I’m plodding along with Philippa’s Gregory’s Tudor series. In The Boleyn Inheritance, the focus is on two of Henry VIII lesser known wives: Anne of Cleves and Katherine Howard. Neither were married to Henry for very long. Anne of Cleves was quickly set aside as she was not pleasing to the king. He quickly married the very young Katherine Howard (one of Queen Anne’s ladies in waiting), but her infidelity ended the marriage and her life.
As is Gregory’s style, she presents the narrative in the first person, trading chapters between Anne of Cleves, Katherine Howard, and Jane Boleyn, who is in charge of both Queen’s households. The trouble with having three narrators is the difficulty of giving them each a unique voice. Katherine “Kitty” Howard’s voice is the most clearly different, as she is a 15 year old, silly girl. But that also poses a problem, because 100% narrative means that the writing becomes very simplistic when all you hear is Katherine Howard’s voice. It really lacks the depth that a good work of historical fiction should have.
3 stars (out of 5)
Published in 2006