Hilary Mantel, The Mirror & the Light (2020)

Author: Hilary Mantel

Title: The Mirror & the Light

Format: Hardcover

Pages: 883

Series: Thomas Cromwell #3

“We have all read the sermons. We could write them ourselves. But we are vain and ambitious all the same, and we never do live quiet, because we rise in the morning and we feel the blood coursing in our veins and we think, by the Holy Trinity, whose head can I stamp on today? What worlds are at hand, for me to conquer?”

The Mirror & the Light, the grand finale of Mantel’s Thomas Cromwell trilogy, is, like the two previous books, a precious and unique tour de force. I say this without hesitation: to me, this trilogy constitutes the best of what Western literature of the last several decades has to offer. It’s a true modern classic; a required reading that I cannot recommend highly enough. I have read Wolf Hall and Bring Up the Bodies before this blog was even an idea, so I haven’t written reviews for them and I doubt I will anytime soon – definitely not before a reread, and these are books that require a lot of effort and attention to be fully appreciated 😉; what I can say here is that all three deserve the highest praise as rare masterpieces.

That said, The Mirror & the Light is not a perfect book; I will write more about that later. I believe it is slightly less powerful, less predatory, more sated and nostalgic, and thus, in effect, less awe-inspiringly raw and furious than Bring Up the Bodies, and yet it delivers on all its promises and the promises of its predecessors, and more. Most importantly, it achieves the goal of its brazen, reckless, insanely staggering and yet somehow inevitable ambition: it rewrites and reevaluates the history of Henry VIII while recreating the true history (inasmuch as any history can be true) of Thomas Cromwell, showing them both as living, breathing men. Mantel’s judgment on them both is rooted firmly in thoroughly researched historical evidence; but the pleasure with which she destroys the myths of the enlightened king and the villainous servant is all her own – and the readers’. There’s even more than that: Mantel brings this long-gone past back to light so that we could see ourselves in its unforgiving, ruthlessly honest mirror. It’s not about crass one-to-one comparisons of plague and covid-19, of religious persecutions or even the complex push-and-pull of the Britain’s relationship with continental Europe. What Mantel shows us, compassionately, expertly, are raw emotions, fervent beliefs, various psychological mechanisms, and the grinding inevitability of outcomes in the fight between an individual and the system.

The Mirror & the Light shows Cromwell at the peak of his power; though it is a lie. I should rather say that it shows Cromwell and everyone around him believing he’s at the peak of his power; what we really see, however, is that this peak already contains the inescapability of the subsequent fall. It’s a cliff’s edge, and there’s no other way than down for those who had been so elevated. For we all know how this story ends – and Mantel paints richly the canvas of the late years of Cromwell with the unsettling dark hues of foreboding. The Mirror & the Light is the most introspective of the three novels; filled with memories and reminiscence, showing the slow inexorable fall from grace in a series of elusive, impressionistic scenes between Henry and Cromwell, Cromwell and Chapuys, Holbein, various British aristocrats, priests, spies, ambassadors and even an imagined daughter, it puts Thomas Cromwell at the heart of all: his worldview, his beliefs, his plans and his continuous, stubborn striving. His delusions, too, and his foibles – after all, he is human, as human as they come. Mantel doesn’t try to gild him, or geld him, for that matter: Cromwell at any point of his life, from the humble, cruel beginnings till the tragic, cruel end, remains an incredibly intelligent, knowledgeable, dangerous, power-hungry, and ruthless man.

“She sees the king’s councillor: a genial man, comfortable in his skin. She doesn’t see the other man, whom he keeps short-chained to the wall: the man for whom the work of forgetting is strenuous, who dreams of dungeons, cavities and oubliettes. Such men are subject to uprushes of fear which wake them in the night; when they are frightened, they laugh.”

