I tried to read this book several years ago (published 2009) but couldn’t get focused on it. That was back when I was still a frantic working mom. Oh times have changed.
I am much calmer and have a lot more free time, and on my second try I became engrossed in the Wolf Hall story. This novel has been showered with awards, and is fascinating in its complexity and historical detail.
The book covers the early 1500’s in England, during the reign of King Henry the VIII and follows Thomas Cromwell’s rise to power within King Henry’s court.
This is the first of a trilogy about Cromwell’s life, a man who was close to every major historical event in England during this period. He influenced Kings and Lords, had his hand in the Catholic Church and eventually the Church of England.
Though filled with historical facts and people, the book is a re-imagined story built from historical records. My love of Ken Follett’s work of this same era is because of Follett’s ability to bring the reader so intimately into the lives of the lowly working class people of the time. Mantel does the same, but shows us the inner workings and confidences of the ruling class and aristocracy. From the King on down through the court Mantel careful makes these historical figures familiar to us.
I’m looking forward now to tackling the next two books very soon. I loved Mantel’s writing, her beautiful descriptive prose precisely put the reader in the moment. Her talent for words in itself is beguiling. She is a faithful, veracious author.
*****Five Stars for Wolf Hall by Hilary Mantel.
My current read The Magic Circle
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