The Boleyn Inheritance

The Boleyn Inheritance

4.3 481
by Philippa Gregory, Dagmara Dominczyk, Ruthie Henshall, Bianca Amato

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From “the queen of royal fiction” (USA TODAY) comes this New York Times bestseller featuring three very different women whose fates are each bound by a bloody curse: the legacy of the Boleyn family.

After the death of his third wife, Jane Seymour, King Henry VIII of England decides to take a new wife, but this time, not for love.

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From “the queen of royal fiction” (USA TODAY) comes this New York Times bestseller featuring three very different women whose fates are each bound by a bloody curse: the legacy of the Boleyn family.

After the death of his third wife, Jane Seymour, King Henry VIII of England decides to take a new wife, but this time, not for love. The Boleyn Inheritance follows three women whose lives are forever changed because of the king’s decision, as they must balance precariously in an already shaky Tudor Court.

Anne of Cleves is to be married to Henry to form a political alliance, though the rocky relationship she has to the king does not bode well for her or for England.

Katherine Howard is the young, beautiful woman who captures Henry’s eye, even though he is set to marry Anne. Her spirit runs free and her passions run hot—though her affections may not be returned upon the King.

Jane Rochford was married to George Boleyn, and it was her testimony that sent her husband and infamous sister-in-law Anne to their deaths. Throughout the country, her name is known for malice, jealousy, and twisted lust.

The Boleyn Inheritance is a novel drawn tight as a lute string about three women whose positions brought them wealth, admirations, and power, as well as deceit, betrayal, and terror.

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Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly
Returning to the scene of The Other Boleyn Girl, historical powerhouse Gregory again brings the women of Henry VIII's court vividly to life. Among the cast, who alternately narrate: Henry's fourth wife, Bavarian-born Anne of Cleves; his fifth wife, English teenager Katherine Howard; and Lady Rochford (Jane Boleyn), the jealous spouse whose testimony helped send her husband, Thomas, and sister-in-law Anne Boleyn to their execution. Attended by Lady Rochford, 24-year-old Anne of Cleves endures a disastrous first encounter with the twice-her-age king-an occasion where Henry takes notice of Katherine Howard. Gregory beautifully explains Anne of Cleves's decision to stay in England after her divorce, and offers contemporary descriptions of Lady Rochford's madness. While Gregory renders Lady Rochford with great emotion, and Anne of Cleves with sympathy, her most captivating portrayal is Katherine, the clever yet naive 16th-century adolescent counting her gowns and trinkets. Male characters are not nearly as endearing. Gregory's accounts of events are accurate enough to be persuasive, her characterizations modern enough to be convincing. Rich in intrigue and irony, this is a tale where readers will already know who was divorced, beheaded or survived, but will savor Gregory's sharp staging of how and why. (Dec. 5) Copyright 2006 Reed Business Information.
Kirkus Reviews
The author of The Other Boleyn Girl (2002) returns to the executed queen's doomed family in a historical novel that maps the sad demise of Henry VIII in a series of intimate personal testimonies. Gregory's tale of greed and revenge takes place against the short, unhappy tenures of Henry's fourth and fifth wives. Jockeying for position close to the throne, three powerful, ambitious women collide. The author skillfully allows each character to tell her side of the story in her own words. The first voice we hear belongs to 30-year-old Jane Boleyn, widowed sister-in-law to Anne. Jane's husband George was implicated in his sister's alleged infidelities and went with her to the scaffold in 1533; his calculating wife moved to save her inheritance rather than her husband and six years later is still scheming. Next up is Anne of Cleves, soon to be Queen Number Four, a provincial, German-speaking Protestant princess chosen by Henry's advisor, Thomas Cromwell, as a politically suitable alliance to keep Spain and France at bay. Badgered and bullied all her life by her brother and mother, 24-year-old Anne wants nothing more than to escape Cleves and have a meaningful life. The third voice belongs to Katherine Howard, a pretty, 15-year-old cousin of the dead Anne Boleyn and an incorrigible flirt who is brought to court as a lady-in-waiting by her conniving, powerful uncle, the Duke of Norfolk. Also summoned to court to attend the new queen, Jane begins plotting behind the scenes with Norfolk to assure Anne of Cleve's hasty fall and Katherine's quick ascent in Henry's favor. Gregory's knowledge of the period, combined with her novelistic skill, allows her to view this grim tale through the eyes of thethree women: wily, experienced Jane; na‹ve, sensible Anne; and vain, greedy young Kitty. Their first-person accounts are convincing and shockingly self-serving. Royal history spoon-fed in a highly digestible form.
From the Publisher
"Fascinating...harrowing....If only...history books were written so vividly."

