed, is Mary a good, trustworthy narrator? As Mary ages, how is her loss of innocence reflected in her telling of the story?
- Mary professes her love and admiration for Queen Katherine and feels she can’t betray her. In what ways are her honorable ideals compromised as she embarks on her adulterous affair with the king? Recount the whirlwind of events preceding Anne’s becoming queen. Do you agree that “from start to finish” Mary “had no choice” but to betray Queen Katherine?
- In general, what are your impressions of the sisters? Keep in mind Anne and Mary’s discussion: “So who would come after me? ... I could make my own way.” Also, when Anne says, “Hear this, Mary... I will kill you.” Why are these statements significant, particularly given their timing?
- Share some of the characteristics that you like about historical fiction. For you, what aspect of TOBG stands out the most? How does the book change your impressions of life in King Henry VIII’s court? Discuss the level of corruption in the court. Does it surprise you? Were you aware of Anne’s dogged and exhausting pursuit of the king? Did the way Anne became queen shock you?