Book Review: Wolf Hall by Hilary Mantel

Wolf Hall Hilary Mantel


A fellow bookworm friend has regularly raved about Wolf Hall. She finally treated me to my very own copy and I couldn’t wait to get started and see what all the fuss was about.

You would have to have been hibernating to have not heard of the wonderful accolades given to Hilary Mantel for both Wolf Hall its sequel Bring up the Bodies, both winners of the Man Booker Prize. I am yet to read Bring up the Bodies but Wolf Hall deserves all the praise and more.

I love to mix up my reading and do love a bit of history. What I love about history based fiction books is that you get to understand a bit of history without reading a dry history book. Wolf Hall focuses around the time and times of Thomas Cromwell and how he rises from a lowborn childhood to becoming Henry VIII’s most influential (and powerful!) courtiers.

I must admit, my knowledge of the Tudors is pretty sketchy so Wolf Hall perfectly fills the gaps and brings that period to life. It is so full of intrigue and Mantel really brings to life, quite frankly, the horrors of that time. It is fascinating to gather a picture of what London and in fact, England was like in those times, the relationship with the church and Europe and the structure of society in Tudor times.

Mantel’s writing is fabulous, with a book like this it is the little details that really help to give you the image of the time and she does this perfectly, fliting between the wider issues of world relations, wars, horrific executions and the separation from the church to the description of the food, clothes and homes of these amazing characters.

Wolf Hall is a monster of a book, a real epic, just the kind of book I adore. I literally could not put this book down and must confess to developing a little book crush on Cromwell. I felt so lost when I had finished this wonderful journey into 1535 and can’t wait to start Bring up the Bodies.

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