Honestly, I wasn t sure what to expect with this book, but I was pleasantly surprised by how much I enjoyed it The comparisions of it to Phillipa Gregory s The Other Boleyn Girl made me leary, as TOBG was frankly boring and lacking in historic context, IMO This book was much better in terms of writing and in storyline, although both novels suffer from an excess of purple prose and bodice ripper itis A serious student of Tudor era history might take exception to the historical inaccuracies, but if you merely want an interesting, fictional account of Mary Boleyn in particular, and the Boleyn family in general, then this is the book to read.Harper s novel spans 2 decades, and covers Mary Boleyn s life from a young girl living at Hever Castle, to the day that her sister, Anne, is executed by Henry VIII Mary, as history tells us, was the Boleyn that shared the bed of 2 powerful kings and paved the way for the power mad Boleyn family s rise to fame and fortune Little is known of Mary, apart from the fact that she didn t seem to be as ambitious or savvy in court ways as her sister However, in the end, she excelled in the one way her sister did not Mary gave birth to 4 children, 2 of them sons. The Last Boleyn A Novel, by Karen Harper, is the story of Mary Boleyn Bullen , Anne Boleyn s older sister Much like The Other Boleyn Girl, by Philippa Gregory, this story describes Mary s life as a pawn in elaborate French and English court intrigue Mary, through her father s political ambitions, is placed in a position where she is pressured to be the mistress of both Francis I and Henry VIII at different times in her life She is married to William Carey, who is also thoroughly embroiled in court politics, and eventually falls for William Stafford, one of the king s right hand men In the story, she watches as Henry puts her aside for her younger sister Anne, and struggles to assert her own independence in a time where that was simply unheard of.What I liked about this book is that it wasn t depressing A lot of historical novels, particularly those centering around women, end up with everyone dead and or brokenhearted This version of Mary Boleyn s story has her grow from an eight year old child to a thirty something woman who is able to negotiate her place in the world, long after she was passed around as a sexual pawn and married off This is not to say that Mary is one of those ridiculously strong, assertive heroines that would be completely out of place in the early 16th century Instead, Mary is, in my humble opinion, a very realistic person she has her own mind and desires, but she is also indelibly marked by her training at court She can be silly and weak and frustrating at times, and she can be independent and bold at others Mary s character often submits to the men in her life, because that is simply what women did in that era but that makes the times where she tells everyone to shove off impressive I found myself wanting her to find her happiness.I thought this book did a great job of telling the Boleyn story without focusing on Anne, although the portrayal of Anne was pretty good she was that classic neglected little sister who overcompensated, and it became the death of her I also liked the portrayal of Henry VIII, as Harper was able to subtly negotiate his transformation from hearty young man on top of the world, to panicked king focused on dynastic succession at any cost All in all, I thought the characters were well done, the story was well told, and if there were any glaring historical inaccuracies, I was too caught up in the book to notice I definitely recommend this book. Great story on Queen Ann s sister who was also mistress of King Henry viii for several years before he married Ann There s information now than 20 years ago on Mary Boleyn She is a very interesting historical figure I wish there was known about her 3 stars because the dates Maybe that s all that was known when it was releasedfor whichever reason they were a bit off. I would have preferred to give this book 3.5 stars, but since 1 2 stars aren t allowed, I ll round up The Last Boleyn was originally published in 1983 as Passions Reign but, as a lot of historical fiction has been lately, it was recently re released under a new title I have to credit the success of Philippa Gregory s The Other Boleyn Girl with prompting many of those re releases, especially this novel.The Last Boleyn tells the story of Mary Boleyn, Anne s sister just as The Other Boleyn Girl professes to However, this book actually sticks to Mary s story Historically there is some debate about when Mary and Anne were born and who was the elder daughter In Harpers book Mary is the oldest and was born in 1504 The book follows her life from 1512, when she is 8, home at Hever, until the deaths of Anne and George in 1536 ending at Hever, also The author draws a comparisson between court life and the game of chess early in the book, and returns to it often Women in general, and Mary in particular, are used as pawns in this game devices and distractions for gaining favor, power and posessions Throughout Mary s life she is used by her family and her country, placed strategically to be used as mistress by Kings in order to secure position As she matures, she begins to rebel against this Eventually, she follows her heart to marry the man that