The Boleyn Inheritance

The Boleyn Inheritance

by Philippa Gregory


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From “the queen of royal fiction” (USA TODAY) comes this New York Times bestseller featuring three very different women whose fates are each bound by a bloody curse: the legacy of the Boleyn family.

After the death of his third wife, Jane Seymour, King Henry VIII of England decides to take a new wife, but this time, not for love. The Boleyn Inheritance follows three women whose lives are forever changed because of the king’s decision, as they must balance precariously in an already shaky Tudor Court.

Anne of Cleves is to be married to Henry to form a political alliance, though the rocky relationship she has to the king does not bode well for her or for England.

Katherine Howard is the young, beautiful woman who captures Henry’s eye, even though he is set to marry Anne. Her spirit runs free and her passions run hot—though her affections may not be returned upon the King.

Jane Rochford was married to George Boleyn, and it was her testimony that sent her husband and infamous sister-in-law Anne to their deaths. Throughout the country, her name is known for malice, jealousy, and twisted lust.

The Boleyn Inheritance is a novel drawn tight as a lute string about three women whose positions brought them wealth, admirations, and power, as well as deceit, betrayal, and terror.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780743272513
Publisher: Washington Square Press
Publication date: 08/07/2007
Series: Plantagenet and Tudor Series
Edition description: Reprint
Pages: 544
Sales rank: 62,503
Product dimensions: 5.10(w) x 7.90(h) x 1.20(d)

About the Author

Philippa Gregory is the author of many New York Times bestselling novels, including The Other Boleyn Girl, and is a recognized authority on women’s history. Many of her works have been adapted for the screen including The Other Boleyn Girl. Her most recent novel, The Last Tudor, is now in production for a television series. She graduated from the University of Sussex and received a PhD from the University of Edinburgh, where she is a Regent. She holds honorary degrees from Teesside University and the University of Sussex. She is a fellow of the Universities of Sussex and Cardiff and was awarded the 2016 Harrogate Festival Award for Contribution to Historical Fiction. She is an honorary research fellow at Birkbeck, University of London. She founded Gardens for the Gambia, a charity to dig wells in poor rural schools in The Gambia, and has provided nearly 200 wells. She welcomes visitors to her website


Yorkshire, England

Date of Birth:

January 9, 1954

Place of Birth:

Nairobi, Kenya, East Africa


B.A. in history, Sussex University, 1982; Ph.D., 18th-century popular fiction, Edinburgh, 1984

Read an Excerpt

The Boleyn Inheritance

By Philippa Gregory


Copyright © 2007 Philippa Gregory
All right reserved.

ISBN: 9780743272513

Jane Boleyn, Blickling Hall, Norfolk,

July 1539

It is hot today, the wind blows over the flat fields and marshes with the stink of the plague. In weather like this, if my husband were still with me, we would not be trapped in one place, watching a leaden dawn and a sunset of dull red; we would be traveling with the king's court, on progress through the weald and downland of Hampshire and Sussex, the richest and most beautiful countryside in all of England, riding high on the hilly roads and looking out for the first sight of the sea. We would be out hunting every morning, dining under the thick canopy of the trees at midday and dancing in the great hall of some country house at night in the yellow light of flickering torches. We were friends with the greatest families in the land, we were the favorites of the king, kin to the queen. We were beloved; we were the Boleyns, the most beautiful, sophisticated family at the court. Nobody knew George without desiring him, nobody could resist Anne, everyone courted me as a passport to their attention. George was dazzling -- dark-haired, dark-eyed, and handsome -- always mounted on the finest horses, always at the side of the queen. Anne was at the peak of her beauty and her wits, as alluring as dark honey. And I went everywhere with them.

The two of them used to ride together, racing, neck and neck like lovers, and I could hear their laughterover the thudding of the hooves as they went flying by. Sometimes, when I saw them together, so rich, so young, so beautiful, I couldn't tell which of them I loved more.

