Friday 10 April 2020

Book Review: The Mirror and the Light (Wolf Hall #3) by Hilary Mantel (Historical Fiction)

Title: The Mirror and the Light (Wolf Hall #3)
Author: Hilary Mantel
Publisher: Fourth Estate

Publication Date: 5 March 2020
Historical Fiction
Bought Copy


England, May 1536. Anne Boleyn is dead, decapitated in the space of a heartbeat by a hired French executioner. As her remains are bundled into oblivion, Thomas Cromwell breakfasts with the victors. The blacksmith’s son from Putney emerges from the spring’s bloodbath to continue his climb to power and wealth, while his formidable master, Henry VIII, settles to short-lived happiness with his third queen, Jane Seymour.

Cromwell is a man with only his wits to rely on; he has no great family to back him, no private army. Despite rebellion at home, traitors plotting abroad and the threat of invasion testing Henry’s regime to breaking point, Cromwell’s robust imagination sees a new country in the mirror of the future. But can a nation, or a person, shed the past like a skin? Do the dead continually unbury themselves? What will you do, the Spanish ambassador asks Cromwell, when the king turns on you, as sooner or later he turns on everyone close to him?

The Mirror and the Light was a stunning conclusion to Mantel's amazing Wolf Hall trilogy. Once again I got caught up in Thomas' story, even though I knew from having read biographies of him exactly how things were going to go before they happened. Still, it was fascinating to see how Mantel chose to represent his thoughts and feelings during these events. And I do admire her prose style in these works. This is an epic read. Since it was too heavy to hold in bed, I read it a few pages at a time when I had a spare ten minutes during the day, so it took a while, but it was worth the effort. I highly recommend this series to fans of historical fiction, but you'll need to read the books in the correct order to fully appreciate the story and characters. Will she make it an incredible three Man Booker Prize wins with this last installment?

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