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Bring up the Bodies
May 21, 2012
2:57 pm
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Claire
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Hi Neil,

I’m so sorry about your mother and I know exactly what you mean about things like that putting other things into perspective, but I don’t read Louise’s comments as telling people that they cannot enjoy the book, she is simply sharing her opinions. This is what this forum is about, sharing thoughts and opinions and nobody is right or wrong. I haven’t seen anyone fall out over this, just healthy debate.

Debunking the myths about Anne Boleyn

May 21, 2012
2:59 pm
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Janet
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As an aside, I just found there’s a new biography of Cromwell (not released yet) described as the ‘real story’ behind Wolf Hall. “Thomas Cromwell, Henry VIII’s Henchman”, by Patrick Coby. I’m going to have to find one of the other biographies first so that I have something to compare it with.Wink

May 21, 2012
3:09 pm
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Louise
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Thank you for defending me, Claire.
If I did come across as dictatorial then I certainly didn’t mean to. I am very passionate about the Boleyns and it hurts me when they are vilified. Sorry to Bella and Olga if either of you felt I went overboard. I’m not normally a bully, honest!

May 21, 2012
3:30 pm
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Claire
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I just don’t want there to be any misunderstandings. Historical fiction is such a tough subject because novelists should be able to use their creativity, but I think they also need to be aware that they’re writing about real people and to be respectful of that. I know I would be dead so wouldn’t know about it, but if someone made me out to be something I wasn’t in fiction 400 years form now then I’d be a little cross!

Debunking the myths about Anne Boleyn

May 21, 2012
5:57 pm
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Boleyn
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Neil I’m so sorry to hear about your mum. Cancer is a dreadful disease but unless your’ve been through or know someone whose gone through the hell called cancer it’s very difficult for those who not had this dreadful experience to understand how you are feeling right now.. My heart goes out to you, my stepfather died of Prostate Cancer and through it all he was brave right till the end. He had days when he got depressed and for some reason he always turned to me to talk too, about why he was sad etc.. I miss him terribly but he’s still with me in my heart.. As for your depression issue just remember Neil you are loved more than you know. I don’t know much about you but from what little I’ve read about you in your postings. I see a very intelligent, and funny guy, with a heart of gold, but at the same time is quite strict, but more from the point of view of being firm but fair, does that make sence.. Chin up my freind.

Semper Fidelis, quod sum quod

May 21, 2012
6:33 pm
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Olga
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Goodness Louise, you haven’t offended me, I’m enjoying the discussion. As a bookseller/collector/reader/junkie I am also deadly serious when it comes to encouraging people to write. Don’t give up hope.

Bill, thank you, I’ll look into that. I’ve seen it on the homepage but I thought it was more for the budding writer, which I am not Laugh

May 21, 2012
7:20 pm
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Louise
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Hello Olga,
Thanks for that.
I won’t give up. I keep meaning to but then I realise it’s a cop out!

May 21, 2012
9:22 pm
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Sharon
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Neil, I’m so sorry to hear about your Mom.

I just finished Bring Up The Bodies.
There was not one character in the book that I could empathize with. They were all horrible including Cromwell. Not for one minute would I have wanted to live in Mantel’s version of this Tudor court. Anne was a bitch. (she actually made me laugh a few times though.) Jane Seymour was stupid. Jane Boleyn was a jealous shrew. George was a young, affable fop. ( who cries at his trial? Geez!) Thomas Boleyn was too french. Henry was hateful and mewling. (Spot on.) Cromwell was totally out for revenge. Norfolk was a really nasty piece of work. Suffolk was a big dumb jerk.

In Wolf Hall, I actually enjoyed Mantel’s, Cromwell. But in this book, he wanted everybody dead for a persoanl reason. He was waiting all this time to have his revenge. When Henry decides he wants Jane as his wife, and his current wife obliterated from history, Cromwell sees his chance to bring down Anne and the men who he blames for Wolsey’s fall. He is very upset that these men were in a play that made fun of the Cardinal.

As a work of fiction, it will sell. I just hope you guys are right and after people read this book, they will search for the truth. I try to set what I know aside when I read fiction, but with books written by historians, I have a hard time doing that. I expect better from them. I expect an historian to tell a story that is actually based on the known history. I don’t expect them to write the stereotypical story. I expect too much apparently, because the historians are usually the ones who disappoint me the most. I think my expectations might be a little too high.

Louise, the breathing thing didn’t work for me too much either.

May 21, 2012
9:29 pm
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Janet
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I think I had better stop reading this thread until after I’ve read the book.Wink

May 22, 2012
1:50 am
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Bella44
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Louise, you haven’t offended me in the slightest so please don’t feel you have to apologize! I love your passionate defense of the Boleyns and actually agree with you 100%! I just think that historical fiction is an altogether different kettle of fish, though I’m never exactly sure what I expect from it. Do I want a straight retelling of the facts or do I want a leap of the imagination on the authors part that really pulls me into the story? What I like about Hilary Mantel is that, for me at least, she really sucks me into the Tudor court – the sights, the smells, and the way of thinking (on Cromwells part) that gives a different perspective from my own beliefs.
I didn’t go into ‘Bring Up the Bodies’ expecting that I would empathize with Anne or the Boleyns; in ‘Wolf Hall’ Anne as a character was one I found rather awful and grating and she didn’t change in the sequel. But it does make me wonder if that’s how people of her own time found her. Anne had very few supporters and was disliked by a lot of people, that’s a fact. I believe she was a woman who was ahead of her time and had attributes that earned her scorn and hatred in the 16th century, whereas if she were alive now she’d fit right in! The fact that she was so vilified in her own time is is one of the things that I find so endearing about her. She wasn’t the usual submissive woman of the time and I think that Hilary Mantel, choosing to view her through the eyes of a 16th century man got the thinking and the prejudices and the misogyny of the time pretty much spot-on. What Mantel as a novelist does so well is she really knows how to get inside someones head.