All the court was besotted with the two of them, those dark Boleyn flirtatious looks, their high living: such gamblers, such lovers of risk; both so fervent for their reform of the church, so quick and clever in argument, so daring in their reading and thoughts. From the king to the kitchen maid there was not one person who was not dazzled by the pair of them. Even now, three years on, I cannot believe that we will never see them again. Surely, a couple so young, so radiant with life, cannot simply die? In my mind, in my heart, they are still riding out together, still young, still beautiful. And why would I not passionately long for this to be true? It has been only three years since I last saw them; three years, two months, and nine days since his careless fingers brushed against mine, and he smiled and said, "Good day, wife, I must go, I have everything to do today," and it was a May Day morning and we were preparing for the tournament. I knew he and his sister were in trouble, but I did not know how much.

Every day in this new life of mine I walk to the crossroads in the village, where there is a dirty milestone to the London road. Picked out in mud and lichen, the carving says "London, 120 miles." It is such a long way, such a long way away. Every day I bend down and touch it, like a talisman, and then I turn back again to my father's house, which is now so small to me, who has lived in the king's greatest palaces. I live on my brother's charity, on the goodwill of his wife who cares nothing for me, on a pension from Thomas Cromwell, the upstart moneylender, who is the king's new great friend. I am a poor neighbor living in the shadow of the great house that was once my own, a Boleyn house, one of our many houses. I live quietly, cheaply, like a widow with no house of my own whom no man wants.

And this is because I am a widow with no house of my own whom no man wants. A woman of nearly thirty years old, with a face scored by disappointment, mother to an absent son, a widow without prospect of remarriage, the sole survivor of an unlucky family, heiress to scandal.

My dream is that one day this luck will change. I will see a messenger in Howard livery riding down this very road, bringing a letter for me, a letter from the Duke of Norfolk, to summon me back to court, to tell me that there is work for me to do again: a queen to serve, secrets to whisper, plots to hatch, the unending double-dealing life of a courtier, at which he is so expert, and I am his greatest pupil. My dream is that the world will change again, swing topsy-turvy until we are uppermost once more, and I am restored. I saved the duke once, when we were in the worst danger, and in return he saved me. Our great sorrow was that we could not save the two of them, the two who now ride and laugh and dance only in my dreams. I touch the milestone once more, and imagine that tomorrow the messenger will come. He will hold out a paper, sealed with the Howard crest deep and shiny in the red wax. "A message for Jane Boleyn, the Viscountess Rochford?" he will ask, looking at my plain kirtle and the dust on the hem of my gown, my hand stained with dirt from the London milestone.

"I will take it," I shall say. "I am her. I have been waiting forever." And I shall take it in my dirty hand: my inheritance.

Copyright © 2006 by Philippa Gregory Limited


Excerpted from The Boleyn Inheritance by Philippa Gregory Copyright © 2007 by Philippa Gregory. Excerpted by permission.
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Reading Group Guide

Reading Group Guide
The Boleyn Inheritance
Philippa Gregory

We are players in this game, but we do not choose our own moves. The men will play us for their own desires. All we can do is try to survive whatever happens next...
In Tudor England, three women are determined to escape their circumstances and start anew in the court of King Henry VIII.
There is Jane Boleyn, who longs once again for the world of courtiers and royal intrigue even though the last scandal in which she became entangled resulted in the deaths of her husband and her sister-in-law, Queen Anne. There is fourteen-year-old Katherine Howard, who has her cousin Anne Boleyn's beauty and precociousness. When she catches the king's eye she sets in motion a dreadful political plot she is too young to understand. And there is Anne of Cleves, a duchess from a far-away country who cannot even speak the language in her new homeland. Desperate to flee her abusive mother and brother, she is willing to marry Henry and sit on England's throne under the shadow of its last three queens.
A vengeful and unpredictable king, Henry descends deeper and deeper into madness. The peril runs deep, especially for these three women, recalling the terrified days leading up to the death of Anne Boleyn five years earlier. To be a favorite of the king comes at a risk. Will one of these three women inherit the fate of the former queen and pay with her life?

