Hilary Mantel Harper Collins
THIS is historical fiction for the serious reader and a real treat for fans of Tudor times.
It’s not a light read. It needs time and attention, and a small passion for history; or more specifically, the reign of Henry VIII and the story of Thomas Cromwell.
I know very little from this period and I found it a bit of a struggle to keep up with names and events.
It’s not a slowly paced story by any means; you just need to give it the time it deserves. I couldn’t do it justice by trying to read it on the bus, sandwiched between a stockbroker and a loud- mouthed tourist. I needed a quiet corner with no interruptions – and that included meals.
Some may find Mantel’s use of “he” hard at first, but there’s a rhythm to it. “He” is Cromwell, brought alive, his actions not necessarily justified, but explained in a sense that aligns the people and the purpose.
It’s hard to describe the understanding that comes with putting this book down. I may not pick up the second until I’ve had a better look at the history books, but I’m damn glad I’ve done the first.