I’ve dropped enough hints I hope to make sure that in a few days time, I will be opening a birthday present to find myself the owner of the new Hilary Mantel novel Bring up the Bodies. After reading the review in the New York Times I know I have a nail-biting few weeks ahead of me.
Ever since Mantel announced she was writing a sequel to her Man Booker prize-winning novel Wolf Hall, expectations have been running high. I’m a history fan and used to devour every Jean Plaidy I could get my hands on when I was in my teens but every historical fiction book I’ve read since then has disappointed. The narratives were clunky; the characters stereotypes and the whole thing just felt predicable. All that changed with Wolf Hall. I couldn’t imagine how anyone could read it in one sitting as the blurb on the back of my copy claimed one critic did, but it was certainly not a book that I could put down easily. From the immediacy of the opening scene where the young Thomas Cromwell gets his head kicked
Follow up novels are a difficult act to pull off but it seems that Mantel has done it. “Equally sublime”, “beautifully constructed” comments Janet Maslin. Roll on the 19th!
Naturally it didn’t take me too long to read the book – you can see my review here