*Discover the stunning new unabridged audio edition of The Other Boleyn Girl, available to download this summer*
The acclaimed international bestseller of the Tudor court, during the years of Henry VIII’s pursuit of Anne Boleyn – and the revolutionary sequence of events that followed.
This chance for us Howards comes once in a century…
1521. Henry VIII rules over a fashionable court alive with pageant and celebration, the lack of a son his only threat. When young Mary Boleyn arrives at court, she becomes his new mistress, an unwitting pawn in the ambitions of the powerful Boleyn and Howard families.
As Henry’s interest begins to wane, the Boleyns scheme to put forward Mary’s sister, Anne. Yet Anne Boleyn, newly returned from the French court, won’t agree to be Henry’s mistress – only his wife.
Pitting the king’s desperation for an heir against the advice of his powerful advisors, Wolsey and Cromwell, what follows will change the course of a country’s history.
Praise for Philppa Gregory:
‘One of Gregory's great strengths as a novelist is her ability to take familiar historical figures and flesh them into living breathing human beings’ Daily Express
‘The contemporary mistress of historical fiction is Philippa Gregory. Her novels are filled with strong, determined women who take their fate into their own hands…Gregory brings to life the sights, smells and textures of 16th-century England.’ Kate Mosse
‘Gregory's research is impeccable which makes her imaginative fiction all the more convincing’ Daily Mail
‘Gregory is great at conjuring a Tudor film-set of gorgeous gowns and golden-lattered dining. She invokes some swoonsome images…while the politics are personal enough to remain pertinent’ DailyTelegraph
‘Subtle and exciting’ Daily Express
‘Written from instinct, not out of calculation, and it shows’
Peter Ackroyd, The Times
‘For sheer pace and percussive drama it will take a lot of beating’ Sunday Times
About the author
Philippa Gregory was an established historian and writer when she discovered her interest in the Tudor period and wrote the internationally bestselling novel The Other Boleyn Girl, which became a major film starring Natalie Portman and Scarlett Johansson. Her Cousins’ War novels were the basis for the highly successful BBC series, The White Queen.
Philippa’s other great interest is the charity that she founded twenty years ago: Gardens for The Gambia. She has raised funds and paid for over 200 wells in the primary schools of this poor African country.
Philippa is a former student of Sussex University and a PhD and Alumna of the Year 2009 of Edinburgh University. In 2016, she was presented with the Outstanding Contribution to Historical Fiction Award by the Historical Writers' Association. Her love for history and commitment to historical accuracy are the hallmarks of her writing. Philippa lives with her family on a small farm in Yorkshire and welcomes visitors to her site www.PhilippaGregory.com. You can also find her on Facebook, Twitter and YouTube.
APPLE BOOKS REVIEW
Philippa Gregory’s Inside Story: “This is in the throes of adaptation to be a stage play. It's really, really exciting. And I'm re-reading it, so had that really great pleasure of coming back to a book.
“You never know what success you’ll have with a book. I always embark upon with hope. But I had a real moment when I found Mary Boleyn. It was just really extraordinary. Every time I tell the story it sounds so unlikely, but it is genuinely true. I thought that I was going to write a story about female piracy. So I was looking at records of the Tudor Navy to basically research female piracy. I then came across the launching of a ship called Mary Boleyn, and so sat in the British Library said quietly to myself: 'That can't be right. It's got to be Anne Boleyn.' So I looked up Mary Boleyn in the index and thought: ‘What? Anne Boleyn had a sister? And this sister was so high in the favour of the king that he named a warship after her?’
“I then had a little search around for Mary Boleyn—and at time there was not a single biography on her. There was not even a published essay. She only lived in the footnotes of very detailed Victorian histories who were going into the legality of Henry's marriage to Anne, to which she was a legal obstacle because he had slept with her sister. And the only reason that was mentioned was because he said that the reason he couldn't be married to Catherine of Aragon was because she had slept with his brother, Prince Arthur. It was very arcane. Anne Boleyn was on the throne, she had a sister Mary and Mary was the king's greatest lover of all time. Madness! I almost had a desire to rush into print because I was sure that since I'd found it, somebody else would immediately find it after me.
“The Hollywood adaptation experience was really very extraordinary. It is like being picked up by a whirlwind and whirled about and told that all this is yours. And the next year, you're waiting for the invitations to Berlin Film Festival. It's very, very odd but hugely enjoyable. Some of the difficulties that I had with the adaptation were completely obscured by the really fantastic performances. It was so expensive, and you see so much of it on screen. It's such a glamorous film. Every now and then, it comes up again on television and I always see it with pleasure. It doesn't have any of the subtleties that I hope we're going to bring to the stage play, and it really is like Natalie Portman at one time said: ‘It's a catfight movie.’ And I said, ‘Oh, God. Yes, in a way, it's come down to that.’ But with that as the sort of foreground, in the background we're still saying a lot about women's power, women's rights and the way women are treated in the Tudor world.”
Sisterly rivalry is the basis of this fresh, wonderfully vivid retelling of the story of Anne Boleyn. Anne, her sister Mary and their brother George are all brought to the king's court at a young age, as players in their uncle's plans to advance the family's fortunes. Mary, the sweet, blond sister, wins King Henry VIII's favor when she is barely 14 and already married to one of his courtiers. Their affair lasts several years, and she gives Henry a daughter and a son. But her dark, clever, scheming sister, Anne, insinuates herself into Henry's graces, styling herself as his adviser and confidant. Soon she displaces Mary as his lover and begins her machinations to rid him of his wife, Katherine of Aragon. This is only the beginning of the intrigue that Gregory so handily chronicles, capturing beautifully the mingled hate and nearly incestuous love Anne, Mary and George ("kin and enemies all at once") feel for each other and the toll their family's ambition takes on them. Mary, the story's narrator, is the most sympathetic of the siblings, but even she is twisted by the demands of power and status; charming George, an able plotter, finally brings disaster on his own head by falling in love with a male courtier. Anne, most tormented of all, is ruthless in her drive to become queen, and then to give Henry a male heir. Rather than settling for a picturesque rendering of court life, Gregory conveys its claustrophobic, all-consuming nature with consummate skill. In the end, Anne's famous, tragic end is offset by Mary's happier fate, but the self-defeating folly of the quest for power lingers longest in the reader's mind.
Customer ReviewsSee All
The other Boleyn
Amazing book loved it
A fantastic well written fascinating book but this book is not to be taken literally. Putting this in the historical category is very misleading as it is very much fiction simply based on true events.
A good read, but...
It's a ripping read, no doubt about it, but history it certainly isn't! If you know anything about this most documented era of our history, you will see that this is a work of pure fiction. For example, Anne wasn't even the older sister, but the younger. The film does nothing to improve on this massive distortion of the facts. It would perhaps be better if the true facts were not so well-known, for example as in the 'Cousins War' series, where we are not so much distracted by what we know already. 'The Lady of the Rivers' is I think one of Gregory's greatest works. Not, however, 'The Other Boleyn Girl'. Still, it's good entertainment .