Mantel’s Cromwell is a paradox, an enigma made relatable and comprehensible to us by the miracle of empathy. He is a man of our times. He is eminently intellectually curious, self-conscious and full of knowledge about himself and the world that we seem to have gained only in these last centuries; as such, he might be a construct, built upon the foundations of the scant original sources comprehended through an entirely, unavoidably modern lens. And yet, he is also patently a child of his own times: an avid reader of both the Bible and Machiavelli’s The Prince, self-assured and brash and grasping, always hungry for more, always mindful of the price and the value of power; in short, he is a child of the Reformation, the fated consequence of Renaissance’s turn toward the Man. But within that all, at his core, he remains a mystery: as much to himself as to us. He remains forever “He, Cromwell,” not “I, Cromwell;” he can only be perceived through the lens of someone else’s vision, a masterful composite of the complex, ambiguous past and our very present longings and dreams, fears and furies. And that, I’d argue, is the strength and the allure of his person: we can see ourselves in him, or, at very least, we can comprehend him as a fellow human being. Where he differs from us is his knowledge of Henry and the court; he knows the name and the rules of the game intimately; he knows the stakes.

“He thinks, that was Anne Boleyn’s mistake. She took Henry for a man like other men. Instead of what he is, and what all princes are: half god, half beast.”

Some readers expressed their disappointment with the conclusion of this novel; that the true end of Thomas Cromwell is so short compared to the length of the whole; that he seems oblivious to the dangers that seem to crowd him at every turn. I disagree with this opinion; I feel that Mantel showed the paradox of living under an absolute rule with enviable subtlety and precision:

“’I have often pitied you, Cremuel,’ Chapuys says. ‘Henry is a man of great endowments, lacking only consistency, reason and sense.”

By the time Henry turned on him Cromwell was much too entrenched in the courtly life to simply up the stakes and go; thus his meekness at the very end was the inevitable result of his deep, consummate knowledge of the process he himself helped establish. For him, it was not just his life at stake; on the contrary, his life, in the strategic long-term view, was the least important element of the whole puzzle in which the lives of his son and nephew, of his proteges and friends, of the members of his extensive household that he valued so much higher than his own were inextricably entangled with his own behaviour. Were he to assure their survival, he had to forfeit his own life – the beast that was Henry had to be sated.

“He has lived by the laws he has made and must be content to die by them. But the law is not an instrument to find out truth. It is there to create a fiction that will help us move past atrocious acts and face our future. It seems there is no mercy in this world, but a kind of haphazard justice: men pay for crimes, but not necessarily their own.”

I missed the bared claws and teeth of Bring Up the Bodies a little; The Mirror & the Light is smooth and soft when compared to the vicious naked survivalist ambition of its predecessor. In The Mirror & the Light Cromwell becomes one of the fat cats he fought against his whole life; in name, and in nature. He becomes less careful – but nobody can be vigilant all the time; he becomes more nostalgic, steeped in memories more than in the present – but he was many years past his prime, having survived his wife and daughters, three queens, countless priests and abbots and saints, aristocrats and ambassadors. So this change in tone is in a way inevitable – it shows the arc of Cromwell’s life, and it is arcs’ essence that they go down once they reached their peak. And yet this tomcat still has his claws; Cromwell’s observations remain sharp and lethal, as always.

“His displeasure! I am sure I have displeased him, he thinks. Look how he steamed and glared, that day I took a holiday. Look how he pawed the ground and rolled his eyes. That is what Henry does. He uses people up. He takes all they give him and more. When he is finished with them he is noisier and fatter and they are husks or corpses.”

The one false note for me in The Mirror & the Light is the presence of the purported Cromwell’s daughter Jenneke, whose character Mantel based on few historical mentions of Cromwell’s possible out-of-wedlock progeny. I don’t feel Jenneke’s short appearance brings anything to the story; on the contrary, it introduces a touch of mushiness that’s out of tune with the rest of the book. Apart from this little criticism, however, I have nothing for The Mirror & the Light but the highest praise.

