Customer Reviews for

Mary Boleyn: The Mistress of Kings

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Most Helpful Favorable Review

4 out of 5 people found this review helpful.

This is a terrific biography of a woman who was the older sister to one of the merry wives of King Henry VIII

This is a terrific biography of a woman who was the older sister to one of the merry wives of King Henry VIII and mistress to her brother-in-law and his rival across the Channel King Francois I of France. Allison Weir asserts with a logical argument that the romanticiz...
This is a terrific biography of a woman who was the older sister to one of the merry wives of King Henry VIII and mistress to her brother-in-law and his rival across the Channel King Francois I of France. Allison Weir asserts with a logical argument that the romanticized novels and the papal commentary of Mary Boleyn as a whore is false. Instead, she was an intelligent woman who went with the flow realizing her choices were limited. Her first husband William Carey was extremely influential at Henry's court and would most likely never settle for a whoring spouse. Her second husband commoner William Stafford also from an influential family with ties to the king had no reason to settle on a whoring widow who was older than him and was mother to two small children. Instead Ms. Weir believes Mary had no say in whether she would be The Mistress of Kings. The historian also argues against the belief that her subject's two children were sired by Henry as at least her son (Henry) was the offspring of William. Finally she debunks the so called heroic redemption of Mary interceding with her lover the king to save her sister's life as a myth with no substantial support; a survivor Mary would know most likely she would join Anne in the Tower awaiting execution. Born most likely in 1498 and dead forty-five years later, she was a product of the Tudor era. Inductive reasoning shows a lack of supportive documents from those friendly or neutral towards the Boleyn family condemning her. Only enemies of her or her family call her a whore. This is a strong look at a woman surviving the men in her life, but unable to speak out agonist the false portrayal of her as a "great and infamous whore". Alison Weir champions a more plausible fairer assessment.

Harriet Klausner

posted by harstan on September 18, 2011

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Most Helpful Critical Review

6 out of 6 people found this review helpful.

Mary Boleyn - A speculative biography

Alison Weir, certainly one of our most prolific biographers of late Medieval England; has perhaps overreached herself with this biography of Mary Boleyn. Thanks to the novels of Phillipa Gregory and the attendant film she is now slightly more than a sideline to history....
Alison Weir, certainly one of our most prolific biographers of late Medieval England; has perhaps overreached herself with this biography of Mary Boleyn. Thanks to the novels of Phillipa Gregory and the attendant film she is now slightly more than a sideline to history. But the truth is, that is all she is. And unfortunately Weirs biography "Mary Boleyn; Mistress of Kings" confirms that. This is a lady who had a brief moment in history and then spent the rest of her life in a fairly contented obscurity. Married below her station (the second time, the first was to a popular nobleman) she did not come to court, had little contact with her sister, and apparently recieved no benefits from briefly being the mistress of not one but two kings. Weir's biography is full of references of where she might have lived, what she might have done, and who she might have known. By about the the third or fourth chapter, the truth is that you don't really care. One realizes that the reason that she faded into the background was that she was essentially boring. I will admit that the research is impressive and prodigious, but nothing concrete seems to come from it. I found the same problem with her book about Kathryn Swynford (a far more interesting person), there was just not enough information to make a solid biography.

posted by Paris182 on October 26, 2011

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  • Posted October 26, 2011

    Mary Boleyn - A speculative biography

    Alison Weir, certainly one of our most prolific biographers of late Medieval England; has perhaps overreached herself with this biography of Mary Boleyn. Thanks to the novels of Phillipa Gregory and the attendant film she is now slightly more than a sideline to history. But the truth is, that is all she is. And unfortunately Weirs biography "Mary Boleyn; Mistress of Kings" confirms that. This is a lady who had a brief moment in history and then spent the rest of her life in a fairly contented obscurity. Married below her station (the second time, the first was to a popular nobleman) she did not come to court, had little contact with her sister, and apparently recieved no benefits from briefly being the mistress of not one but two kings. Weir's biography is full of references of where she might have lived, what she might have done, and who she might have known. By about the the third or fourth chapter, the truth is that you don't really care. One realizes that the reason that she faded into the background was that she was essentially boring. I will admit that the research is impressive and prodigious, but nothing concrete seems to come from it. I found the same problem with her book about Kathryn Swynford (a far more interesting person), there was just not enough information to make a solid biography.

    6 out of 6 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Posted October 22, 2011

    dont waste your money

    This book was the longest, dullest and most boring non fiction that I have ever read. All of the pertinant details could have been shared in three chapters. I have enjoyed other Weir books, this unfortunately was a ceaseless rambling of repetetive information.

