I’ve been wanting to write a book review for a while now and what better time to start than on World Book Day! I picked up Hilary Mantel’s Wolf Hall and Bring up the Bodies to coincide with the BBC series. I have to say that both had me hooked. The novels especially have left a lasting impression.
I came to both books with a fair bit of background knowledge of the Tudors (mainly thanks to Jonathan Rhys Meyers and Philippa Gregory novels). Everything that I’d watched or read before had been from a female perspective or had concentrated on the details of the romantic relationships of Henry and his court. I found it incredibly refreshing to read about Anne Boleyn’s rise and subsequent fall from the eyes of a man, namely Thomas Cromwell and his boys in training.
As with many others, I found the first section of Wolf Hall a real struggle and it took a long time for the story to really grip me. But once it had, I couldn’t put it down! Mantel’s characters are so sharp that you really feel as though you know what’s like to be in a room with Anne Boleyn. It’s been a week or so since I finished Bring up the Bodies (the easiest read of the two), and I haven’t been able to get Cromwell out of my head. I now have a lot of admiration for a man I’d previously heard very little about.
I’m eagerly awaiting the publication of the conclusion to the trilogy. In the meantime, I want to read more Mantel. Her memoir, Giving up the Ghost, is on my to-read list!