This review is extremely long already; let me conclude it with a few sentences about Mantel’s complete mastery of writing. Her skill is undeniable; she creates and destroys moods and worlds with single words and sentences, evoking the scenes before our eyes with impeccable detail and nuance. She engenders a wealth of emotions in the reader; there’s a reason it took me so long to finish this novel – I was deeply reluctant to do it. And yet, she as an author remains transparent; hidden behind her characters, subtly making her own presence known through the delicate placement of accents and emphases. She writes about Thomas Cromwell and Henry VIII and days of the past, and yet at the same time she about us and our modern times. And this timelessness, this universality of what it means to be human, is what makes Mantel’s Thomas Cromwell trilogy so powerful, so important, and so everlasting.

Score: 10/10

53 thoughts on “Hilary Mantel, The Mirror & the Light (2020)

  1. Reading such a well-written and enthusiastic review like this makes me want to forget my current reading plans and pick up the first book in this trilogy right now! I love reading reviews where the reviewer has had this kind of reading experience, and is able to put into words why they enjoyed the book(s) so much. Are you a fan of historical “fiction,” or was it these specific books that impressed you so much, Ola?

    Liked by 4 people

    1. Thank you, Wakizashi! 😀 My job is done, then 🙂

      I do like historical fiction quite a lot, actually, provided it’s thoroughly researched and respectful of the source material. As with any other fiction, I guess – I just don’t like lazy writing 😉 I do love history, though, and read a fair share of history (especially social history) books, too, so maybe that’s the reason for my fondness.

      I have a series I enjoy a lot, Bernard Cornwell’s Saxon Stories (which formed the basis for The Last Kingdom TV series). These are great books, full of drama and historical details, very convincing and well written. But Mantel’s Cromwell trilogy is in a different league entirely, at least for me. It’s just so wonderfully written! You can see right away it’s not a book written for money (and unfortunately, I have the impression that so many of SF/fantasy books these days are written mostly for that reason, safe and lazy and boring); for Mantel it was a story that needed to be told, that simply couldn’t have been not told.

      Liked by 4 people

      1. I’ve heard from both you and Bart (at “Weighing A Pig”) that these books are very good, so I will be trying Wolf Hall soon. I was intrigued to see that Wolf Hall has received some fairly scathing reviews as well as the many positive ones. Some readers complained about the writing style as well as the characters being a bit lifeless. They have only made me more curious to read Mantel’s books, and I will let you know what I think:-)

        Yes, Bernard Cornwell is another writer I need to check out. I remember you mentioning his Arthurian books before. I will get there one day. Why can’t we have more time for reading?.. I know the answer, we need to make the time, right?

        Liked by 1 person

        1. I honestly have no idea how Wolf Hall could come across as lifeless.. 🧐 maybe because it’s third person omniscient narrative but with elements of first person? Mantel writes about Cromwell’s reactions and thoughts in this peculiar form of “he, Cromwell” which makes for a fascinating bit of somewhat clinical distance – maybe this was something the readers found difficult to relate to?

          Anyway, I’m very happy that Bart and I managed to convince you to give this trilogy a try – from what I know of your reading preferences I can promise you that won’t regret it! 😁 …And if you do, it’s all your fault! 🤣

          Yes, Cornwell’s Saxon Stories is a great series and I can heartily recommend it. They are thankfully shorter than Mantel, but on the other hand there’s about sixteen books in the series… 😉 Oh, the time!

          Well, I know how hard it can be to make the time for reading – it means you simply have to resign from doing something else, and reading is in essence a very solitary activity… So my solution is to read only the good books and not waste time on the mediocre or outright bad! 😁

          Liked by 1 person

          1. Sorry, Ola, I totally missed this comment. 😣 Thanks for your reply. Did you say 16(!) books in Cornwell’s Saxon series? Wow! That’s an impressive output.

            I’m aiming to read Wolf Hall over my winter break, so will let you know how “lifeless” I find it 😉. From the sample I scanned, it looks very good.

