The Last Boleyn

The Last Boleyn

by Karen Harper
4.3 59


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Last Boleyn 4.3 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 59 reviews.
ZQuilts More than 1 year ago
I have been reading a lot of books by Karen Harper recently and I have to admit to thoroughly enjoying each and every one. What a gifted author she is! "The Last Boleyn" was originally titled "Passion's Reign" and I am not at all sure that I would have chosen to read it with that title. I have that ingrained aversion to lusty title's that shelving Harlequin novels in a book store left me with ! "The Last Boleyn" is the tale of Mary Tudor - five years a mistress to Henry VIII before Anne; faithful wife and mother after Henry. Although I had perhaps heard this before I had not registered the fact that the family name had, in fact, been 'Bullen' prior to Anne's Franophile-ization of her family name to the more readily familiar 'Boleyn'. Mary Bullen inherited her mother's more delicate blonde coloring - heritage of her lofty Howard lineage. I have always been of the impression that 'father' Boleyn was a power hungry, ladder climbing syncophant in the court of Henry VIII....a man who would pander his female children to his best advantage. Nothing I have read over the years has really change that opinion - even taking the vagaries of that time period into account. Mary was sent to the French court at an early age - as lady-in-waiting to Henry's sister Mary during her short lived marriage to the aging French King. Upon the King's death Mary remains at the French Court attendant upon Mary and beguiled by the new French King Francois I. Anne Boleyn joins Mary at the French court for a time until Mary returns to England as a teenager - and becomes an integral part of the Court of Henry VIII. The book chronicles Mary's marriage to the cold, calculating William Carey - a husband who accepts the King's advances towards Mary as a way to accrue fame and fortune for himself. During her marriage to William Carey Mary has son and, although she always claimed that he was William Carey's son - there has always been speculation that her son was, in fact, the progeny of Henry VIII .Mary is, ultimately, drawn to the jaded courtier William Stafford - a man whom she will ultimately marry in secret after the death of William Carey. The odd thing about Mary Boleyn's story is that she was always derided by her family for not asking Henry for more - for not expecting more from him as his mistress. Anne was the rapacious sister . Oddly enough though it is Mary, and not Anne, who ultimately lives to a goodly age and retires from Courtlife with both her head and her happiness intact - thank largely, I am led to believe thanks to the love of Will Staford. In contrast, this novel with that of Phillipa Gregory's book "The Other Boleyn Girl" - which is also narrated from Mary's point of view. I enjoyed both of these book tremendously, but I think that in some ways I prefer Karen Harper's work. I think that Ms. Harper follows the history very closely and she also managed to keep me turning the pages of this book late into the night. Best bet - read both books because I think that the story of Mary Boleyn is truly a very good one !
Guest More than 1 year ago
I adore the Tudors, and have read just about every biography and historical novel about them that I can get my hands on. I was really excited when I picked this novel up recently, but after the first 50 pages I did something that I almost NEVER do. I not only didn't finish this book, but I actually returned it. It was that wretched. The historical details were either lacking or incorrect. For example, Chantilly lace dates to the 17th century, not the early 16th century. The dialog was similarly aweful. In one scene Charles Bradon calls Mary by her full name four or five times, even though there are only three people in the room. The author can't even keep her own facts straight, referring to Mary as being only a skinny ten year old, and a few pages later talking about her newly developed female curves. My recommendation, avoid this book. There are better stories out there about the Tudors.
Guest More than 1 year ago
I am so sorry that this particular take on the Boleyns wasn't chosen to make a movie of instead of Philippa Gregory's atrocious 'The Other Boleyn Girl', the sorriest waste of historical fiction I've ever read. This is an amazing book. The history is pretty accurate and the courtiers' world is described in breathtaking detail without tailspinning into ridiculous gossip-slinging. Great writing, great story, great detail, great characters, great everything. the entire Tudor universe simply comes to life in this book.
Guest More than 1 year ago
As usual from this author: An interesting story, but the silliest dialogue I've seen since I outgrew teenage romances 40 years ago. Learned my lesson from this and The First Princess of Wales (whiich I bought at the same time) and won't be buying anything from this author in future.
Kiamara More than 1 year ago
I had this book recommended to me by someone after they heard my fustrations on how historically accurate "The Other Bolyen Girl" is not. I picked up this book and could not put it down. Yes there is not a lot known about Mary Bolyen but the author used what is known to create a captivating book truely from Mary's point of view. I am happy that the author was more true to the history, which made the book that more enjoyable for me becuase I did not have to turn off my historical brain to read the book. I highly recommend this book.
AnonymousLR More than 1 year ago
This book is well written, but somtimes gets bogged down with minute details that I am not interested in. I loved the story of Mary Bolyn, first mistress to the king and the wife of a man of her own choosing. She escaped the fate of her sister Anne because she listened well to her father. In the book, the king feels loving toward Mary and tells her to leave court for her own good. I found this quite touching. I agree this is a good read.
penname96 More than 1 year ago
I thoroughly enjoyed this book. It helps to know some history otherwise parts might be hard to follow (example the use of Boleyn/Bullen...Mary/Marie). From what I have read this book was more factual than Philippa Gregory's "The Other Boleyn Girl" which is why I purchased it. From what I have studied, this seems to be true. If you are interested in The Boleyns, then you should enjoy this book. Karen's current release "The Queen's Governess" was excellent!
Sapphire_Kelly More than 1 year ago