Questions for Discussion
1. What reasons do Jane Boleyn, Katherine Howard, and Anne of Cleves each have for seeking a place in Henry VIII's court? Do any of them believe it might be dangerous to be a part of the royal circle, or is it a risk they're willing to take? Does your opinion of each woman change over the course of the novel?
2. Why does Anne of Cleves believe it is a matter of need for her to escape the house of her brother and mother? How does the advice Anne's mother gives her-to be demure, to wear chaste clothing-actually work against Anne in her relationship with Henry?
3. When Anne arrives in England, the courtiers "judge her harshly for her shyness and her lack of speech. They blame her for her clothes and they laugh at her for not being able to dance or sing" (75). Why do the members of the court refuse to give Anne a chance? How significant are the language and cultural barriers that hinder Anne when she first comes to England?
4. Compare the way the court initially treats Anne to how they treat her during the Christmas festivities at Hampton Court after the dissolution of her marriage to Henry. In what ways has she re-made herself? What is the single greatest factor in Anne's transformation?
5. Discuss the encounter in which the king comes to Anne of Cleves in disguise, and she rejects his advances. Why does this incident have such an impact on Henry's mental state? How is this incident a turning point for both Anne and for Katherine?
6. Does Jane realize the implications of having given evidence against her husband, George, and sister-in-law, Anne Boleyn? Did she do it to save George and Anne, or did she do it out of spite and jealousy? Why is Jane so eager to return to Henry's court given what happened the last time she was there?
7. Jane is reluctant to give false evidence against Anne of Cleves, as she's ordered to do by the Duke of Norfolk. Why then does she go ahead with it? Does Katherine Howard, who has a friendly relationship with Anne, feel any remorse about usurping Anne's place as queen? Why or why not?
8. What are Henry's motivations for setting Anne of Cleves aside? Is his decision not to have her executed a political one or a personal one?
9. Why does Anne prefer to remain in England rather than return to Cleves? Ultimately, is she satisfied with her life as a single woman?
10. How does the Duke of Norfolk use Jane and Katherine to further his own political advancement? Is Jane a willing participant or more of a pawn in the duke's schemes? How much responsibility does Katherine, who is fourteen years old when she first goes to Henry's court, bear for her actions?
11. When Jane is locked in the Tower awaiting sentencing, she decides to act crazy in order to avoid the executioner's block. Is Jane truly mad or merely a good actress?
12. The Duke of Norfolk tells Jane that she is "a byword for malice, jealousy and twisted love" and that she is "an evil woman" (457). What empathy, if any, do you feel for Jane? Does Jane possess any positive traits? If so, what are they?
13. In what ways does the memory of Anne Boleyn haunt Jane, Anne, and Katherine? What is each woman's "Boleyn inheritance"?
14. Did reading The Boleyn Inheritance give you an understanding of the inner workings of a 16th-century royal court? How so? Discuss the social and political realities of the time-particularly the roles of women-as they apply to the circumstances of Jane, Anne, and Katherine.
15. Have you read Philippa Gregory's The Other Boleyn Girl, The Queen's Fool, The Virgin's Lover, and The Constant Princess, all of which deal with Tudor-era figures? If so, how did The Boleyn Inheritance compare to these novels?

Book Club Tips
Along with The Boleyn Inheritance, read and discuss The Other Boleyn Girl, Philippa Gregory's novel about the rise and fall of Anne Boleyn as seen through the eyes of her sister, Mary.
Learn more about the Tudor monarchs (and see portraits of Henry VIII's six wives) at
Set the scene by serving traditional English tea and pastries. A variety of teas is available at, along with Norfolk Manor biscuits, Currant Scone Mix, English Clotted Cream, and other delicacies. You'll also find a selection of English Tea Party Recipes at
Visit Philippa Gregory's website,, to learn more about the author, view a Tudor family tree, and read background information on The Boleyn Inheritance.

