The Other Boleyn Girl - historical thoughts

I finished this book whilst on holiday in July, and although I had taken it as a holiday read perhaps it deserves a little more respect. There's no doubt that Philippa Gregory is a prolific and popular author, but I was unsure if historical novels were her stock in trade, as they are for an author like Mary Renault.

It seems they are, but I found this did not detract from my enjoyment

Ms Gregory is a fine writer and does not write of history in an abstract or detached way, rather finding character and plots within the historical setting. This helps her to have a fantasy setting which helps the reader detach from modern reality with greater ease and paint a fantasy picture that at the same time carries some reality to it.

In this case I had not realised there to be a whole series around the Tudor period, so I had rather missed the specialisation of this author!

What she does very well is to focus in on a drama with in the larger history and enlarge on the characters one may not have expected to feature - so in this case apart form the obvious focus on the "other" Boleyn sister we have light shed upon the fact that the Boleyns had a brother, that the family was a "courtly dynasty" so to speak (in competition with the Spencer family), and the ancestral background of Eleanor of Aquitane is clearly shown.

Traditionally the Tudor period is painted as male dominated, but this book casts a great feminist insight to the roles women played in the drama and the odd combination of their power and powerlessness combined and contrasted.

A good holiday read that will lead me to read other of her works, though I think I shall leave the Tudor series and see what else might take my fancy.