Here a Boleyn, there a Boleyn, everywhere a Boleyn…

Just picked up Philppa Gregory’s newest novel at the library: The Boleyn Inheritance. It is a little different from her past work – the story is in first person, but it is broken down into sections, so that the reader alternates between three women: Jane Boleyn (married to Anne’s infamous brother), Anne of Cleves (Henry’s 4th wife), and Katherine Howard (Henry’s 5th wife). So far, I am enjoying the rotation of the characters’ voices – and seeing the story unfold like a patchwork quilt. Gregory is doing a nice job making each woman distinct from each other, and establishing their personalities from the very first paragraph.

The nature of Gregory’s historical fiction is inherently ripe with dramatic irony – it will be interesting to see how she uses this to her advantage.

The only thing I have found disturbing so far is the way her current depictions of Anne of Cleves and Jane Boleyn contradict the picture that characters in her previous novels have painted of them. I suppose the difference can be attributed to the fact that before – we met these women through the eyes of others (people who, for the most part, disliked them) and now, we are seeing them through their own eyes.  It’s always interesting to compare the way you view yourself, and how others view you. Interesting, and a little scary!

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