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The Boleyn Inheritance 4.2 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 548 reviews.
just-a-thot More than 1 year ago
The 2 least known wives of the fat, old, slovenly, smelly, constipated, and unable to perform Henry VIII. What a ghastly picture of him. This book was fabulous. Doubt if you see this on "Tudors", but indeed this is a part of English History you may not have heard of, at least I didn't. Ms. Gregory is exceptional in taking you to the many castle of the King, and especially the "Tower". This is a must for anyone interested in Tudor history. The author has set up the book so that each chapter is narrated by a different woman, and tied in to each other brilliantly. Hold onto your head!
HasadaAmin More than 1 year ago
I couldn't put this book down. The Boleyn Inheritance follows three very different women, two wives of Henry VIII and the widow of George Boleyn, Anne Boleyn's brother who was executed for incest and treason-on the evidence given by his own wife. Anne of Cleves is the plain but honest, brave, and kind hearted wife brought in to marry Henry on recommendation of Secretary Cromwell. She is a Lutheran and Cromwell hopes to encourage Henry further towards Protestantism. But after their disasterous meeting at Rochester, where the old and vain king foolishly presented himself in the unflattering guise of an ordinary man and was repulsed by Anne, the marriage was doomed. Henry, pride wounded, determines to hate Anne no matter what she does to please him. He then falls in lust with Anne's maid Katherine Howard, who was brought to court by none other than the nefarious schemer the Duke of Norfolk, Anne Boleyn's wicked uncle. Katherine-Anne Boleyn's cousin-is silly, beautiful, and with a vanity that rivals Henry's own but none of his shrewd intellegence. She is a pawn used by Norfolk, who seizes on the King's hatred of Anne of Cleves and pushes Katherine forward in hopes to play the Queenmaker once more. But a girl of fourteen will fall in love, and as Gregory tells us, "Never with a husband of forty-nine." With the King losing his vigor, the Duke of Norfolk next pushes the naive Katherine into the arms of a groom of the chamber, setting her on a dangerous path. Norfolk's other pawn in this is Jane Rochford, George Boleyn's widow and possible Gregory's most brilliantly created character. Historically, Jane Rochford is perhaps one of Europe's most despised women. Her name is "a byword for jealous and twisted lust", and Gregory depicts Jane's mental decline with skill, intriguing and horrifying the reader at once. Those who do not know Lady Rochford will meet her and think she is no more than a grieving young widow trying to make her way back into the world. But slowly, Jane's protestations of love for her husband and sister-in-law give way to excuses, and finally when pressed, the truth of what Jane did to George and Anne Boleyn-and why-comes to light. The Duke of Norfolk skillfully manipulates a deteriorating Jane into doing his dirty work with Katherine Howard, and so when yet another of Henry's Queens falls into peril, his hands are clean. Many will think that Jane gets just what she deserves! Philippa Gregory handles the difficult task of writing a credible and gripping novel using three seperate narrators: Jane, Anne, and Katherine. Three distinct personalities are shown, and Gregory develops each masterfully. Gregory's portrayal of Henry VIII is less than flattering, and in some cases downright disgusting. All in all, The Boleyn Inheritance is bold, brilliant, like a gossipy friend who you cannot get enough of. I highly recommend this book.
Alle_Berry More than 1 year ago
The Boleyn Inheritance is the second I've read of Gregory's works, after The Other Boleyn Girl. For years, I have hesitated to read any of the 'historical fiction' novels written by Gregory and other authors like her (Anne Easter Smith, Vanora Bennett, Alison Weir, etc), but I sure am kicking myself now for waiting so long to give them a chance! Gregory's writing style is effortless and addicting, and she does a fantastic job creating unique and interesting characters. This book, like most of her others, is written from the point of view of three different characters. Gregory does a great job varying her writing so that you can easily tell which character's point of view you are experiencing, even without reading the chapter title that tells which character is narrating. I appreciate that the chapters are relatively short, because it makes it so much easier to fit reading into my busy lifestyle. Overall, I very much enjoyed The Boleyn Inheritance, and I am looking forward to reading many more by this author!
Jessi88 More than 1 year ago
