The Blacksmith’s Son | Wolf Hall | A Review


I was hoping to review The Foundling today by Stacey Halls, but I haven’t quite finished reading that yet, so today I’m review Wolf Hall by Hilary Mantel, a book I could not stop listening to!

Yes, I’m a bit behind, seen as this book was released in 2009, but with the release of The Mirror and The Light on March 5th, I thought I’d give it a go, especially as I’m a fan of historical fiction and had heard SO MANY good things about the series.


England, the 1520s. Henry VIII is on the throne, but has no heir. Cardinal Wolsey is his chief advisor, charged with securing the divorce the pope refuses to grant. Into this atmosphere of distrust and need comes Thomas Cromwell, first as Wolsey’s clerk, and later his successor.

Cromwell is a wholly original man: the son of a brutal blacksmith, a political genius, a briber, a charmer, a bully, a man with a delicate and deadly expertise in manipulating people and events. Ruthless in pursuit of his own interests, he is as ambitious in his wider politics as he is for himself. His reforming agenda is carried out in the grip of a self-interested parliament and a king who fluctuates between romantic passions and murderous rages.

Star Rating4 Stars

I was a bit nervous to read this. A lot of people loved it and it had one numerous awards (a bit like Bring Up the Bodies) but when I found out I could request the audio book from the library, I thought I’d give it a go. And I’m glad I did.

I thoroughly enjoyed learning History as a kid and the one reason I didn’t take it for GCSE was because I couldn’t pick it due to wanting to pick other subjects in those blocks (RE I’m looking at you!) I’d also previously studied the Tudors and so had a rough idea about Henry VIII and all he got up to, Thomas Cromwell, not so much.

I really enjoyed the story and found it so hard to put down, which was great to kick me out of my reading slump. There’s lots going on, lots of diplomatic lords, gossiping ladies and bartering on Cromwells side. It reminds me much of a bustling London during the time.

We’re introduced to a young Cromwell running from a horrid home before being jumped forward to when he worked for Worsley, all the while, deciding much for the fate of England and it’s King (aka his marriage to Anne Boleyn)!

I’ll definitely add this book to the ‘books I want to read again’ pile and I’ve already listened to Bring Up the Bodies, review to go up next week. Now the question is, can I wait for the paperback of The Mirror and The Light to come out…

As always, let me know in the comments below if you’ve read the book (either when it first came out or recently) and what you thought of it. And if you haven’t, with the release of The Mirror and The Light this month, will you be picking up the series?

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