Entertainment Weekly

"The queen of royal fiction."

USA Today

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Product Details

Simon & Schuster Audio
Publication date:
Philippa Gregory Tudor Series, #3
Edition description:
Sales rank:
Product dimensions:
5.10(w) x 5.90(h) x 0.70(d)

Read an Excerpt

The Boleyn Inheritance

By Philippa Gregory


Copyright © 2007 Philippa Gregory
All right reserved.

ISBN: 9780743272513

Jane Boleyn, Blickling Hall, Norfolk,

July 1539

It is hot today, the wind blows over the flat fields and marshes with the stink of the plague. In weather like this, if my husband were still with me, we would not be trapped in one place, watching a leaden dawn and a sunset of dull red; we would be traveling with the king's court, on progress through the weald and downland of Hampshire and Sussex, the richest and most beautiful countryside in all of England, riding high on the hilly roads and looking out for the first sight of the sea. We would be out hunting every morning, dining under the thick canopy of the trees at midday and dancing in the great hall of some country house at night in the yellow light of flickering torches. We were friends with the greatest families in the land, we were the favorites of the king, kin to the queen. We were beloved; we were the Boleyns, the most beautiful, sophisticated family at the court. Nobody knew George without desiring him, nobody could resist Anne, everyone courted me as a passport to their attention. George was dazzling -- dark-haired, dark-eyed, and handsome -- always mounted on the finest horses, always at the side of the queen. Anne was at the peak of her beauty and her wits, as alluring as dark honey. And I went everywhere with them.

The two of them used to ride together, racing, neck and neck like lovers, and I could hear their laughterover the thudding of the hooves as they went flying by. Sometimes, when I saw them together, so rich, so young, so beautiful, I couldn't tell which of them I loved more.

All the court was besotted with the two of them, those dark Boleyn flirtatious looks, their high living: such gamblers, such lovers of risk; both so fervent for their reform of the church, so quick and clever in argument, so daring in their reading and thoughts. From the king to the kitchen maid there was not one person who was not dazzled by the pair of them. Even now, three years on, I cannot believe that we will never see them again. Surely, a couple so young, so radiant with life, cannot simply die? In my mind, in my heart, they are still riding out together, still young, still beautiful. And why would I not passionately long for this to be true? It has been only three years since I last saw them; three years, two months, and nine days since his careless fingers brushed against mine, and he smiled and said, "Good day, wife, I must go, I have everything to do today," and it was a May Day morning and we were preparing for the tournament. I knew he and his sister were in trouble, but I did not know how much.

Every day in this new life of mine I walk to the crossroads in the village, where there is a dirty milestone to the London road. Picked out in mud and lichen, the carving says "London, 120 miles." It is such a long way, such a long way away. Every day I bend down and touch it, like a talisman, and then I turn back again to my father's house, which is now so small to me, who has lived in the king's greatest palaces. I live on my brother's charity, on the goodwill of his wife who cares nothing for me, on a pension from Thomas Cromwell, the upstart moneylender, who is the king's new great friend. I am a poor neighbor living in the shadow of the great house that was once my own, a Boleyn house, one of our many houses. I live quietly, cheaply, like a widow with no house of my own whom no man wants.

And this is because I am a widow with no house of my own whom no man wants. A woman of nearly thirty years old, with a face scored by disappointment, mother to an absent son, a widow without prospect of remarriage, the sole survivor of an unlucky family, heiress to scandal.

My dream is that one day this luck will change. I will see a messenger in Howard livery riding down this very road, bringing a letter for me, a letter from the Duke of Norfolk, to summon me back to court, to tell me that there is work for me to do again: a queen to serve, secrets to whisper, plots to hatch, the unending double-dealing life of a courtier, at which he is so expert, and I am his greatest pupil. My dream is that the world will change again, swing topsy-turvy until we are uppermost once more, and I am restored. I saved the duke once, when we were in the worst danger, and in return he saved me. Our great sorrow was that we could not save the two of them, the two who now ride and laugh and dance only in my dreams. I touch the milestone once more, and imagine that tomorrow the messenger will come. He will hold out a paper, sealed with the Howard crest deep and shiny in the red wax. "A message for Jane Boleyn, the Viscountess Rochford?" he will ask, looking at my plain kirtle and the dust on the hem of my gown, my hand stained with dirt from the London milestone.

"I will take it," I shall say. "I am her. I have been waiting forever." And I shall take it in my dirty hand: my inheritance.

Copyright © 2006 by Philippa Gregory Limited


Excerpted from The Boleyn Inheritance by Philippa Gregory Copyright © 2007 by Philippa Gregory. Excerpted by permission.
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