Monday, October 18, 2010

Wolf Hall--Yes, Professor, I've Completed My Final Essay Question

Well, I swore by all that was holy on my other blog Aeracura--A Blossoming Life that I would finish Wolf Hall by Hilary Mantel.  And I have.  Please, no applause.  It was a journey full of falling asleep after reading two pages, wistfully staring at other books I desperately wanted to read, and  trying not to succumb to the cloud of gloom that looms over the Tudor period in history.  Good God, these people probably all would have taken anti-depressants and anti-anxiety pills along with being raging alcoholics if they had the technology in 1530.  Instead, it was hair shirts and torture in the Tower.  Not only did they have to be afraid of Henry the 8th, but watch their step with each other.  It was very much, "today you are the favorite."  Woe to the man who becomes too close to the King; the others will find a way to take you down, chop your head off, and take all your toys--ahem--I meant estates and stuff.  

And Anne Boleyn?  Well, I've always been fascinated by her.  Hilary Mantel does a great job looking at Anne through Thomas Cromwell's eyes.  First, he's wondering, "what's the big deal with her?  I just don't see it."  (I am not directly quoting; just an FYI).  But, as he draws closer into Henry's world, and with it, Anne's fascination, he begins to understand just what it is about Anne that makes her irresistible.  Oh, I would so love to meet Anne today!  I bet she would be a--word rhymes with witch--on wheels.  

This book is hard to follow if you have no clue about all the craziness that Henry's 7 year infatuation with Anne caused in England, and the world.  Religion was in an uproar, Queen Katharine and Princess Mary were shoved aside and treated horribly, and all because Henry wanted a son.  He had no clue what he created when Anne gave birth to Elizabeth.  I think he would have been very proud of her.  

So read Wolf Hall if you really really enjoy historical fiction that is accurate to the nth degree.  Stop and surf the internet for tidbits about characters in the book.  But by all means, make sure you read it with other people, so you can discuss.  I'm looking forward to discussing it in my book club tomorrow night.  I just hope I'm not the lone wolf--he he.  

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