Friday, November 13, 2009

Wolf Hall by Hilary Mantel

Wolf Hall is an exceptional novel. Exceptional. That's the best word to describe it.

This historical fiction novel is about Henry VIII's 'Great Matter', the annulment of his marriage to Katherine of Aragon. However, it is not shown through the eyes of a king or queen or even a lady-in-waiting. It is shown through the eyes of Thomas Cromwell, who was the King's chief minister.

Cromwell is painted as the true anti-hero. A man with a rough beginning who rose himself from nothing.

The writing was a bit different to what I'm used to. About 100 words in I finally felt comfortable with it and started to really enjoy it. One thing that took getting used to was that Cromwell was always referenced as 'he' when he was speaking. Often times I would get mixed up over who was talking.

The writing was strong and descriptive. The fact that it was heavily researched is putting it lightly. I felt I was right there watching everything unfold. And the dialogue was true 16th century.

The Tudor era is not my favorite era, but I was pleasantly surprised with how immersed I became in the story. Recommended to anyone who is a fan of that era or just a fan of historical fiction.


I was given a copy of this book from the publisher. It in no way affected my opinion of the book. I received no compensation for this review.


Julie at Outlandish Dreaming said...

Christy, I'm listening to this on audio at the moment, very early on yet, but yes the "he" thing is a bit distracting. So far so good though, I love the Tudor era so I'm getting into it now, though the narrator makes Cromwell sound like such a thug and he's given Wolsey such a high voice, but at least it helps me keep the characters straight when they're speaking.