Saturday, July 20, 2013

Wolf Hall by Hilary Mantel

I love me some Tudor history.  I liked Wolf Hall because it was a completely different spin on Henry VIII than what I usually read.  Thomas Cromwell, a nobody who becomes a lawyer, survives the downfall of Cardinal Wolsey and eventually emerges as Henry's most trusted advisor.  Cromwell helps secure the annulment from Catherine of Aragon and paves the way for Anne Boleyn to become queen.  The book was a little long, and sometimes the characters got confusing, but I'm glad I read it.  I would probably only recommend it if you love British history like I do!

Summary (from Amazon):
No character in the canon has been writ larger than Henry VIII, but that didn't stop Hilary Mantel. She strides through centuries, past acres of novels, histories, biographies, and plays--even past Henry himself--confident in the knowledge that to recast history's most mercurial sovereign, it's not the King she needs to see, but one of the King's most mysterious agents. Enter Thomas Cromwell, a self-made man and remarkable polymath who ascends to the King's right hand. Rigorously pragmatic and forward-thinking, Cromwell has little interest in what motivates his Majesty, and although he makes way for Henry's marriage to the infamous Anne Boleyn, it's the future of a free England that he honors above all else and hopes to secure. Mantel plots with a sleight of hand, making full use of her masterful grasp on the facts without weighing down her prose. The opening cast of characters and family trees may give initial pause to some readers, but persevere: the witty, whip-smart lines volleying the action forward may convince you a short stay in the Tower of London might not be so bad... provided you could bring a copy of Wolf Hall along.

Read: May-July 2014 via Kindle

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