Hilary Mantel: The Mirror and the Light

The latest addition to my website is Hilary Mantel‘s The Mirror and the Light, the brilliant conclusion to her trilogy about Thomas Cromwell, the adviser to Henry VIII. The novel starts and ends with two beheadings. It opens with the beheading of Anne Boleyn and ends with Cromwell’s own beheading, some four years later. In the meantime, we have seen Cromwell, a mixture of kind-heartedness towards to those in trouble and ruthless antagonism towards his and Henry VIII’s enemies, show cunning and skill in manoeuvring to make sure Henry’s will is observed but, at the same time, making numerous enemies, including being hated by many of the ordinary people, as well as the powerful lords, the latter taking full advantage of his weakness when the marriage of Henry to Anne of Cleves goes very wrong. Mantel gives us a superb and complex portrait of a man whom history has not looked upon favourably but whom she clearly respects and admires, despite his many faults.

2 Replies to “Hilary Mantel: The Mirror and the Light”

  1. I love reading historical books, especially from this time period. I’ll add this one too to my never ending reading list. I hope I can get to it this year. Thanks for sharing! =)

  2. It will be really interesting to see if this book works: Although both of the other books are about Thomas Cromwell, the drama and story are provided by Anne Boleyn. Without her, I don’t know if it will measure up. Will certainly give it a chance

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