    4 out of 8 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Posted September 18, 2011

    more from this reviewer

    This is a terrific biography of a woman who was the older sister to one of the merry wives of King Henry VIII

    This is a terrific biography of a woman who was the older sister to one of the merry wives of King Henry VIII and mistress to her brother-in-law and his rival across the Channel King Francois I of France. Allison Weir asserts with a logical argument that the romanticized novels and the papal commentary of Mary Boleyn as a whore is false. Instead, she was an intelligent woman who went with the flow realizing her choices were limited. Her first husband William Carey was extremely influential at Henry's court and would most likely never settle for a whoring spouse. Her second husband commoner William Stafford also from an influential family with ties to the king had no reason to settle on a whoring widow who was older than him and was mother to two small children. Instead Ms. Weir believes Mary had no say in whether she would be The Mistress of Kings. The historian also argues against the belief that her subject's two children were sired by Henry as at least her son (Henry) was the offspring of William. Finally she debunks the so called heroic redemption of Mary interceding with her lover the king to save her sister's life as a myth with no substantial support; a survivor Mary would know most likely she would join Anne in the Tower awaiting execution. Born most likely in 1498 and dead forty-five years later, she was a product of the Tudor era. Inductive reasoning shows a lack of supportive documents from those friendly or neutral towards the Boleyn family condemning her. Only enemies of her or her family call her a whore. This is a strong look at a woman surviving the men in her life, but unable to speak out agonist the false portrayal of her as a "great and infamous whore". Alison Weir champions a more plausible fairer assessment.

    Harriet Klausner

    4 out of 5 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted January 9, 2012

    Excellent

    Anything by Alison Weir is richly detailed and a page turner

    2 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted July 23, 2013

    I am a sucker for these books.

    Historically correct and interesting, but not as much fun as The Other Boleyn Girl by Phillipa Gregory, which was not so factual.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted January 15, 2013

    Finally the truth

    Although this book shed little light about a lot of Mary Boleyn's life,it did dispell many rumors about her.She was known as the Great Whore of much of Tudor fiction.It is interesting to note that much of her affair with Henry VIII was conducted with discretion on the Kings part and she had no such reputation.An unfortunate product of parental ambition it was good to see Mary rebel and create a life of her own.Her intelligence,which was always maligned,allowed her to be the only survivor of the Boleyn children.I liked the book because it wiped away many myths and misconceptions and I learned to appreciate the true character of this woman

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted June 3, 2012

    It's too bad the title "Much Ado About Nothing" is alr

    It's too bad the title "Much Ado About Nothing" is already taken, because that would adequately sum up
    this book. I'm a huge Alison Weir fan, but this latest effort is not up to her usual standards. As usual, she
    carefully sorts out what facts can and cannot be verified about her subjects (always a good practice
    when writing history or biography), but what remains to be told about Mary Boleyn could be told in one or two
    chapters. The book just confirms that she was a minor player in the events that unfolded around her.If you want to read about a former royal mistress who actually DID have an impact on later history, I suggest you read Weir's "Mistress of the Monarchy".

    1 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted November 2, 2011

    Alison Weir's Mary Boleyn

    Alison Weir's Mary Boleyn is an original biography of Anne's older sister, an overlooked figure at Henry VIII's court. By using original sources and through careful analysis, Weir presents a picture of an intelligent and talented woman who, contrary to the generally accepted interpretation, influenced as much as she could the world into which she was born.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted April 3, 2013

    Very Interesting Book About Anne Boleyn's Sister

    I found this book very interesting and you felt sorry for her because her father used her to achieve his success. However, she was a survivor and in the end she married for love and you felt the happiness she finally was able to have. I thoroughly enjoyed this book and found it hard to put down. At last I feel I know something about her personally instead of through stories of Anne and Henry VIII.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Posted January 19, 2013

    Fascinating ...

    Mary is not one of the best known characters in Tudor-lore, but what an interesting time she heralded in. Good writing, well paced and a lot of fun facts for the Tudor fan. Not a lot known about Mary after Henry threw her over, and about her relationship with Anne, this book sheds some light on her later life, a great read for those that devour anything Tudor.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted September 11, 2012

    Question

    Hoe many pages is this?

    0 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted May 30, 2012

    Mary Boleyn is a footnote to history. She wasn't important enoug

    Mary Boleyn is a footnote to history. She wasn't important enough for a whole book. This book is repetitive simply because there just isn't that much to say.

    0 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted April 28, 2012

    DISAPPOINTING

    I love to read anything historical concerning HenryVIII and his wives, but this book was extremely boring and hard to get through. I felt like I was reading parts over and over again. Very disappointing.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted January 20, 2012

    Thanks for the review, Harriet!

    You told me everything I needed to know and saved me from having to read the book.

    0 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted November 3, 2011

    A must if you like Historical Fiction

    I was expecting something along the lines of Weir's "The Lady Elizabeth" but was surprised to find that this was more historical than mere fiction. However, that aside I found the story of Mary Boleyn interesting and although still much isn't known about her what the author presents gives more enlightenment that has previously been compiled together for a reading audience. Overall a good read

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  • Anonymous

    Posted October 26, 2011

    No text was provided for this review.

  • Anonymous

    Posted May 4, 2012

    No text was provided for this review.

  • Anonymous

    Posted November 10, 2011

    No text was provided for this review.

  • Anonymous

    Posted February 9, 2012

    No text was provided for this review.

  • Anonymous

    Posted November 22, 2012

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