Three Women Who Share One Fate: The Boleyn Inheritance
Anne of Cleves: She runs from her tiny country, her hateful mother, and her abusive brother to a throne whose last three occupants are dead. King Henry VIII, her new husband, instantly dislikes her. Without friends, family, or even an understanding of the language being spoken around her, she must literally save her neck in a court ruled by a deadly game of politics and the terror of an unpredictable and vengeful king. Her Boleyn Inheritance: accusations and false witnesses.
Katherine Howard: She catches the king's eye within moments of arriving at court, setting in motion the dreadful machine of politics, intrigue, and treason that she does not understand. She only knows that she is beautiful, that men desire her, that she is young and in love -- but not with the diseased old man who made her queen, beds her night after night, and killed her cousin Anne. Her Boleyn Inheritance: the threat of the axe.
Jane Rochford: She is the Boleyn girl whose testimony sent her husband and sister-in-law to their deaths. She is the trusted friend of two threatened queens, the perfectly loyal spy for her uncle, the Duke of Norfolk, and a canny survivor in the murderous court of a most dangerous king. Throughout Europe, her name is a byword for malice, jealousy, and twisted lust. Her Boleyn Inheritance: a fortune and a title, in exchange for her soul.
The Boleyn Inheritance is a novel drawn tight as a lute string about a court ruled by the gallows and three women whose positions brought them wealth, admiration, and power as well as deceit, betrayal, and terror. Once again, Philippa Gregory has brought a vanished world to life -- the whisper of a silk skirt on a stone stair, the yellow glow of candlelight illuminating a hastily written note, the murmurs of the crowd gathering on Tower Green below the newly built scaffold. In The Boleyn Inheritance Gregory is at her intelligent and page-turning best.
Author: Philippa Gregory
This was the first fictional novel I've ever read centered around the queens Anne of Cleves and Katherine Howard, and Lady Rochford. I actually enjoyed it, unlike The Other Boleyn Girl.
I found everything pretty believable - the way life at Henry VIII's court was portrayed in the early 1540's, long after Anne Boleyn. I enjoyed the way the author often tied in the 'legacy' of Anne. Overall, this was an enjoyable enough read, but I did have some problems with it - not on historical accuracy, but the way it was written.
I feel as though this story moved a bit too fast; Anne of Cleves arrives in England, Henry is disgusted by her, and after a few conversations with maid-in-waiting Kitty Howard, he declares that he is in 'love' with her. Just as soon as she became queen, Anne of Cleves and the king are divorced, and she is sent to live in the country. Honestly, I feel as though from the start, Jane had little to do with the story, and was just there for the author to make references to Anne Boleyn, who the book was titled after: The Boleyn Inheritance. And then, when Anne of Cleves is divorced and goes to live in the country, she has almost nothing to do with the story, and is quite meaningless to it.
The story continues to move to fast; in fact, right after Katherine Howard and Henry are married, in a flash, it's over: her adulterous rampages are discovered, the king won't see her, and it's off to the tower for little Kitty Howard, her lovers, and Jane Rochford. Also, I was surprised that this book did not include Katherine running in the Long Gallery to try and see the king before her arrest.
It's hard to say where the climax of this story is, or the resolution, and, again, I feel it went a bit too fast. Perhaps it's because not much is known about Kitty Howard and her reign as queen, other than that, like her cousin Anne, she was beheaded for adultery. While I was left wanting more from this book, I did find it enjoyable, and more accurate than The Other Boleyn Girl, and would recommend it to anyone that enjoys Tudor Era novels, and, of course, has some prior knowledge to 16th century Europe (or you'd be lost as to what is going on!).
3 stars/5 stars