Thursday, August 5, 2010

Wolf Hall

This book was a beast of epic proportions. I don't know if I can recommend this book to people who don't know much about the Tudors. It'll have you diving for facts and wondering who the main players are. Thankfully, the Tudors are one of my favorite royal families, so the fact diving was kept to a minimum. I also read it on my Kindle which was a Godsend when I wanted to highlight something. I'll share a couple of my favorite passages with you.
Unfortunately, since I did read this on my Kindle, I can't give you specific page numbers.

This quote is Thomas Cromwell (the main character) talking about Anne Boleyn, the King's new love interest. Just some quick background info.... Anne Boleyn became Henry VIII's second wife after his divorce from Katherine of Aragon. She was a liberal Catholic, meaning she leaned a bit more Protestant than most in a time when Catholicism was king. She was the mother of Elizabeth I. And, due to smear campaigns, it is said she had a sixth finger (never ever been proven). The author, Mantel, uses this rumor in such a great way in this book. Anne had developed these huge sleeves and hid her hands in them (hence the sixth finger rumor). Cromwell is referring to her habit of doing this in this quote:
"It is so much a habit with her that people say she has something to hide, a deformity; but he thinks she is a woman who doesn't like to show her hand."
Another favorite quote that doesn't require more info:
"Well,' Rafe says, 'let us run up and down Cheap: Thomas Cramner has a secret, we don't know what it is!'"
"Tell him to go north, or I will come where his is and tear him with my teeth!'
'May I substitute the word 'bite?'"

And the last quote that I really liked isn't really funny but just good. Cromwell is talking about Thomas More (the famous author of Utopia) and how he will use his connections on the Continent to make it seem like More is the victim in all the proceedings against him (it's extraordinarily complicated, and I can't give enough information here. A couple good sites to go to get more info would be or the Goodreads Tudor Group.)
"And sending it out of the kingdom to be printed. Depend upon it, in the eyes of Europe, we will be the fools and oppressors, and he will be the poor victim with the better turn of phrase."

I seriously cannot recommend this book enough. It won the Man Booker Award in 2009. Let me warn you, it's incredibly difficult to get into. Just bear in mind that most of the "he"'s in the book are Cromwell and it should be an easier read. Once I had figured this out, I couldn't put the book down! You can find it here, complete with other reviews!

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