Customer Reviews for

Bring Up the Bodies

Average Rating 4
( 133 )
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Most Helpful Favorable Review

42 out of 52 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

31 out of 42 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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Sort by: Showing 1 – 20 of 58 review with 5 star rating   See All Ratings
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  • Anonymous

    Posted May 12, 2012

    She's done it again! I loved Wolf Hall, and was eagerly awaiting

    She's done it again! I loved Wolf Hall, and was eagerly awaiting Ms. Mantel's next missive. This is a fantastic book, and the author a fantastic writer. I adore the way she brings Anne Boleyn and her history to life. Really great!

    20 out of 20 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted September 7, 2012

    Highly recommend!

    This former literature teacher enjoyed both plot and writing. I would recommend reading Wolf Hall first then Bring Up the Bodies. Thoroughly absorbing reads.

    12 out of 14 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted August 26, 2012

    Hilary Wolf's writing is exciting because it is -- the author is

    Hilary Wolf's writing is exciting because it is -- the author is --
    willing to take a risk that people won't understand immediately what she
    is getting at. But the payoff is a much deeper story or joke or
    conclusion, if you just have the patience to wait for it. These are
    really marvelous books, and I think will stand the test of time. They
    are well worth reading. And if you are willing to take the time for the
    second reading, you'll get all these subtle great jokes that you may
    have missed the first time. Enjoy!!!

    7 out of 9 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted August 25, 2012

    Another great novel by Hilary Mantel

    This was another great novel by Hilary Mantel. I loved Wolf Hall and was equally thirlled with Bring Up the Bodies. Hilary Mantel delivered another well written and entertaining novel about Thomas Cromwell. I cannot wait to read her next novel about this interesting man.

    7 out of 9 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted July 15, 2012

    Incredibly--even better than "Wolf Hall"

    Hilary Mantel is a genius. Somehow she has improved upon the brilliance of "Wolf Hall." Her writing style is breathtaking: lyrical, elegant, complex, incredibly satisfying. Cromwell's charming, ruthless, utterly beguling personality--and ultimate path to self destruction--is on vivid display here. Henry VIII's egomanical callousness is shattering as is the fine web of deceit, betrayal, revenge, that finally captures a disbelieving Ann. I was so caught up in this I basically read the whole thing in one sitting, desperate to keep reading yet heartbroken to see it end. When asked to describe Mantel's style and appeal, I find it very hard to do so. You simply have to experience it.

    5 out of 5 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted July 19, 2012

    Superb. Exceptional. Brilliant. More contemplative than Wolf

    Superb. Exceptional. Brilliant. More contemplative than Wolf Hall but delightful (and funny) nonethless.

    4 out of 6 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted May 28, 2012

    Even better than _Wolf Hall_

    As well written as was the first book in this trilogy-to-be, this second installment is sometimes lyrical. The story seens new, the telling of it is taut, and the occasional confusion over whose voice we're hearing is neatly taken care of this time out.

    3 out of 5 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted December 21, 2012

    Highly recommended

    This book was a fascinating insight into the era of Henry VIII, Thomas Cromwell, Anne Boleyn, and other historical figures. Bring Up the Bodies is well-researched; providing interesting background information on major historical characters and also minor characters. Thomas Cromwell is an astute politician; he is both a hero and a villain.

    Hilary Mantel is such a gifted writer; I could hardly put down the book! I did not realize that Bring Up the Bodies was preceded by Wolf Hall, but I immediately went out and bought that book, too!

    The book is beautifully written and the characters are wonderfully complex.

    2 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted August 15, 2013

    An amazing read

    Couldn't put it down. Couldn't wait to read the sequel Bring up the Bodies.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted June 22, 2012

    I like stories based on historical happenings, irrespective of w

    I like stories based on historical happenings, irrespective of where they took place, and Bring up the Bodies is one of them. With echoes of stories involving traditional monarchs like in Disciples of Fortune, or the King and I, this story is rich and revealing.It is an excellently written story that I finished without being conscious of the flow of time. The characters are amazing and they are true to life due to the wonderful portrayal of their human sides.Smooth writing, fabulous descriptions, amazing dialogue and gripping pacing are the elements that made this story an accomplished piece of writing.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted October 31, 2014

    Oh nooooo! I got ahead of the author on a trilogy. Ravenous for

    Oh nooooo! I got ahead of the author on a trilogy. Ravenous for another installment.




    I loved Wolf Hall, but decided to pace myself: read several other books before tasting Hilary Mantel's style again. Couldn't do it. Read one book and then plunged back in. Loved this as much as the first, and was grateful she picked up the pace this time. (That was my lone complaint on Wolf Hall: 600 pages was excessive for the story she had to tell. I got restless with it. Better pacing here.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted September 25, 2014

    Really like it.

    Hilary Mantel does a great job of putting you inside the royal household.

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  • Posted October 3, 2013

    Now this is what I call an exceptional book. Undeniably. Do re

    Now this is what I call an exceptional book. Undeniably. Do read Wolf Hall first. You'll thank me.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted June 23, 2013

    I Also Recommend:

    Intricate and imaginatively written. I hope Ms. Mantell writes

    Intricate and imaginatively written. I hope Ms. Mantell writes about Cromwell's last days. I am addicted!

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  • Anonymous

    Posted April 10, 2013

    Brilliant

    A fitting sequel to Wolf Hall. Highly enjoyable fictionalization of the life of Thomas Cromwell. I look forward to book 3.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted March 6, 2013

    Great Book

    Oh. What a time it was...

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  • Anonymous

    Posted March 6, 2013

    Very entertaining

    Great historical fiction.

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  • Posted March 2, 2013

    Such superb writing that the reader is totally immersed in anoth

    Such superb writing that the reader is totally immersed in another time, another place. A fascinating period of history seen through the eyes of Thomas Cromwell. Henry VIII has tired of Anne Boleyn, who has not provided him with a male heir, and needs excuses to end his marriage so he can marry Jane Seymour. Thomas Cromwell, originally from a very humble background, is now a major figure in Henry's entourage, and the one who is entrusted with Henry's marriage dilemmas.

    A wonderful book, richly deserving its awards. I look forward to the third book of the trilogy. Highly recommended.

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  • Posted March 1, 2013

    Excellent Book Two of Three-Book Series

    Just a good as the first volume, "Wolf Hall." I knew so little about Thomas Cromwell before reading books 1 and 2 of this series. I was absolutely fascinated with the detail and the gorgeous prose. I'm really looking forward to book number 3.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted June 21, 2013

    Another good read by Hilary Mantel.

    Very good sequel to Wolf Hall. I hope Mantel does a follow-up to finish off the story.

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