Wednesday, June 26, 2013

A Flat Paper Doll

Wolf Hall (Thomas Cromwell Trilogy #1) by Hilary Mantel

Summary: Tudor England. Henry VIII is on the throne, but has no heir. Cardinal Wolsey is charged with securing his divorce. Into this atmosphere of distrust comes Thomas Cromwell - a man as ruthlessly ambitious in his wider politics as he is for himself. His reforming agenda is carried out in the grip of a self-interested parliament and a king who fluctuates between romantic passions and murderous rages.

Review: A tale of the Tudors from the eyes of Thomas Cromwell.

I knew very little about Thomas Cromwell. I had certainly heard the name and am certain that I had read about him before in Tudor related non-fiction, but for some reason, it didn’t seem to stick. I did a little Wikipedia reading after I finished Wolf Hall and plan to read more about him. Thomas Cromwell is indirectly and directly related to many actions that were taken and events that occurred concerning the Tudors. This book focuses on Thomas Cromwell so we see events unfold from his point of view. There is nothing to mark the thoughts of other characters from direct quotes or the third person narration.

All the characters that weren’t Thomas Cromwell seemed barely like characters at all, even Henry VIII. Events that should have been emotional impact don’t have any at all. It all falls flat even the death of Cardinal Wosley and his wife. Also, Thomas Cromwell felt flat as well. I am honestly not sure how Hilary Mantel wanted to portray him. I assume the man had more personality than he does in the book. He acts little better than a paper doll.


Recommendation: I would recommend this to those who like Tudor fiction about less popular historical figures.

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