Bring Up the Bodies-Hilary Mantel
By 1535 Thomas Cromwell is Chief Minister to Henry VIII, his fortunes having risen with those of Anne Boleyn, the king’s new wife. But Anne has failed to give the king an heir, and Cromwell watches as Henry falls for plain Jane Seymour. Cromwell must find a solution that will satisfy Henry, safeguard the nation and secure his own career. But neither minister nor king will emerge unscathed from the bloody theatre of Anne’s final days.
Possibly one of the more talked about novels, I ended up reading this instead of Wolf Hall in a strange library moment. Oh well, no problem because I enjoyed this fantastically as a stand alone historical fiction. Oh my goodness, Cromwell is such a well crafted character-a strong man who has worked to get to where he is and thus is aggressive and a bit single minded but still sympathetic. Everything that happens feels real. I'm not actually a fan of the Tudor period but thanks to Mantel I'll definitely be interested in some of the more historical sources of information. This was just that good. Mantel treats her history delicately, avoiding over lyrical romanticism, which is definitely something I appreciate. To make the Tudor period seem so fresh and immediate despite the keywords we all associate with it takes such skill. It doesn't even seem predictable even though we know what the ending is going to be.