            Liked by 2 people

            1. No worries, Wakizashi – glad you found it! 😀

              My bad, 13! Nearly one book a year, I believe? The first was published in 2004, and the grand finale this year.

              Oh, I’m very happy to hear that!!! 🤩 I’ll be very much looking forward to reading your thoughts on Wolf Hall!

              Liked by 2 people

  2. Can’t say I was aware of Thomas Cromwell (insomuch as he was an ancestor of Oliver Cromwell), nor have I heard of this trilogy (I think). But I’m glad you liked it! And I’ll have to add it to my TBR! Which is… long. But anyway, I have a question: you read this this year? How long ago did you read the others?

    Liked by 3 people

    1. Oh, I envy you the pleasure of reading these for the first time! 😀
      The Mirror and the Light I finished a few days ago. The previous books… Bring Up the Bodies I remember finishing in late 2012, possibly December. Wolf Hall possibly in 2009 or 2010. They made an impression 😀

      Liked by 2 people

        1. I remember all books I’ve read, I’m weird that way 😅 But here it also helps that the last book starts exactly where the previous one ended – I believe the two last pages might have been repeated verbatim, easing the reader into the new book as if the previous one ended merely a second ago. It’s just very powerful literature!

          Liked by 2 people

  3. piotrek

    Great review of books I need to read… but I have too many huge historical novels on my bookshelves already, these will have to wait… but there’s this great boxed edition… we’ll see 😉

    Liked by 4 people

  4. A phantastic review of a phantastic book (and trilogy).

    Have you read Diarmaid MacCulloch’s biography of Thomas Cromwell? I’ve found it to be excellent companion literature — basically because it follows a similar approach, in not taking anything we think we know about Cromwell for granted (he destroys quite a few myths by the simple but painstaking expedient of going back to an analysis of the actual source material), and also because it’s by far the most in-depth and well-informed analysis of Cromwell’s policies and legacy.

    I’m still not sure I would have enjoyed actually meeting him, but Mantel and MacCulloch between them show just what a complex, multi-faceted personality he was, and for that reason alone the stereotypical vilification he suffered in the centuries after his death was probably the greatest disservice anybody could do him. And Henry VIII seems to have agreed … within 6 months of Cromwell’s execution he was railing against his courtiers who had talked him into it, and said something to the effect of “One ounce of him was worth more than the lot of you taken together.” Ah, well, Henry … 🧐

    Liked by 3 people

    1. I haven’t read the biography yet, but read somewhere that Mantel was in close contact with McCulloch throughout her writing of the trilogy. His biography of Cromwell is on my list mainly because of that 😉 but I’m delighted to read it’s just as good!
      I’m under a very strong impression that Cromwell was an incredibly driven and dangerous man. I think you couldn’t have been anything else in those incredibly dangerous times – Henry was after all a man who throughout his entire life never heard “no.” Whoever opposed him ended dead.
      I actually read that he was openly regretting killing Cromwell a few weeks afterwards, calling him “his most trusted servant.”
      Ah, yes. Villification of Cromwell is so interesting in itself, as a case in how aristocracy had been shaping British culture and history for centuries. An early example of successful misinformation campaign!

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Well, arguably Cromwell wasn’t the first person on whom the Tudors (and those in the aristocracy closely allied with them) tried their propaganda box of tricks — they’d had over half a century’s worth of practice by that time, if you start with the fact that Henry VII dated his reign from the day *before* Bosworth and thus made every single one of his opponents in battle traitors to the crown with a single stroke of the pen. (For the record, I’m not “anti-Tudor”, whatever that is; in fact, I’m fascinated by them for their sheer soap opera value alone, but it’s useful on occasion to remember that there is more to them than Gloriana and Henry VIII’s six wives, and by far not all of it is pretty.)

