Liked It4 of 4 members found this review helpful
“Extraordinarily good. It's riveting, even better than its excellent predecessor "Wolf Hall" and fully worthy of all its accolades and prizes. It seems to me that with these chronicles of Thomas Cromwell and Henry VIII, Mantel's only rival in the realm of historical fiction is Robert Graves with...”see full review » see other reviews »
Didn’t Like It2 of 2 members found this review helpful
“I found "He, Cromwell," which I've renamed the book, to be as riveting as watching paint dry. I have no idea how Mantel has won not one but two Booker Prizes. I hated it.”see full review » see other reviews »
“Better than Wolf Hall, more imaginative prose.”roseofcaststeel wrote this review yesterday. ( reply | permalink ) Was this review helpful? Yes | No
“Brilliant!”Masha wrote this review 2 days ago. ( reply | permalink ) Was this review helpful? Yes | No
“Really enjoyed this book. So different from anything I've read before. Great angle beginning in Sept. of 1535. King Henry VIII has been married to Anne Boleyn for just under 3 years and she has born a daughter instead of a son. This is Mantel's second book of a trilogy based on the life of Thomas Cromwell and the last weeks leading up to Queen Anne Boleyn's execution. Mantel is a master at creating a realistic world of political nuance.”C M.T. Stibbe wrote this review 11 days ago. ( reply | permalink ) Was this review helpful? Yes | No
“I liked Bring up the Bodies much more than Wolf Hall! It was an easier and a more pleasant read. You can see Hilary Mantel took to heart the criticism about her use of "he" in her previous novel. She used it far less in this one and on some occasions when she did use it she made sure to mention "he, Cromwell". ”Roxana C wrote this review 3 weeks ago. ( reply | permalink ) Was this review helpful? Yes | No
“The second book of Hilary Mantel's trilogy of Henry VIII's Tudor court as chronicled by Thomas Cromwell is even better than Wolf Hall. This volume takes place over the nine month period when Henry first decides to rid himself of Anne Boleyn and her beheading in May 1536. It's brilliantly written, intriguing, and horrifying at the same time.
Bring Up the Bodies starts off slowly but quickly picks up steam. This is where we see Cromwell approaching his height of power. He's been given the task of ridding Henry of Anne so he can marry the modest and obedient Jane Seymour. Told in third person from Cromwell's perspective, Hilary Mantel takes Cromwell from the villain he has always been portrayed to a multi-layered, complex, and charismatic man. She continues to make the reader see Cromwell as realistic, sympathetic, witty and sardonic. In Bring Up the Bodies we learn more about Cromwell's past and how he's turned into the man he has become. The memories of his dead wife and daughters continue to haunt him.
Mantel makes the last half of the book incredibly exciting. Her writing brilliantly captures the vulnerability of Anne’s last moments. The sections describing her walk to the gallows are very powerfully written and even though you know how it's going to end you are still captivated.
The way we see Cromwell entrap those accused of being the queen's lovers is masterful. He's especially subtle in getting secrets against Anne from her unhappy ladies-in-waiting. Cromwell can be coldly ruthless, especially in the interrogations of the men accused of multiple counts of adultery with Anne. Cromwell makes it clear that eliminating Anne was necessary because that's what Henry wanted. I never got the impression Cromwell knew or cared whether or not she was guilty. It was a two fold mission: make Henry happy and get some revenge on behalf of Cardinal Wolsey.
Mantel did correct the pronoun problem she had in Wolf Hall where it was sometimes unclear which “he” she was referring to. In this book she has “he, Cromwell” or “he, Henry”. I'm not sure why she didn't just say “Cromwell” or “Henry” but I didn't find it to be a problem with the flow of the narrative.
Wolf Hall ends with the execution of Thomas More. Bring Up the Bodies ends with Anne's beheading. I can't wait for the final book even though I know it will end with the execution of a man Machiavelli could admire.
“I didn't think this one was nearly as good as the first one. It seemed to drag and be lacking in plot. In all it could have been better but was just average. ”Mrs. Slocombe wrote this review 4 weeks ago. ( reply | permalink ) Was this review helpful? Yes | No
“Even better than Wolf Hall, Bring Up the Bodies focuses on a short period where the king is looking to replace Anne Boleyn with Jane Seymour. The dialogue is absolutely cracking - a real pleasure to read. ”Sootika wrote this review Friday, November 8, 2013. ( reply | permalink ) Was this review helpful? Yes | No
“Even better than wolf hall. ”Kathleen M. Budacki wrote this review Thursday, October 31, 2013. ( reply | permalink ) Was this review helpful? Yes | No
“This was more like a 3.5 stars book for me. I did like it, given that this wasn't a typical genre for me, but at the same time it tumbled along at such a pace that it was difficult to really grasp what was happening (the details, I mean). The women characters are rather horribly portrayed and that left a bad taste in my mouth. If, however, you're not usually keen on reading up on your history or this time period, this is a good book for you to get your fix. It's fast paced and it has a level of depth to it that really brings out the time period.”a stor(e)y wrote this review Thursday, October 24, 2013. ( reply | permalink ) Was this review helpful? Yes | No
“Thomas Cromwell's career continues in this next installment. While Wolf Hall focused on the fall of Katherine and the rise of Anne, this novel is about Anne's disgrace and ultimate execution.
I love the author's writing and story-telling ability. This novel is expertly researched and vivid. The character of Cromwell leaps off the page. Loved it! ”