Wolf Hall by Hilary Mantel ~Audiobook Review~

When I was in college I got my degree in European History. One of my senior papers was on The Pilgrimage of Grace that occurred during the reign of Henry VIII. I will read anything about Tudor history. It is such a turbulent time period. So I figured that Wolf Hall by Hilary Mantel would have me hooked. The book focuses on the perspective of Thomas Cromwell. He begins his career as a lawyer and then soon rises to become an advisor to Cardinal Wolsey. However, Henry VIII can turn on someone in an instant. With Wolsey not being able to secure his divorce from Katherine of Aragon, his demise begins. Normally, this would taint all those surrounding Wolsey, but Cromwell rises from the ashes and soon becomes an important part of the English Reformation. The only problem is making enemies with the wrong people.

As I said, I figured I would be hooked. WRONG. How could a historical fiction or in this case, a historical narrative be so boring? I don’t use that word lightly when it comes to book reviews. This is one of the most intense periods in history and I could not care about anything that was happening in this story. I have a degree in this time period. I studied this period in London and have been to all the places that are in this book. I wanted to feel immersed in this story, feel the same anxieties that the characters feel. Everyone in Henry VIII’s court was in danger. Say one wrong thing or make one wrong enemy and it was over. But I just felt annoyed and bored.

First of all, Cromwell is such a dull character for someone who had such an intimate relationship with so many prominent characters. Second, it felt as if all the important events happen behind the scenes. Something would happen and it was discussed by other characters who were witnesses, instead of actually portraying the scene. Then there is the issue I had with the writing in general. It is amazing how many times the author used “he” but would not refer to “he” was. So from an audiobook standpoint, it became confusing. I must say that the narrator, Simon Slater did a fantastic job with this story. I did find out that Dan Stevens also narrates another edition. That actually tempted me to pick up books two and three of this series. But, it just isn’t for me. So I rate this book 2 out of 5 stars. I do see that it worked for so many people and I am glad that others have enjoyed it.

One thought on “Wolf Hall by Hilary Mantel ~Audiobook Review~

  1. Very thorough review! I have been thinking I need to read Wolf Hall because it is so legendary in the historical fiction world. Glad to know I haven’t been missing out!

    Liked by 1 person

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