This book was told from the point of view of three different characters. Anne of Cleves, Jane Boleyn, and Katherine Howard. Two of these women become wives to King Henry VIII. I really enjoyed reading from the different perspectives in this book because it allows you to better understand the bigger picture of what was going on, the scandal, and the intimacy of the plot as well. One character alone could not have brought so much depth to this story. I thought Philippa Gregory did a wonderful job yet again!
AnnieBM More than 1 year ago
This gripping novel is told from the perspective of three historical figures, Jane Boleyn, Anne of Cleves, and Katherine Howard. Gregory interweaves their stories as short pieces almost as though they had written diaries, portraying the roles and expectations of, as well as the injustices to, women. Each of these women were caught up in the court and the peculiarities of King Henry and their lives flow ever faster towards their conclusion.
CatholicKittie More than 1 year ago
After reading that on the back how could I not be intrigued. The story is from three points of view: Anne of Cleves, Jane Boleyn Rochford and The young Kitty Howard. It's set after the executions of Anne and George Boleyn. Now I find historical fiction fascinating and this was no different. We all know the story of Henry the 8ths tyranny but Gregory writes it with a refreshing flare. Anne of Cleve's marriage to Henry was a disaster from their tragic first meeting. She humiliated him so from there he makes her life a living hell. And we all know that whom Henry doesn't like have a way of losing their heads. EEKS! Poor girl not only does she have to deal with the rumors of her unappealing smell, ugly homeliness, her husband's oozy wound and her husband's wandering eye and peen...Ahem! Little Miss not so virginal Kitty Howard. She has to worry about the "off with her head!" factor. Okay wrong historical figure but you get the idea. This book was pure courtly Gold! It spans from July 1539 through January 1547. The reign of Anne and Kitty. As well as the much deserved fall of Jane wanna-be Boleyn Rochford.
saescape More than 1 year ago
I was just excited to read each page and to learn what was going to happen next. Learned things I never knew or imagined about that time in our history.
DebbieInFL More than 1 year ago
Another great Royal Historical Fiction novel by Philippa Gregory! What a great book. Hooks you into the story immediately and makes you feel like to know each of these women personally. What a horrible life it must have been to be chosen as one of Henry’s wives. Why anyone would have wanted to be after he divorced Katherine and had Anne beheaded is beyond me. Not to mention what a fat, disgusting, stinky man he had become. But I guess even if you didn’t want to do it, if you were chosen by him, you had no choice. And I have to say all of this makes for a great story. Trust me – you won’t be able to put it down.
michdubb on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
Follows on from The Other Boleyn Girl. Not quite as good as the others in the series but still enjoyable. It's similar to The Other Queen in that the narrator changes from chapter to chapter. Gregory is able to switch between these different voices effectively and believably.
Kaydence on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
Pub. Date: December 2006 * Publisher: Simon & Schuster Adult Publishing * Sold by: Simon & Schuster Digital Sales * Format: eBook, 528pp * Sales Rank: 4,580 * Series: Philippa Gregory Tudor Series, #3 * Product Browse duration in Minutes: 60 * File Size: 603 KB * ISBN-13: 9780743298544 * ISBN: 0743298543The Boleyn Inheritance is told from three points of view: Jane Boleyn (wife to the deceased Thomas), Anne of Cleaves (Henry¿s fourth wife), and Katherine Howard (Henry¿s fifth wife). Jane is the expert maid in waiting. She is called upon by the Duke of Norfolk to keep an eye on the new queen and report back to him anything that she does. Jane owes her life to the Duke, and so she is in his pocket to survive. Jane poses as a friend to the new queen Anne and attempts to be in her confidence as the story continues. However, Jane begins to like the queen and when plots against her begin to crop up, she has doubts whether she can put another queen to death as she did to her sister-in-law Anne Boleyn. The thoughts of Anne Boleyn and her husband Thomas haunt her throughout the book. Jane poses as the wise older woman who has been through quite a lot, but her transformation towards the end shows that she still has a lot to learn.Anne of Cleaves is considered an unreformed woman by her family, but she is chosen to become the new queen of England because an alliance between England and Cleaves would be helpful. She does not speak a word of English, but as she moves into her new life, she learns quickly. Because of her troubles at home, she has no idea how to please the king in bed. This leaves their marriage unconsummated. Henry also detests her after a mix-up in one of his games. Although she is a pure and strong girl, she often finds herself bending to the will of the men that she finds in charge of her. When she is dethroned, she