54. ‘Bring Up the Bodies’ by Hilary Mantel.

O. M. G. This series is amazing, I had honestly forgotten how much I enjoyed it, and I cannot recommend it highly enough! Just to recap, I re-read ‘Wolf Hall’ and then this prior to indulging myself in the final volume of the trilogy, the newly released ‘The Mirror and The Light’, and I have positively devoured it!

In this, the second book, we observe through Thomas Cromwell’s eyes the downfall and destruction of Henry VIII’s second wife, Anne Boleyn. I feel I can say that without fear of spoiling it for you – we all know the rhyme to remind us of the fates of Henry’s six wives, don’t we?

‘Divorced, beheaded, died; Divorced, beheaded, survived’, in case you didn’t.

The Seymour’s of Wolf Hall are coming to prominence, Cromwell has his fingers in every pie and is building his fortunes, Nan Bullen has only managed to give the King a daughter, and, wearying of her feistiness and failure to deliver the promised son, Henry has spotted the meek and demure Jane Seymour among her ladies. I think we can see where this is going…

Interesting characters abound, like Hans Holbein, the portrait artist, and the ruthless Richard Riche, who would become Lord Chancellor to Elizabeth I, and the dialogue and scene setting is once again superb. As I said when I wrote about ‘Wolf Hall’, Hilary Mantel’s writing is in a truly unique style, which some critics and reviewers really don’t like, but for me, it is fantastic.

Now. I was enjoying this in the brief spell of sunshine we had last week, sitting in the garden. I nipped inside for a fresh cup of tea, and came out to discover a very guilty looking puppy caught in the act of chewing the corner of the book. Disgraceful behaviour…off with her head! (Not really!) so it does have a bit of damage, but if you can deal with that, I am looking for a new home for this masterpiece, (or Mistresspiece), so if you feel you would enjoy it, please get in touch.

Although I suspect that the lovely Anne, who claimed ‘Wolf Hall’, may want it first! And yes, I am starting ‘The Mirror and The Light’ tonight, I have been having to switch Radio 4 off all week at lunchtime because they have been reading it, but I’m afraid I bought a Kindle version – the starting point of this entire project was to dispose of Mum’s vast library in an appropriate way and share her love of books, I’m trying to avoid buying any physical books!