Friday, January 22, 2016

Review: Wolf Hall (Thomas Cromwell #1)

Wolf Hall Wolf Hall by Hilary Mantel
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

Divorced, Beheaded, Died. Divorced, Beheaded, Survived. Thus went the wives of Henry VIII. Join me on a journey of Court intrigue with Thomas Cromwell as he works his way to chief minister to the King. Twisted relationships, archaic gender roles, and general historical treachery is headed your way. Hang on to your hats, because it's going to be a long, wild ride.

I enjoyed the history and the different perspective into Thomas Cromwell. The writing was strong, however I had to subtract a star because this book was not made for audio. I kept finding myself pausing to think, "Which Thomas is this? Cromwell, Wolsey, More? Or possibly Howard or Boleyn? Are we talking about King Henry or Henry Percy?" And don't get me started on Mary and Anne. I realize it's history and yes, everyone was named Thomas, Henry, Anne and Mary, but it made the audio experience especially hard to keep straight.

It was interesting to look at the decisions made because of the deeply entrenched patriarchal society. Would Henry have remained with Catherine in a different time? Was his fickleness driven by his need to retain a legitimate male heir, religion, or mere vanity? Would Henry have been a different ruler in a different time? The world will never know, but it's fun to speculate. Read this, then watch the excellent Wolf Hall on PBS. I enjoyed them both.

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