Amused by Books and Gerbera Daisy Diaries are hosting a Wolf Hall Read-a-thon. What a brilliant idea!! This has serendipitously coincided with my decision to read Wolf Hall so I have decided to participate in the read-a-thon because I felt a bit daunted by the book. So the aim is to read 100 pages a week, quite an achievable goal, and so far, I'm on track!! Fabulous!!
So my initial fear of reading Wolf Hall has been completely unfounded, yes it is a big book, yes it is set in the 1500's, yes it has about 1500 characters (with a list of characters in the beginning, a foreboding sign), and yes it won the Booker Prize, but for once, I am finding these all endearing attributes!! I thought I would really struggle through this book but am finding reading it a breeze.
I love the atmosphere in this book. There is something ever so wonderful about England in the 1500's, well England at all, and I just feel it. I can feel the early darkness, the candlelight, the cobblestones, the cardinal's robes, the barge travel. Everything is alive in this book. I don't feel like I am reading a historical novel here, the language flows and is easy to understand, the story is littered with real life characters and despite my poor historical knowledge, I know enough to be excited by where this book is heading.
My only criticism of this book so far is that all the characters seem to be called Thomas. Thomas Cromwell, Thomas More, Thomas Wosely, Thomas Boleyn... I find I have to keep flicking back to remind myself which Thomas is which!! However this cannot be a criticism of Hilary Mantel, or her book, simply a criticism of Tudor England, a time in which the glossary of baby names consisted of a mere 6! Thomas, Henry, George, Elizabeth, Anne and Mary.
I also find it funny what the characters look like in my head. Due to the vast representation of these characters in various media, my visualisation of them is a mish-mash of historical art and popular culture. This results in this Henry VIII:
Image from here
dancing at Court with this Anne Boleyn:
Image from here
I'm very much looking forward to the next 100 pages. This read-a-thon is super cool.