Claire, I think an article on the differences between ‘Bring Up the Bodies’ and fact a la TOBG is a great idea! I read an article recently (can’t remember where, sorry) that said it used to be mandatory for historical novelists to have to put in a bibliography of all there sources, and state explicitly where and why they deviated from established fact. Apparently editors did away with this because they decided that people who read historical novels wouldn’t want to be bothered by a bibliography! Maybe all historical novelists should have to do that now…. Wink

Neil, I am so sorry to hear about your mum. I really feel for you, my mum and my stepdad both died from cancer and I’ve had bouts of depression (still do, actually) and I know how hideous it can be. But try to stay strong and come back and visit us often – always enjoy reading your defenses of people who read historical fiction for an enjoyable story Laugh Laugh Laugh

May 22, 2012
2:33 am
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Anyanka
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Janet said

I think I had better stop reading this thread until after I’ve read the book.Wink

me too….I’ll have to wait until it either hits the library or is out in paperback…

It's always bunnies.

May 22, 2012
12:11 pm
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Bill1978
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As I said I have no interest in actually reading Mantel’s book. As sad as it is too admit, she is too highbrow in her writing for me. LOL. While I fully expected an anti-Boleyn viewpoint in the boks writing (cause really there is no other way to tell Cromwell’s story) I am disappointed to read that she took the lazy approach of just regurgiatating the whole Anne is just mean angle that PG trotted out in TOBG and what history has her recored as. I was hoping that an esteemed author of her alibre would be able to present Cromwell and co as making everything up but based on historical records as demonstrated in out What If threads for the men involved. For her to make up the Wolsey story was disappointing to read when she has a more intirguing real sotry of Cromwell’s petty disgust for the men. And why make George cry at his trial when history says that even his destractors praised his composure – sounds like Mantel was inspired by TOBG movie in George’s presentation. So it is disappointing that in the book there seems to be no redeeming features of the accused people and it sounds like readers will think they got what they deserved. At least TOBG by the end made me hope for a final repreive for Anne.

May 22, 2012
12:42 pm
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Boleyn
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This book sound very interesting.. I’m going to have to put it on my read list..

Semper Fidelis, quod sum quod

May 27, 2012
10:05 am
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Gellygret
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I haven’t read it yet, but its on my radar, however I do know a number of people who have loved it.

Bella44 said

Oh dear, am I the only one who liked this book? Embarassed
Hilary Mantel really makes the Tudor court come alive, I adore her writing style and the fact that she’s picked Cromwell as the narrator, a bold move on her part I think. This book was never going to be an easy read and was never going to show the Boleyns in a saintly light. I don’t agree with all of Mantels portrayals of characters, particularly Anne and George but in the context of this FICTIONAL STORY they make perfect sense. Yet it’s refreshing to read about a harsher view of Anne’s character, one that’s not afraid to paint her in a less than perfect light and one that really made me think. I don’t think Mantel paints her as guilty, yet leaves just enough wiggle room to make the other characters wonder. It was a breathless read that expertly captures the fear, paranoia and confusion of the early months of 1536.

June 15, 2012
12:03 pm
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Louise
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I’ve just read a review of this book which points to a section in which Lady Rochford tells Cromwell that her husband would f**k a terrier bitch if it wagged it’s tail at him. Cromwell then says that whenever he looks at George he cannot get out of his mind the image of him f***king a ratting dog. Nice! The reviewer goes on to say that this may well be history’s last word on George Boleyn. No it bloody well won’t!!

June 15, 2012
1:22 pm
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Bill1978
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Louise – Death’s Not An Option – People believing thinking George is like the Gregory version OR people believing George is like the Mantel’s version

June 15, 2012
1:49 pm
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Louise
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Bill1978 said

Louise – Death’s Not An Option – People believing thinking George is like the Gregory version OR people believing George is like the Mantel’s version

Ha!! Don’t worry, Bill. I’m not actually envisaging or contemplating murder.

June 15, 2012
6:36 pm
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Debbie Sue
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After reading these discussions, I need to reread this book. I must have slept through half of it.

June 15, 2012
6:55 pm
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Sharon
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Where does this reviewer live. If you want, we can pay him a visit, Louise!
Hi Debbie Sue and welcome to the ABFiles. Some of us did not find this book as amazing as others did.

June 15, 2012
7:29 pm
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Louise
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Hello Sharon,
To be fair I don’t think the reviewer was saying it was a good thing. He or she was saying this may be history’s final word on George Boleyn, but they weren’t condoning it ( if so I would love to pay them a visit with you: they wouldn’t stand a chance)! My concern was that they thought this book may be the final nail in his coffin. Maybe, but not while I’m breathing. Thanks as always. x

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