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Staff Pick of the Week: “Wolf Hall” by Hilary Mantel

Wolf Hall: Mantel, Hilary: 9780312429980: Books

Historical Fiction, Literary Fiction
The Autobiography of Henry VIII: With Notes by His Fool, Will Somers by Margaret George
Mistress of the Art of Death by Ariana Franklin
The Butcher’s Daughter by Victoria Glendinning

“As Henry VIII’s go-to man for his dirty work, Thomas Cromwell (1485–1540) isn’t a likely candidate for a sympathetic portrait. He dirtied his hands too often. In the end, Henry dropped him just as he had Cromwell’s mentor, Cardinal Wolsey, who counseled the king before him. But as Mantel (Beyond Black ) reminds us, Cromwell was a man of many parts, admirable in many respects though disturbing in others. Above all, he got things done and was deeply loyal to his masters, first Wolsey and then the king. Nor was Henry always bloated and egomaniacal: well into his forties, when in good spirits, the king shone brighter than all those around him. VERDICT: Longlisted for the Booker Prize, this is in all respects a superior work of fiction, peopled with appealing characters living through a period of tense high drama: Henry’s abandonment of wife and church to marry Anne Boleyn. It should appeal to many readers, not just history buffs. And Mantel achieves this feat without violating the historical record! There will be few novels this year as good as this one.” David Keymer, Modesto, CA –David Keymer (Reviewed September 15, 2009) (Library Journal, vol 134, issue 15, p51)

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Thanks for reading,
-George, FTPL

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