becomes a sister to the king and finds herself much happier in the countryside. She loves England, but counts herself lucky to be one of the few that survives King Henry¿s marriage.Lastly, Katherine Howard is a young, flirty girl. Her beauty catches the king¿s eye and he courts her while he is married to Anne and Katherine is a maid in waiting. Katherine¿s uncle, the Duke of Norfolk, wants to see the king and Katherine wed. He schemes and encourages the flirtations until it actually happens. Katherine is a flighty little girl and only measures things in what materials she receives. She often begins her narration with a list of what she owns. This is probably because she is only around fifteen when she marries the king. She attempts to please him in bed, but it is difficult work when he is so old, fat, and wounded. Finally, with the help of Jane, she takes on a lover. Then, as with Anne Boleyn, all hell breaks loose and the king attempts to kill everyone.I know that I keep saying this, but I have been on a historical fiction kick. I really enjoyed The Other Boleyn Girl (book only, movie was terrible), so I decided that I would continue with this series. As time moves on, I am hoping to go through each one. Gregory has a way with characters. It¿s like you get to see into their souls and travel inside their heads with them. Anne of Cleaves was by far my favorite character in this story, but all three women were beautifully illustrated. As I was reading, I could feel my moods shift with the difference in narration. Katherine was always bubbly and it made me want to read her parts faster as if I was speaking them like a young girl would in a quicker, happier tone. The plot is predictable, but that shouldn¿t surprise anyone. It is nothing new what happened within King Henry¿s court. Her books are much more interesting than anything else that I have read about him though. I¿m sure that she has taken liberties with parts of history to make her tales more enchanting and personable, but I would recommend it to people who want a glimpse of what he was
JanaRose1 on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
Returning to the court of Henry VIII, this book is the story of three women, Henry VIII¿s fourth wife, Anne of Cleaves, Henry¿s fifth wife, Kitty Howard, and Jane Boleyn. Anne of Cleaves travels to England in order to marry Henry VIII. Expecting a dashing older gentleman, she is put off to discover her new husband is a large, putrid self-absorbed and indulgent man. When Henry VIII is unable to consummate his marriage his attention turns to young Kitty Howard, a flirtatious lady-in-waiting. Jane Boleyn, the sister-in-law of the late Anne Boleyn, coaches Kitty to become the next Queen of Englang. Wanting nothing more than riches, Kitty Howard plays to the King, as he decides to set aside Anne and marry Kitty instead. Unlike other Gregory novels, the characters appear a bit stereotypical. Kitty is a young flirtatious teenager, thinking of nothing more than riches. Anne of Cleaves only wishes to escape her brother and quickly adjusts to her new role as the King¿s ¿sister.¿ Jane Boleyn is a bit self-deluded and irrational. Overall, this book is not as good as Gregory¿s other novels, however, it is still worth a read.
picardyrose on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
Told from the points of view of Anne of Cleves (poor girl), Katherine Howard (stupid girl) and Jane Parker Boleyn (scary girl). Really enjoyable.
Journey2thepast on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
Great book! I liked this one better than The Other Boleyn Girl. Gregory does a great job of getting the reader into the minds of three lesser written about members of Henry VIII's court - his wives Anne of Cleves and Katherine Howard, as well as Jane Boleyn - the sister in law of Anne. I didn't realize Jane Boleyn had such a large role in all the court intrigue surrounding Henry and his wives. Great read!
amandacb on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
This work of Gregory's did not grip me as much as some of her other Tudor works, probably because I absolutely despise Jane Boleyn, and a large part of this novel is focused on her character/historical figure. If one can get past that, it is rather interesting and well-written, similar to [The Other Boleyn Girl] in nature.
LaBibliophille on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
