by Hilary Mantel. This book is not for everyone. If you don't know anything about English history in the16th century, you might find it a bit confusing-lots of characters, references to past events, and a setting not only foreign in location but in time. Even if you love historical novels, this one does require a little work on the part of the reader. Mantel, a prize winning novelist in the UK, has taken an actual but little known participant in the Court of Henry VIII and brought him to life. Thomas Cromwell, great grandfather to Oliver Cromwell, came from very humble roots to become a key advisor to Henry VIII during a time of great change and turmoil for the monarch. The beauty of Mantel's writing is in her being able to make us react to Thomas as a real person. Her glorious prose allows us to enter the society where Cromwell, at least for a time, flourished, and to share the company of Henry and several of his well-known wives. This book is the first in a series of three. The second volume in the series, Bring Up the Bodies
, is also available in both print at the library and as an ebook.