Book Reviews

So many books (you know the rest)

Bring Up the Bodies
by Hilary Mantel
Published in 2012 (I finished it on December 15, 2015)

It’s the second half of the “Wolf Hall” series and a nice continuation of the first novel. If nothing else, the reader knows what style to expect from the author. It’s not a thriller by any means, but rather a slow observation into the life and times of Henry VIII and Anne Boleyn.

Well, the central focus is Thomas Cromwell and the journey into his mind. He’s almost always overshadowed by the other players in that era, but this book really examines his mindset and modus operandus. He knew how to get things done—and he could really hold a grudge.

“BUTB” centers around the Boleyn time period, as Katherine has been set aside. Later in the novel, Jane will enter the picture. Henry is difficult to please, to say the least, and Cromwell is tasked with the endless puzzling assignments.

Most interesting is the take on Anne. Was she framed completely, or were the affairs true? The novel doesn’t make a firm statement on that, allowing the reader to decide. More prudent readers will probably walk away saying, “We will simply never know for sure.” Hollywood vacillates on its opinion, shifting the mood from guilty as charged to completely framed. People forget that the only remaining evidence is what’s written on paper and forgeries are not a modern invention. And torture can get one to confess what’s true—and to confess what’s false.

Again, it’s not fast-paced. It’s a pleasant stroll down London’s past, but one filled with nice prose and descriptive imagery from the early sixteenth century.

I like it, though many perhaps won’t.