“The year is 1539. Henry VIII must take another wife and the dangerous prize of the crown of England is won by Anne of Cleves. Although she is fascinated by the glamour of her new surroundings, she can sense a trap closing around her.
Katherine Howard meanwhile is to flirt her way to the throne. But her kinswoman Jane Boleyn is haunted by the past and the Boleyn inheritance of suspicion, betrayal and death. In this time of upheaval and uncertainty these three young women must try to survive the most volatile court in Europe.”
I feel that rather than try to draw everyone’s attention away from the battered state of my copy of this gem I should perhaps try to celebrate it. This is one of my most precious bath books, a treasured comfort blanket and my handbag companion on many a trip. It is one that I very happily dip in and out of on a shockingly casual basis, which almost equates to constantly reading/ having just resurfaced from it.
It was bought for me as a gift from my mum nearly fifteen years ago now, as part of a pack of three by the same author. The Constant Princess and The Other Boleyn girl have recieved similar levels of love and adoration, and are in comparable states of disarray (The Other Boleyn Girl has in fact been replaced and over-loved all over again).
I love the way that she maintains three very different, equally enticing voices throughout the book and incites sympathy while still building intruige. Her Katherine is enchantingly innocent (if you’re willing to overlook a few sexual misdemeanors here and there) contrasted with the jaded Jane Boleyn, making for a rollercoaster of a read. Like most people on a rollercoaster I seem to be heading straight for the line again the moment I’m done.
I absolutely loved the character development of Anne throughout the book and the choices that she makes when Katherine becomes queen. I love the shifting of loyalty from pleasing others to pleasing herself and the way that she grows through the cruelties of the tudor court. She is an inspiring and endearing character whom I would love to know for real.
It is very easy reading and well written, and I would thoroughly recommend it to anyone who had already read The Other Boleyn Girl. Jane Boleyn’s perspective regularly revisits the events of that book, and Katherine herself regularly dwells on her inheritance as The Other Howard Girl. While you could definitely read The Boleyn Inheritance without the background knowledge of Anne Boleyn’s storyline, I feel that it complements the subtext nicely.
It is one of the easier historical fiction books to read and keep up with if you are unfamiliar with the genre as it focuses mostly on the interpersonal conflicts and shifting of alliances rather than on battles that took place many miles away and their political implications.
To summarise, this book and I have had a long and fullfilling friendship which I wish upon others in much the same way that people with dogs wish them upon their friends – how does everyone not have this in their lives?!
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