Customer Reviews for

Bring Up the Bodies

Average Rating 4
( 124 )
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5 Star

(54)

4 Star

(40)

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(19)

2 Star

(7)

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(4)

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Most Helpful Favorable Review

40 out of 48 people found this review helpful.

407 pages of the latest telling of the Henry VIII story. This bo

407 pages of the latest telling of the Henry VIII story.
This book is based on the story of the fall of Anne Boleyn. The focus, though, is not so much on Anne herself, but on Thomas Cromwell, Master of the Rolls and Secretary to Henry VIII. Hilary Mantel conveys the rea...
407 pages of the latest telling of the Henry VIII story.
This book is based on the story of the fall of Anne Boleyn. The focus, though, is not so much on Anne herself, but on Thomas Cromwell, Master of the Rolls and Secretary to Henry VIII. Hilary Mantel conveys the reader from September 1535 to the Summer of 1536. Besides Anne herself, Cromwell is responsible for bringing about the downfall/executions of several of Anne's "admirers", including her brother George Boleyn, Henry Norris, Francis Weston, William Brereton, and Mark Smeaton. Since the book has its focus on the viewpoint of Cromwell rather than Anne or Henry, it's an interesting addition to the pool of books written on the subject of Henry and his wives. I hadn't read any of Mantel's previous books, so some of her writing affectations were off -putting, especially at first. For example, the book opens with what seems to be s surrealistic dream, until I realized that Cromwell named his hunting hawks after his dead daughters. It was a bit unnerving to read the first paragraph, with its ending sentence of "Her breast is gore streaked and flesh clings to her claws," and it wasn't until I got to the sentence, " The hawk Anne Cromwell bounces on the glove of Rafe Sadler. . ." that I realized this wasn't a weird dream sequence, but the presentation of a hunting scene with Henry and Cromwell. Still, the sentence, " Tomorrow his wife and two sisters will go out," make it clear that this confusion is deliberate. A previous reviewer has already remarked on Mantel's curious use of the pronoun "he", which generally refers to Cromwell himself although I noted that this was not always the case. It was sometimes used in a more traditional sense, as when she has as antecedent Henry VIII or some other important personage. In the first chapter, Mantel refers to Hans Holbein the painter as simply " Hans". ( I
suppose there were not that many men in this story with the Christian name Hans, so that she did not feel it necessary to present when he first appears, with his full name, but that's just a guess on my part.) There are also some places where Cromwell is either recalling a speech by someone else, or thinking to himself, presented sans quotation marks, but in most places where there's dialogue, she does make use of them. Since the book jacket states that Mantel lives in England, I'm not sure if the stylistic choices made in this book are some new form of British English, or her individual writing eccentricity. These quibbles aside, I found the book quite interesting, especially when compared to other books that deal with this time period in English history, such as Phillipa Gregory's The Other Boleyn Girl. I should note that even though Mantel's primary focus is on Cromwell, the insight we get on characters like Henry and Anne, through his eyes, is fresh and thought-provoking. History buffs will probably enjoy this book in spite of the stylistic eccentricities, while grammar purists might want to give it a miss. Recommended.

posted by Fricka on June 30, 2012

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Most Helpful Critical Review

29 out of 39 people found this review helpful.

Not what I was expecting

I love historical fiction. I've never read this author, and I had an awful time getting used to her writing style. I read 60 pages before I called it quits. It was probably just me, but I just couldn't stay interested nor could I tell you who was narrating most of the t...
I love historical fiction. I've never read this author, and I had an awful time getting used to her writing style. I read 60 pages before I called it quits. It was probably just me, but I just couldn't stay interested nor could I tell you who was narrating most of the time.

posted by 17214196 on May 24, 2012

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  • Anonymous

    Posted May 24, 2012

    Not what I was expecting

    I love historical fiction. I've never read this author, and I had an awful time getting used to her writing style. I read 60 pages before I called it quits. It was probably just me, but I just couldn't stay interested nor could I tell you who was narrating most of the time.

    29 out of 39 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted December 13, 2012

    I had to constantly reread paragraphs to determine who was speak

    I had to constantly reread paragraphs to determine who was speaking.
    Very distracting, and eventually headache inducing. Had to bail out at page 135

    12 out of 16 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted July 1, 2013

    I was looking forward to reading this book; however I was put of

    I was looking forward to reading this book; however I was put off by the author's vague references as to which character is speaking.  She's always 
    referring to "he".  I don't know if this is just her quirky style or what, but after reading this book I have no desire to read any others by her.
    I am interested in the time period of this story and have read other books about this same subject, but she is definitely not my favorite author.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted March 21, 2014

    No text was provided for this review.

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