        As for Cromwell, I agree that he was driven — he had to be, to accomplish as much as he did in as short a period of time (not much more than 15 years for his key policies), and he was doubtlessly dangerous to his enemies, as necessarily all who managed to stay in power in those days had to be. As for “dangerous, period” … I’ll be curious what you think about that after you’ve read MacCulloch’s biography. 🙂 (One thing I certainly hadn’t known before was how many of the legal and parliamentary customs still in practice in England / Britain today — not merely in procedure but also in substance — were introduced by Cromwell. It’s really a fascinating book. Incredibly fact-packed, yet surprisingly easy to follow.)

        Liked by 2 people

        1. Oh, I’m quite anti-autocratic in general; and as it happens, Tudors were quite an autocratic lot 😉 Fascinating, yes, but also very, very scary – a bunch of utterly spoiled, ruthless, rather sociopathic immature cutthroats who happened to paved their way to the throne with the heads of their enemies.

          Yes, I was surprised by the endurance of Cromwell’s legacy, too – it’s high time Britain actually acknowledged this debt.

          Oh, you made me so curious of MacCulloch’s Cromwell biography that I already ordered it from my library! 😄

          Liked by 1 person

          1. Oooh, hooray re: the library order! 🙂 I do hope you’re going to enjoy it.

            And, yes, Henry VIII was definitely not the only (nor the first) representative of the Tudor dynasty who has to account for a lot more than eliminating a whopping five women by marriage — even leaving aside the whole feud with Rome or the dissolution of the monasteries.

            That said, it’s really a shame to what extent the “six wives” and Elizabeth I have come to overshadow the other Tudor and late Plantagenet women. I’ve been looking into some of their histories lately (Elizabeth of York Margaret Pole, etc.) … often their lives are as indicative, or even more so, of their times, and of Tudor and Plantagenet England / society, as are those of the Annes, Katherines, and of course the “virgin” redhead … and they come across as at least as interesting personalities. And yet, few people even seem to be aware of their existence.

            Liked by 1 person

            1. Something in Henry’s story captures the public attention – maybe it’s the similarity with Bluebeard! And on the other hand, England for centuries had been very proud of Henry as an epitome of English independence, viewing his spat with Rome as the beginning of imperial greatness. I wonder how much of Henry’s legend formed the basis of Brexit mentality… But I am not very forgiving to Henry 😉 I prefer to give due to real architects of change – Cromwell and his compatriots – than to Henry who seemed mostly interested in himself.

              I find it curious that the lens of 18th and 19th century changed the way we see feudal history, giving inordinate amount of space to men – usually, if there were women mentioned, it was always in relation to their men. But in fact, Middle Ages and Renaissance especially were full of powerful women – we just start rediscovering them after a period of neglect.

              Like

  5. Awesome review! This kind of book – no matter how much attention and concentration it requires – is what makes history fascinating, bringing it to life in a way that history books in school never managed. I don’t know if I will ever find the time – and the mindspace – to enjoy these as they deserve (never say never, though…) but I will keep them in mind as a gift for a friend who is a history buff and enjoys losing herself in this time period.
    Thanks for sharing! 🙂

    Liked by 3 people

    1. Thanks for reading, Maddalena! 😊
      These are wondrous! And you’re right, they just let one slip into the history as into a story, a narrative – which in effect all history is ( though school books seem to have forgotten that fact!).
      I’m quite envious of your lucky friend right now 😂😂😂

      Liked by 1 person

  6. A beautifully written and, it seems, honest appraisal of this novel: you sell it so well, Ola, that I feel somewhat guilty that I haven’t ywt read it or even the preceding two volumes. Should I? Yes, probably. Will I? Probably not. But there will be so many other classics, ancient and modern, that I will never get round to, and I have enough already waiting to last me two lifetimes at least.

    I’ve read just one Mantel, Beyond Black and was gripped by it; I’ve no doubt I will read more, but blockbusters I find daunting, however worthy they are. And this does sound beyond worthwhile.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. I’m always honest, Chris – that’s what gets me in trouble! 😄
      It’s a worthy read indeed, the whole trilogy and probably McCulloch’s biography as a companion book as well 😉 I think you’d find this especially enlightening on the very timely matters of religion, persecution, autocratic regimes and misinformation campaigns.