she loves.I think Mary s story is very intriguing, because it s such a mystery Every high school student learns of Henry VIII and Anne Boleyn, but no mention is made of Mary Yet logically, she must have been a very politically important member of the family especially since she was the only Boleyn heir not to be convicted of treason and killed The fact that King Henry continued to favor her discretly with the education of her children and also the monies from the same of her childhood home also support her being an important part of history Then, of course, there is the question of whether her 2 children Henry and Catherine Carey were fathered by him Harper leaves the paternity of Henry open to interpretation, but clearly believes that Catherine was not his daughter Philippa Gregory believes that both children WERE Tudors Fascinating story, no matter what.Well told by Harper Historically pretty accurate, and also fun to read.As other reviewers have said, it s a great companion book to The Other Boleyn Girl it provides a bit history and another viewpoint of the Boleyns I enjoyed it. I have been reading a lot of books by Karen Harper recently and I have to admit to thoroughly enjoying each and every one What a gifted author she is The Last Boleyn was originally titled Passion s Reign and I am not at all sure that I would have chosen to read it with that title I have that ingrained aversion to lusty title s that shelving Harlequin novels in a book store left me with The Last Boleyn is the tale of Mary Tudor five years a mistress to Henry VIII before Anne faithful wife and mother after Henry Although I had perhaps heard this before I had not registered the fact that the family name had, in fact, been Bullen prior to Anne s Franophile ization of her family name to the readily familiar Boleyn Mary Bullen inherited her mother s delicate blonde coloring heritage of her lofty Howard lineage I have always been of the impression that father Boleyn was a power hungry, ladder climbing syncophant in the court of Henry VIII.a man who would pander his female children to his best advantage Nothing I have read over the years has really change that opinion even taking the vagaries of that time period into account.Mary was sent to the French court at an early age as lady in waiting to Henry s sister Mary during her short lived marriage to the aging French King Upon the King s death Mary remains at the French Court attendant upon Mary and beguiled by the new French King Francois I Anne Boleyn joins Mary at the French court for a time until Mary returns to England as a teenager and becomes an integral part of the Court of Henry VIII The book chronicles Mary s marriage to the cold, calculating William Carey a husband who accepts the King s advances towards Mary as a way to accrue fame and fortune for himself During her marriage to William Carey Mary has son and, although she always claimed that he was William Carey s son there has always been speculation that her son was, in fact, the progeny of Henry VIII.Mary is, ultimately, drawn to the jaded courtier William Stafford a man whom she will ultimately marry in secret after the death of William Carey The odd thing about Mary Boleyn s story is that she was always derided by her family for not asking Henry for for not expecting from him as his mistress Anne was the rapacious sister Oddly enough though it is Mary, and not Anne, who ultimately lives to a goodly age and retires from Courtlife with both her head and her happiness intact thank largely, I am led to believe thanks to the love of Will Staford In contrast, this novel with that of Phillipa Gregory s book The Other Boleyn Girl which is also narrated from Mary s point of view I enjoyed both of these book tremendously, but I think that in some ways I prefer Karen Harper s work I think that Ms Harper follows the history very closely and she also managed to keep me turning the pages of this book late into the night Best bet read both books because I think that the story of Mary Boleyn is truly a very good one The Last Boleyn was first published 18 years before The Other Boleyn Girl Both books are about Mary Boleyn, sister of Anne, but whereas TOBG is exciting and dramatic and veers somewhat away from the truth, The Last Boleyn is softer and subtler and seems to be a truer story.Mary was effectively pimped out to the French and English kings by her ruthlessly ambitious father, until her uses ran out and her sister took over The only good and constant thing in her life was William Stafford Ahhh Staff, so strong, supportive, loving and lusty big sigh This book focuses on the sercet and gorgeous love story between Mary and Staff, whilst all the plottings, ambitions and disasters of others weave around them.The story is entirely from Mary s point of view, so the big names of Henry VIII, Katherine of Aragon, and Anne, Thomas and George Boleyn only appear as and when Mary sees them This does not in any way lesson the full impact of the Boleyn s heady rise and drastic fall though it actually makes it moving as we see Mary s family implode through her eyes.A very good book, both as a swoony and sizzling love story mmmmm Staff , and as an infamous time in history told from a different angle. I have lost track of the number of times that I have read this book I remember the first time I was 15 