Wednesday, December 23, 2015

Mary Boleyn: In a Nutshell


Rating: 4 Stars


I really love these 'History in a Nutshell' books. When you read them, however, you always have to keep the series name in mind and thus rate, review and set your expectations accordingly. This was not meant to be an exhaustive history of the life of Mary Boleyn - there simply is not enough information available about her to write such a thing. But I feel like the author did a great job with the information we do have to work with.

I have always had a soft spot in my heart for Mary Boleyn, despite my intense dislike of her sister. I feel like she is treated quite unfairly in history as being the least ambitious of the siblings and it seems as though she is looked down on for the decisions she made - primarily because of her choice in marriage after her first husband died. Mary would get the last laugh of course, seeing as she is the only one who kept her head (though I doubt she was actually laughing, what a horrific thing to go through, whether they were estranged or not).

The problem, of course, is the very thing I mentioned above - there simply is not enough actual concrete information known about Mary to warrant a full text - though Alison Weir did try. I appreciate the author's use of many historical references and the great bibliography included. Not to mention I had no idea so many well-known people are descended from Mary. Last laugh, indeed.

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