No, I am not becoming a Philippa Gregory groupie. I had purchased The Boleyn Inheritance to read on vacation. Thanks to an hour and a half flight delay, I finished it ahead of schedule and needed another airplane book. Juan Santamaria Airport (San Jose, Costa Rica) had limited options. And paperbacks that normally cost $12-$14 were selling for $22-$24. So I went with a book that wouldn't be much of a gamble, and was in the less expensive range. Hence, The Other Queen.Both works of historical fiction follow the same format: a story unfolding from the viewpoint of three characters at the same time. The chapters are short which, in my opinion, makes a great vacation book. It does seem a bit disjointed at times, though. And also tiresome given that the two books combined total over 1000 pages.The Boleyn Inheritance tells the story of Anne of Cleves and Katherine Howard, the fourth and fifth wives of Henry VIII. Also involved in their tale is Jane Rochford, the widow of Anne Boleyn's brother George. Jane serves as lady in waiting and confidante to both queens.The Other Queen begins 25 years after the end of The Boleyn Inheritance. Queen Elizabeth has been on the throne of England for ten years. She has imprisoned her rival for the throne of England, Mary Queen of Scots. This story is told by Mary, as well as her captors, George Talbot, Earl of Shrewsbury and his wife Bess of Hardwick.As with her other books, Philippa Gregory has done a tremendous amount of historical research. She paints a vivid picture of life among the nobility in sixteenth-century England. After reading a number of these books, I do understand English history a bit more. At least now I know the difference between the Tudors and the Stuarts and why they were rivals for the throne.I do recommend both of these books, but not one right after the other. And now I have to read the two books that cover the time span in between. My "must read" list keeps getting longer. I have three books on my nightstand, and another on reserve at the library. Well-I'd better get to it!
jcelrod on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
The follow-up to 'The Other Boleyn Girl.' Focuses on Jane (Parker) Boleyn, one of the side characters of the previous novel (although a very influential one), the wife of George Boleyn, and her influence on Henry VIII's doomed fifth wife, Katherine Howard. Although I didn't enjoy this one as much as 'The Other Boleyn Girl,' I did find this to be more poignant, especially with regards to Katherine.
miyurose on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
Loved this. I listened to it on audio, and this is one of those cases where the audio production really enhances the story. A different actress was used for each woman, and they all did a phenomenal job. You could hear Anne¿s hope, and then her fear. You could hear Katherine¿s greed and sly naivety. And the disdain that pours from Jane is palpable. I was familiar with Anne and Katherine¿s story, but not so much with Jane, and she was really the glue that holds this story together. She fancies herself her uncle¿s equal when it comes to navigating the politics of court, but realizes way too late that she is as much of a pawn as young Katherine was. Katherine isn¿t a particularly likeable girl, but it¿s hard not to feel sorry for her, since she didn¿t have the intelligence to realize what was happening to her. She really was just a child. My favorite here was Anne, who really shines by the story¿s end. Delivering the story through the points of view of only these ladies really sells it. This was my first Philippa Gregory, and it definitely won¿t be my last.
bratlaw on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
Because King Henry decides to form an alliance with the Kingdom of Cleves by marrying Princess Anne, This book is seen through the eyes of three of the women most effected by this alliance. Anne of Cleves, the Protestant princess that Henry marries; Katherine Howard, the English beauty that Henry falls for; and Jane Boleyn, the widow of George Boleyn, whose testimony sent her husband and her infamous sister-in-law, Anne Boleyn, Henry's second wife, to the execution block.
JeanneMarkert on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
Another...Bolyne book. OK but not greatDec 2009
SandSing7 on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
The three women who narrate the audiobook version of the text are spectacular, particularly the Catherine Howard character, whose voice reminds me of Lydia in the BBC movie version of Pride and Prejudice. Philippa Gregory continues to enchant me, and the ways and whiles of women in Tudor England continue to amaze.
HeathenMom on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
i liked this, though not as much as The Other Boleyn Girl. there were some really good passages about the madness of King Henry, and maybe a little more psycological insight to some of the characters. i can't wait to get to the Tudor period of England with my kids in school, the history plain rocks.
RavinElise on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
Philippa Gregory at her very finest! I loved how she wove the stories of three very different women into this novel, and how emotionally invested you felt in the story by the end. You may not like some of the character's, Jane Boleyn for example, but in the end you really feel something for her, and whether you like her or not there is an impact.
jeffersonsambrosia on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
