Wolf Hall

A_Tale_For_The_Time_Being

2013 Longlisted: A Tale for the Time Being by Ruth Ozeki #2

A_Tale_For_The_Time_BeingRating: 4.5
A Tale for the Time Being
A Novel by Ruth Ozeki
Audiobook Narrated by Ruth Ozeki
2013 /14 hours and 45 minutes

 A Tale for the Time Being by Ruth Ozeki is a very intricate and layered story.  I listened to the audio version read by the author.

At first glance this is a coming of age story as told through a diary of a 16 year old Japanese girl, Nao (pronounced Now).  The diary is being read by a middle aged female writer from Canada, Ruth, after she found the diary washed up on the shore presumably from the Tsunami several years earlier.

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Book Review: 2012 Shortlisted: Hilary Mantel’s Bring Up the Bodies (Review # 4)

Rating: 5
Bring Up The Bodies
A Novel by Hilary Mantel
2012 / 407 Pages

Hilary Mantel’s brilliant sequel to her 2009 novel, Wolf Hall, has once again earned her a spot on the Man Booker Prize shortlist.  Bring Up the Bodies is a continuance of Thomas Cromwell’s story as it intersects with Henry VIII and his second wife, Anne Boleyn.  As the novel opens, it is the fall of 1535 – Former Queen Katherine of Aragon is on her deathbed and current Queen, Anne Boleyn, is also inching dangerously close to death.  She has made many promises in her relentless efforts to become Queen, yet the most important promise – to produce a male heir to the throne – has yet to be fulfilled.  In the meantime, rumors have begun to circulate that perhaps Anne has not been faithful to her husband, and that, perhaps their daughter, Elizabeth, was fathered by another man.

Pretty soon, the swirling rumors reach the ears of the King, and although Henry is outraged at the prospect of his wife’s extramarital encounters, he also sees it as an opportunity to rid himself of Anne Boleyn, who has turned out to be more trouble than pleasure for Henry.  And of course, “Queens come and go,” so Henry enlists the help of Master Secretary Thomas Cromwell to remove Anne Boleyn of her position so that a new (and hopefully more fertile) Queen can take her place.  Luckily for Cromwell, “the affairs of the whole realm are whispered in his ear,” so the process of Anne’s removal is expedited.  In fact, it takes just about a month for Cromwell to compile a case against Anne, have her tried in court, and finally beheaded.  The crimes against the infamous Queen include treason, incest, and adultery, and her trial and subsequent death prove to be extremely consequential for the Tudors.  Many others are sent to their deaths because of what they may or may not have said and done with Anne Boleyn, and Henry’s Court is in disarray after living in the midst of potential conspirators and traitors.
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Book Review: 2012 Long Listed: Hilary Mantel’s Bring Up the Bodies (Review #3)

Bring_Up_The_BodiesRating: 4.5
Bring Up the Bodies
A Novel by Hilary Mantel
2012 / 407 Pages

The Setup: The sequel to Hilary Mantel’s 2009 Man Booker Prize winner and New York Times bestseller, Wolf Hall delves into the heart of Tudor history with the downfall of Anne Boleyn

Though he battled for seven years to marry her, Henry is disenchanted with Anne Boleyn. She has failed to give him a son and her sharp intelligence and audacious will alienate his old friends and the noble families of England. When the discarded Katherine dies in exile from the court, Anne stands starkly exposed, the focus of gossip and malice.

At a word from Henry, Thomas Cromwell is ready to bring her down. Over three terrifying weeks, Anne is ensnared in a web of conspiracy, while the demure Jane Seymour stands waiting her turn for the poisoned wedding ring. But Anne and her powerful family will not yield without a ferocious struggle. Hilary Mantel’s Bring Up the Bodies follows the dramatic trial of the queen and her suitors for adultery and treason. To defeat the Boleyns, Cromwell must ally with his natural enemies, the papist aristocracy. What price will he pay for Anne’s head? (From the hardcover edition)

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Book Review: 2012 Long Listed: Hilary Mantel’s Bring Up The Bodies (Review #2)

Rating 4.5
Bring Up The Bodies
A Novel by Hilary Mantel
2012 / 407 Pages

Bring Up the Bodies by Hilary Mantel is the second novel in a trilogy about King Henry the VIII and Thomas Cromwell. Mantel starts Bring Up the Bodies without missing a beat after the ending of Wolf Hall. From the opening pages, we find the wonderful compassionate side of Thomas Cromwell as well as the tale tell signs of King Henry’s disillusionment with Anne Boleyn and their marriage. Most of us know before we start how this book is going to end. The fact that we know how the book will end and we still read it as an exciting page turner is why this book has been nominated for the Man Booker long list. (more…)

Book Review: 2012 Long Listed: Rachel Joyce’s The Unlikely Pilgrimage of Harold Fry (Review #2)

Rating: 4
The Unlikely Pilgrimage of Harold Fry
A Novel
by Rachel Joyce

2012 / 336 Pages

Some books one picks up just hit a nerve, touch off a series of memories that have been repressed.  They can remind you of a person, place or thing with such a choke hold that you can’t put them down for  fear of forgetting about the experience that book has opened back up to you.  When you do put the book down you reminisce about the person,  place or thing before getting up to continue about your day.  The Tiger’s Wife by Tea Obreht was one of these books for me and now Rachel Joyce’s The Unlikely Pilgrimage of Harold Fry is another.

Have you ever woken up one morning and realized you have wasted X number of years of your life?  Have you ever realized that you have allowed a person, place or thing use and manipulate you to the point that you no longer know who you are and what you want out of life?  Have you ever woken up to realize how short life is and you only have the opportunity to live life once?

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Book Review: 2012 Long Listed: Hilary Mantel’s Bring Up The Bodies

Rating: 4
Bring Up The Bodies
A Novel by Hilary Mantel
2012 / 407 Pages

Audiobook: 14 hrs and 35 minutes
Narration:  Simon Vance

The Setup: The sequel to Hilary Mantel’s 2009 Man Booker Prize winner and New York Times bestseller, Wolf Hall delves into the heart of Tudor history with the downfall of Anne Boleyn

Though he battled for seven years to marry her, Henry is disenchanted with Anne Boleyn. She has failed to give him a son and her sharp intelligence and audacious will alienate his old friends and the noble families of England. When the discarded Katherine dies in exile from the court, Anne stands starkly exposed, the focus of gossip and malice.

At a word from Henry, Thomas Cromwell is ready to bring her down. Over three terrifying weeks, Anne is ensnared in a web of conspiracy, while the demure Jane Seymour stands waiting her turn for the poisoned wedding ring. But Anne and her powerful family will not yield without a ferocious struggle. Hilary Mantel’s Bring Up the Bodies follows the dramatic trial of the queen and her suitors for adultery and treason. To defeat the Boleyns, Cromwell must ally with his natural enemies, the papist aristocracy. What price will he pay for Anne’s head? (from the hardcover edition)

(more…)