This book was better than I expected. It caught my attention from page one and kept it till the very end. I love anything dealing with the Boleyn's. They are a very interesting family. I like how this was centered around Mary Boleyn. She was someone I did not know about until I read this. It caused me to want to know more and more about her. I really recommend this book to anyone who really loves this subject. It will open your eyes into her world. You get to see something from another point of view. It is really a great book.
L2TA More than 1 year ago
I read one of the reviews about this book that said that everything in this book was fiction. That is completely untrue: Mary Boleyn was the eldest daughter of Thomas Boleyn and his wife. She was married to William Carey, and later to William Stafford. She had both a son and a daughter, named Henry and Catherine. It is possible that both were the children of Mary and the King, but he never acknowledged either of them. She later had a child with William Stafford, though if it was a boy or girl, is unknown. Will Carey was an Esquire to the King, as was William Stafford later. Little has been recorded about Mary's life, seeing as how she was simply a mistress, not queen like her sister Anne, but what is in this book is based off of what little fact is known about her. While the conversations and outfits and minor details like those are more than likely fictional, the underlying historical story is true.
Guest More than 1 year ago
Someone here was stating about how this story is purely fictional, which is not true. There is truth behind much of it. Yes, very little is known about poor Mary, but there is actual evidence about her. There's also evidence that she is actually said to be the oldest of the three Boleyn children. So please, if you're going to criticize something, know your facts before you do so.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Educational and thoroughly entertaining!
alice0309 More than 1 year ago
I have read many fictional novels concerning the English Monarch and this is by far one of my favorites. She is a very good author and I will read more of her books. If you're undecided, read a preview, you'll buy it.
Tudormommy More than 1 year ago
I enjoyed reading this tale of Henry's mistress. The story read smoothly and kept me captivated. It was interesting to read about Mary's life before, during, and after Henry. I especially enjoyed her vision of her sister, Anne. I enjoyed this story much more than Gregory's "The Other Boleyn Girl." That book I did not even finish!
Izzie_reads_books More than 1 year ago
To me, this was the cutest story ever about Anne Boleyn's sister, Mary. It was cute because of the little love story involving Stafford. I LOVED this novel so much, I read it three times (yes, I read too much)...The "ups" about the book was almost everything, but I have to admit that there were some "downs" as well. Mary seemed too submissive and reserved which is the reason why the family thought the ambition-thirsty Anne was more clever even though Mary was since Anne's ambition led to her demise. But finally,very far into the book, she begins to emerge from that submissiveness. The other "down" was how the author portrayed Mary's first husband. But then again, authors portray the Boleyn characters differently in each novel. I think Karen Harper portrayed Mary the best when comparing other novels that wrote about the Boleyns (The Other Boleyn Girl by Phillippa Gregory...I love her books, but The Other Boleyn Girl wasn't, in my opinion, her best. She portrayed Mary--also in my opinion--as a girl who is pretty much lovesick or should I say, has Romeo and Juliet syndrome and I certainly do not like that play from Shakespeare--his other ones were way better). Well, anyhow, It's a very good book and I enjoyed it.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Great book for all Tudor fans.
Anonymous 7 months ago
I always used to think of what happened to Mary. I love the finally knowing that she lived a life with her loving husband!
Anonymous 11 months ago
Enjoyed reading about Mary
Lynn-MI More than 1 year ago
What a brilliant way to learn history – The Boleyn family history is truly an extraordinary story. This is a fictional tale but so much of the story is based on true history --- you actually feel like you’re living right along with Mary thru her awesome story – the culture, corruption, the lies, the mystery - the way of life just radiates the whole story! It got me from the very first chapter and I was sorry to put it down on the last page! To have to live in a time like this had to almost unbearable if you were ever given the chance to think about it! Unimaginable!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I will go back to scanning a few pages of a hard copy before i make any more fooiish decisions of time and resources on raunchy fantasys.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I so want my money back on this one! Worst piece of dribble I have read in a long time. To me it was written as a chilish Harlequin Romance and only about 95% factual and based loosely, very loosely on Mary Boleyn's life. 1. Mary was married by the age of 14 to William Carey-FACT 2. Mary was at Tudor Court by the same age (14)-FACT 3. Mary was not saved by Da Vinci from an almost rape out in the open, in broad daylight during a joust as this would have been next to impossible. This was the actual part I stopped reading and actually flipped ahead hoping it got better and that I did not waste my no avail. It got worse. 4. There was no love triangle with Mary, William Carey and William Stafford as Carey died from sweating sickness BEFORE Stafford ever worked in the Tudor Court. So the whole bit about Stafford being in France with Mary's father is a fabrication as Stafford was in the livery and would not have even been allowed to help her father conduct business. On that same note, her father felt that Stafford was beneath him so he would not have sought Stafford's advice on anything. This is just a few of my misgivings regarding this book. Sad that I only read 57 pages before giving up and flipping ahead only to be more disappointed. I implore ANYONE looking at this book to read - PROCEED WITH CAUTION. Please read the reviews BEFORE you buy it. Please do not make the same mistake I did.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I am not a historian or someone who did a lot of research on the Boleyns so I dont know how historically accurate this is. However I absolutely loved this story and I hope many parts are true. I couldnt put the book down, loved it!
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