      So however wary (and rightly so!) you may be of bestsellers or blockbusters, Mantel’s Cromwell trilogy might be actually worth your while, Chris 😁

      Liked by 1 person

  7. What a tempting review. I’ve also loved the first two books, so this is one I do plan to read – though goodness knows when… except that you’ve now given me an added impetuous to nudge one or two others aside. A novel that inspires one to read slowly does sound special.

    Liked by 1 person

  8. S.D. McKinley

    Sounds like you really got ahold of something here, and I respect that! 😁 Keep up the reading kids, adults and in betweeners. It makes your brain bright. See you next time on Reading Rainbow. /Jk

    All jokes aside I’m glad you enjoyed but I honestly would take some coercing to get into something like this. 🧐 -S.D, the audacious wanderer of rebel insights and mantle protections.

    This is a little off topic. But I went to Shark Tank and pitched an invention idea. Would you believe it? The invention was a “Here, ye. Here, ye, TV, TV” and then a little projector on train tracks in the attic comes right along, to the room you projected your voice from, saying “Here, ye. Here, ye TV, TV” to activate it, then it projects a nice little image on your wall for your viewing pleasure. Seems Like a good one, no? 😂😂😂

    Liked by 1 person

    1. No coercion here, S.D.! It’s a wonderful book but like any other it may be not for everyone, so don’t feel pressured to read it 😉

      The projector train does sound nice, but I prefer my projector already in the room and ready to use 😉 I’d be biting my fingers every time it would wobble on the tracks on the way to the room, and thus my thirst for adrenaline would be sated even before watching any movie!

      Liked by 1 person

  9. buriedinprint

    She’s such an accomplished writer; I’ve read some of her earlier books and finally read Wolf Hall the summer before last, having thought I’d read Bring up the Bodies this past summer (but with library restrictions and having other research to gather there even when they were reopened fully for a time) this summer and the conclusion in the next (when there would be more reasonable hold lists). I do understand the complaints (the pacing, the language, the fictionalizing of historical figures) but those are all the things that I love about the book. It did make a brief appearance on BIP when I first started reading it years ago but, when I actually read it over that summer, I was just too swept away to say anything at all. 😀

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Exactly! I don’t mind the pacing at all, I feel it really aptly mirrors the real life, when you make decisions every day and you never know which one will be the one that truly matters. You can only rationalize the choices post factum and only afterwards see where they have taken you. You can only look back and consider if you could have made a different decision at some point or other.

      Yes, these books have this effect! 😀 I only wrote down some of the quotes I loved during reading, and wrote the whole review afterwards. I’d be very curious to read your thoughts on these books – could you send me a link to your Wolf Hall post?

      Liked by 1 person

      1. buriedinprint

        YES, to all of this! In that year I was reading nominees for the Women’s Fiction Prize, and I wrote about starting Wolf Hall here: http://www.buriedinprint.com/beginning-wolf-hall/ But in a later post, I complained about not being able to haul it on my daily commute (I was working in a relatively remote part of the city and had to take food and stuff for the day) and even though I was still enjoying the book, I hadn’t finished. Then, there’s nothing. And I know I didn’t finish, because that didn’t happen until summer 2019, when I didn’t write about it at all. (Once upon a time, I used to post about every book I read, but I also used to read fewer books.) So I guess it took me nine years to finish and I should have had more to say about that. Hrumph.