Phillipa Gregory does it again with this novel. The Boleyn Inheritance is a striking tale of the least known wives of Henry the VIII, Anne of Cleves and Katherine Howard. We also meet Jane Boleyn known mostly in history only for her part in seeing her husband George and her sister-in-law Anne go to the scaffolding. We follow the tale from Cleves when Anne is being selected, right on up to the scaffolding and eventually the Kings death, and the whole book will hold you spell bound.I could hardly set this one down, and yet at parts I had to. It is so descriptive and so heart breaking you will cry for the way these women are terribly caught up in this court. Henry VIII truly was a mad man bent on his own whims, his own desires and no one ever dared tell him no, for if they did they could, and would end up dead. Watch as the body counts of those sent to the scaffold tally higher, for small crimes like simply loving a girl. And those who are the true masterminds of the plots get away from the axe man like a slippery snake in the grass.You will shake your head at how stupid and frivolous young Katherine is as a Queen. And yet you will feel utterly horrified for her in the end she was really only a child of 16 years who could not possibly know right from wrong when she only ever did was she was told. I believe in the end the only one I did not feel sorry for was Jane Boleyn, to me she made her own bed. Through pure jealousy, ambition and self preservation, in the end she got what was coming. Though preferably no one should have died because of the whims of a selfish King, who thought he was a god. If you haven¿t read this book yet, do. You will be emotionally grabbed and riveted to each and every page.
bachaney on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
Philippa Gregory's "The Boleyn Inheritance" picks up three years after the end of "The Other Boleyn Girl", Gregory's blockbuster novel about Anne Boleyn and her sister Mary. Many of the characters from the earlier novel make a return appearance here, but the story is told from a different perspective--with three narrators, Anne of Cleaves, Kitty Howard, and Jane Boleyn. These three narrators give a very different perspective on Henry VIII's court than is seen in the earlier novel, although all three women are subject to Henry's rapidly changing temper. The court is now one of fear instead of the golden court of the earlier novel, and everyone has to watch her back to keep from getting caught up in the Boleyn Inheritance. As first Anne, and then Kitty become Queen and then quickly fall, the treachery of the English court is explored with all of Gregory's usual detail and intrigue. Although I don't think this book was as good as "The Other Boleyn Girl" or "The Virgin's Lover" it is definitely a strong addition to Gregory's "Boleyn" series. The novel is a fast paced and easy read, and it keeps moving to keep the reader interested. I wished frequently that Gregory would have spent more time getting into the head of each of her characters--sometimes the chapters felt a little rushed. But overall I did feel like this was an enjoyable read that captured the spirit of the Tudor period and life at court. I would recommend this book to fans of the Tudor period or people who enjoyed Gregory's other works.
enemyanniemae on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
I listened to the audio version and it was quite a treat. The story is told from three distinct points of view and the narration is done by three excellent actresses (Davina Porter as Jane Boleyn, Lady Rochford; Bianca Amato is Anne of Cleves; and Katherine Howard is read by Charlotte Parry). I don't have to worry about spoilers because I am quite certain that we all know the particulars about how this story turns out. The book is broken up into sections, with each character relating events from her unique perspective. I love the way Gregory reminds us that Katherine Howard was no more than a teenager when she caught the eye of Henry VIII. Katherine is concerned about her gowns, flirting and having fun. Even after she is sentenced to death for treason, she believes that she will be forgiven and returned to court because she has apologized. Her young mind does not grasp the seriousness of her position. Anne of Cleves is steady and composed. She has become the first wife of the Tudor monarch to lose her title and keep her head. She remains cool and collected throughout, although she lives in constant fear of Henry's whims and his wrath. Lady Rochford is an opportunist, willing to use and be used so that she can be a part of the court while she fights the ghosts of her past. Hers is the most complicated story. The narrative of her willingness to spy for the Duke of Norfolk, her denial of the part she played in the deaths of her husband and his sister, Anne Boleyn, and her slide into madness all unfold with conviction. You can't help but get caught up in the drama that unfolds. I enjoyed this book.