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Book Review – Bring Up The Bodies by Hilary Mantel

Sometimes when I’ve loved a book I worry that I won’t love the sequel as much and that the magic will be ruined. I confess to thinking this about Bring Up The Bodies; I enjoyed Wolf Hall so much that I was apprehensive that BUTB wouldn’t be as good. Boy, was I wrong! It is every bit as good and then some.

The story of the fall of Anne Boleyn is a familiar one and Hilary Mantel handled it beautifully. I particularly liked the way that Anne faded away during the course of the book, becoming less prominent as her demise drew nearer. By the time she was executed she was a mere phantom in the novel.

What I love about Hilary Mantel’s writing is the detail. You can sense the research that has gone into each episode, every nuance of the Tudor court rings true. Her spare use of words at times allows the reader to use their imagination to the fullest, yet she knows when to fill in more detail. For example, there is a scene where Jane Seymour and her sister are trying a different headdress on in preparation for her re-appearance at court; this scene is filled with delightful details about the fashion and the relationship between the sisters, it is glorious to read.

Thomas Cromwell continues to fascinate through the novel; at times complex and inscrutable, then charming and disarmingly open. I am so looking forward to reading the final part in the trilogy and watching his start fade, as we know it must.

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