        Liked by 2 people

        1. Thank you for the link, for once I was able to comment without any problems (though not like, for some reason it’s either one or the other ;)).
          No worries! I’m sure you’ll have a lot to say about the subsequent ones! 😀

          Liked by 2 people

  10. I feel utterly ashamed of myself for not having read this author yet. I love historical fiction and this period in particular. What is wrong with me! I’m obviously afraid to be happy. Lol. One day.
    Lynn 😀

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Oh, you’re in for a treat! I’m almost jealous! 😀 Though I intend to treat myself to this wonderful boxed edition of hardcovers soon… 🤩 And that will be the time for re-read! 😀

      Like

  11. This was an amazing review! 😍 I saw this Trilogy in bookshops but I never payed attention to it. It is not my cup of tea, I am not a fan of historical books but you made me curious. I don’t know if I would ever read this one, but I would pay more attention to it, that’s for sure! And thanks for sharing, reading your words was a pleasure!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you, Susy! 😊
      Yes, it’s very much historical fiction, slow and meandering, so might not be everyone’s perfect read. But if you ever do pick these books up, let me know! I’d be curious to know what you think! 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

  12. I’ve had this on my TBR since it came out. Your review is an urgent kick in the butt to start it. It’s just that I dread longer books these days. Long reviews on the other hand… 🙂

    Good to know you liked it so much, and also that it’s different enough from the previous two.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Yes, it is a behemoth, almost 900 pages! But the good news is that it can be read slowly, a bit at a time – a book for a connoisseur, in other words 😉

      I’ll be looking forward to reading your thoughts on it one day! 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

  13. A stunning and beautifully-written review as always, Ola! It’s even more impressive to see it get the full score when it isn’t exactly flawless, per se! I definitely didn’t have this trilogy on my list of things to read but your praise for it has definitely made me more conscious of its existence now! 😀

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Thank you, Lashaan! 😀

      Well, I sure would love to read your thoughts on it, but I do realize it’s not exactly your usual cup of tea.

      I think part of the reading pleasure here stems from the historical context – it all had happened, one way or another, and seeing Mantel rewriting the common understanding of history is just immensely gratifying. Cromwell deserved such revision, based not on slander and gossip but on actual historical evidence. And she uses that evidence to bring him to life, to grant him our modern virtues and vices and understanding, and it’s amazing to see this connection between someone dead for the last four centuries and ourselves.

      Plus, as BIP mentioned, it’s eye-opening to see how many of Cromwell’s laws and ideas are still in use in Britain.

      Have I sold it well enough for you, Lashaan? 😉

      Liked by 2 people

  14. Wow, that is a very impressive review! I thoroughly enjoyed reading your opinions, but I still doubt I will pick it up. For some reason, even if I enjoy historical fiction, I find it difficult to relate to history dating this far back. It was the same in history lessons in school. Also, the length of this trilogy is intimidating, to put it mildly. I am glad you enjoyed it so much, I really felt your enthusiasm radiating from your review.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Thank you! 😀

      Yeah, I think this type of literature seems to work better for some than for others. I’d say that Mantel did an admirable job of making Cromwell absolutely relatable to modern readers, but the length of this trilogy is indeed impressive, and there are lots of historical details that for me make the whole thing all the more believable and realistic, but to other readers might just turn out boring 😉

      I did love it immensely, so I’m very happy to hear that this can be felt from my review! 🙂

      Liked by 2 people

    1. Start with Wolf Hall 😀 You already know the premise, and once you get hooked the subsequent books will just flow before your eyes as quickly as your hands will allow… 😉

      I must say I haven’t read any other Mantel books than her Cromwell trilogy, but heard a lot of good things about A Place of Greater Safety. It’s on my TBR, like so many other books, sigh… 😔

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Cool, was even tempted by the adaptations on Broadway, but loved the central relationship in the Wolf Hall series, and would certainly be prepared to delve deeper; bought the book this week, and was mulling a deep dive…thanks for responding!

        Liked by 1 person

        1. You’re very welcome! 😀 I’m happy to spread all the love I can for these books, they’re absolutely worth it!

          I heard some rave reviews of the TV series but haven’t watched it yet – from what you wrote I assume you’re recommending it?

          Liked by 1 person

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