I thoroughly enjoyed reading this book, despite there being so much speculation and uncertainty - I suppose that's to be expected when writing a biography of a person about whom very few facts are actually known. It was interesting to see the myths about Mary Boleyn dispelled, which is one of Weir's goals in writing this book, and I enjoyed reading about her children and husbands. Weir is always very readable and this book was definitely no exception. I found much to admire in Mary Boleyn, even if there is still a lot about her that we don't know.
I've thoroughly enjoyed reading Alison Weir's other historical novels so was a little disappointed with this one. The intertwining stories of Katherine Grey and Kate Plantagenet were interesting but the structure felt a little contrived. It was almost as if Weir was forcing a connection between the two women when really it would have been enough to focus either of them separately. I did enjoy Weir's portrayal of some of the supporting "characters" such as Katherine Grey's mother and obviously, Kate's father, Richard III and reading this while the tests were being done on the skeleton in Leicester made it even more interesting to see this portrayal of him! Overall, I liked the book but I wouldn't say that is was one of Weir's best historical novels.
I really liked the way that this novel was narrated in the plural first person. It kind of created and reinforced a connection between the three sisters, even though at times, the connection seemed broken or nonexistent.
I found this book both extremely compelling and at times, maddening. I loved the overal concept of witches, daemons, and vampires living amongst us and I found the historical detail fascinating. Many characters are also very well drawn and rich, well-developed within this novel but there is clearly much more to know, especially the vampires (presumably their stories will be told over the next two books) and Diana's parents. Harkness, as a historian, has also imbued the novel with lots of wonderful historical detail that doesn't bog down the overall plot or disrupt the pace. That being said, I found the actual writing style difficult at times. Harkness repeatedly refers to characters (usually Matthew) by calling them "the vampire," or "the witch," which became irritating after the first few chapters. I kept on wanting to scream, "Yes! I know Matthew's a vampire! Stop telling me!" (Thankfully, I'm a good few chapters into the next book and the overall writing style is much better!) I also had problems with Diana's character - she's supposed to be so strong but spent most of the book injured, in shock, or in some other way, mostly helpless and completely dependent on others (again, usually Matthew!). The conflicts that she was directly and physically involved with seemed too brief and those characters who are clearly the antagonists seem to be significant but are barely present in this book. Despite the issues that I had, I absolutely loved reading this novel. It was the perfect combination of being a light-read while managing to avoid being "fluffy." The cliff-hanger ending ensured that I ran right out to buy the sequel!
I found this to be interesting and very readable but at times it felt repetitive. There was a lot of focus on prostitution and general sexual scandal through the ages and not really anything much on "mainstream" sex (or whatever passed for mainstream during the various historical ages Arnold covers). As an English major, I found the later chapters on Oscar Wilde's trial and the obscenity trial re. Lady Chatterley's Lover particularly interesting.
I really wanted to like this book more than I did because I've read and enjoyed other novels by Mukherjee but I just couldn't get into this one. I found Anjali/Angie to be insipid and silly and the other characters felt more like caricatures than believable characters . I couldn't understand how Anjali came to be viewed as being an exceptional student by her teacher and I found myself irritated by her seeming inability to function in a large city. It took me a long time to get through this book and, while it did pique my interest more towards the end, I was generally disappointed.
I thought this was a fascinating concept. So often, we focus on the words Shakespeare wrote and little thought is given to the actual physical text. I would have liked to have learned more about how Rasmussen and his team tracked down the copies of the First Folio that they were able to study and catalog but other than that, it was an interesting read.
I found this memoir fascinating but not very rounded. The story of a man's incarceration in a prison that doubled as a home for those afflicted with leprosy was interesting in that I learned much about the disease, how those who suffered from it were treated, and how many misconceptions there are about leprosy. I would have liked to have seen more about how the author took what he learned during his imprisonment and made his post-incarceration life a better one. The book ended when his prison sentence did and other than a brief update, there was nothing to really fill in the fifteen year gap between his release and the book.