years old and I am still in possession of my original hard copy version of this book 30 years later when it was released as The story never grows old for me and was one of my first Historical Fiction books and definitely the first Karen Harper book I ever read This prompted me to buy and read pretty much every book she wrote back in the early to mid 1980 s I still have all of those in their original hard copy versions as well This book also began a lifelong love of all things English and especially having to do with the English Aristocracy and royal families of the times Tudor England is one of my favorite time periods but thanks to Karen Harper I also love the Medieval time period of the Plantagenets, The period of the Stuart Kings and even when she branched into Scottish history.There have been quite a few books about Mary Bullen Boleyn over the years Most of them deal about her sister Anne obviously with poor Mary seen as a somewhat dimwitted beauty and just a side character While I loved The Other Boleyn Girl, The Last Boleyn or as I will always remember it Passion s Reign will always be my favorite retelling of the story of Mary I know a vast majority of it is fictionalized but that is actually why I love it so much I love the idea of Mary as not being just a beautiful, empty headed slut I like the idea that instead she was a too trusting, naive daughter doing as her father and kings were instructing her I love the idea that she may have known Staff for many years and built up a romantic love that after everything she was forced to do and accept for the best interests of her family, she was finally able to be happy As for Staff himself When I was younger, I wanted every boyfriend in my life to be just like Staff Strong, smart, handsome, sweet and protective Needless to say, I was disappointed a whole heck of a lot as a teenager LOL.I was sucked into the whole world surrounding this time period from the first time I opened to page one of this book and even though I have read it repeatedly over the years it still has the same effect on me Even after all these years. I LOVED this book This is what The Other Boleyn Girl called TOBG for the rest of this post should have been if it had been written with any semblance of historical reality It s no secret that I am fascinated by Anne Boleyn, and can t read enough about her But until now, Mary Boleyn has always bored me to tears The English Mare who seems brainless and naive, I could have cared less about her story And when I read TOBG, I ended up hating her even just because Philippa Gregory painted her in this innocent light and emerged her as the perfect Boleyn.But then I decided to give this book a chance, and it did what no other book has ever been able to do it made me sympathize with Mary Not even just sympathize, I now totally admire her I loved the sexual tension between her and William Stafford, and ached for her when her husband, Will Carey, made his distaste for her clear I loved the relationship between her and Anne and I loved the scene with Anne handing Mary jewels and other trinkets to pass down to Elizabeth someday, and asking her to set Elizabeth straight with the inevitable rumors that would surround Anne I don t know if this scene has any historical merit to it, but I loved it nonetheless I sped straight through this book, hardly wanting to put it down My only complaint would be that it covered something like 20 years, so several years might pass between chapters, and you had to hear about major events as an afterthought But it was extremely well written and I highly, HIGHLY enjoyed it. She Survived Her Own Innocence, And The Treachery Of Europe S Royal CourtsGreed, Lust For Power, Sex, Lies, Secret Marriages, Religious Posturing, Adultery, Beheadings, International Intrigue, Jealousy, Treachery, Love, Loyalty, And Betrayal The Last Boleyn Tells The Story Of The Rise And Fall Of The Boleyns, One Of England S Most Powerful Families, Through The Eyes Of The Eldest Daughter, MaryAlthough Her Sister, Anne, The Queen Her Brother, George, Executed Alongside Anne And Her Father, Thomas, Are Most Remembered By History, Mary Was The Boleyn Who Set Into Motion The Chain Of Events That Brought About The Family S Meteoric Rise To Power, As Well As The One Who Managed To Escape Their Equally Remarkable Fall Sent Away To France At An Extraordinarily Young Age, Mary Is Quickly Plunged Into The Dangerous World Of Court Politics, Where Everything Is Beautiful But Deceptive, And Everyone She Meets Is Watching And Quietly Manipulating The Events And People Around Them As She Grows Into A Woman, Mary Must Navigate Both The Dangerous Waters Ruled By Two Kings And The Powerful Will Of Her Own Family In Order To Find A Place For Herself And The Love She So Deeply Desires I really loved this book I have been interested in the Boleyn s story for a few years and although there are many book on Anne, there are very few on her sister, Mary, of course, because she was not as important This book changes that It shows how truely important Mary was in the fate of her family Like the Other Boleyn Girl this book is about Mary, told from her point of view, but The Last Boleyn is so much historically accurate and, I have to say, I enjoyed it much Any lover of The Other Boleyn Girl should read this There is hardley a comparison.