Bring Up the Bodies – Hilary Mantel

As I enjoyed reading Wolf Hall, I was keen to read the sequel.

Here is the blurb …

Though he battled for seven years to marry her, Henry is disenchanted with Anne Boleyn. She has failed to give him a son and her sharp intelligence and audacious will alienate his old friends and the noble families of England. When the discarded Katherine dies in exile from the court, Anne stands starkly exposed, the focus of gossip and malice.

At a word from Henry, Thomas Cromwell is ready to bring her down. Over three terrifying weeks, Anne is ensnared in a web of conspiracy, while the demure Jane Seymour stands waiting her turn for the poisoned wedding ring. But Anne and her powerful family will not yield without a ferocious struggle. Hilary Mantel’s Bring Up the Bodies follows the dramatic trial of the queen and her suitors for adultery and treason. To defeat the Boleyns, Cromwell must ally with his natural enemies, the papist aristocracy. What price will he pay for Anne’s head?

In Wolf Hall I found Cromwell to be a sympathetic character and I wanted to like him in this one too, but the whole Anne Boleyn conspiracy was too much for me. I do like to like the main character. This novel is beautifully written and brings the past alive (the good and the bad – the whole Anne Boleyn saga was a legal travesty). Ms Mantel refers to Cromwell as he, but in this novel (unlike Wolf Hall) there was clarification if there was the chance of confusion between two he’s.

I think if you have read and enjoyed Wolf Hall, then this novel is a must, but I also think it could stand alone and anyone who enjoys lovely writing or historical fiction would enjoy it.

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