We are all dying, just at different speeds.

The end is nigh.

For our Wolf Hall trilogy readalong and for Thomas Cromwell.

I hope you enjoyed your Tudor mini-break throughout April; I certainly did. But I am now more than ready to tackle the final episode in this courtly drama, The Mirror and the Light, starting on the 1st May.

  • February – Wolf Hall (reread)
  • March – Bring Up the Bodies (reread)
  • May – The Mirror and the Light

On the 24th February 2020, the Guardian said, ‘So the trilogy is complete, and it is magnificent.‘ 

The New Yorker titled their review on the 9th March 2020, Hubris and Delusion at the End of Hilary Mantel’s Tudor Trilogy.

The Independent on the 25th February 2020, said ‘From the razor-sharp opening paragraph to the dramatic ending 863 pages later, Hilary Mantel’s The Mirror & The Light is superb, right to the last crimson drop.’

On the 3rd March 2020, Kirsten Tranter in the SMH said,

Scrupulously detailed, psychologically acute, The Mirror and the Light marches the reader through less famous historical material including Henry’s next three marriages, a dramatic rebellion, political intrigue of mind-blowing intricacy, and a parade of gruesome state-sponsored executions, all rendered in arrestingly gorgeous prose. Mantel has perfected the distinctive voice of earlier volumes, an urgent present tense that takes the reader deep inside Cromwell’s calculating, troubled mind.

Various themes are being threaded throughout the trilogy (including one to do with fabric and clothing). Also watch out for Mantel’s use of ghosts, memory, myths and story-telling (the stories we tell to make sense of our lives and how they change with time and changing needs, the memories we chose to remember and how we weave these together), power and ambition, politics and the church, private life versus public life (portraits and role playing), father/son relationships and just how many Thomas’ can one book series have?

Have you noticed any other recurring themes or motifs in the Wolf Hall trilogy?

If you would like me to add your reviews of WH, BUTB and TMATL to the list, please link your review in the comments below. Current and historic posts welcome.

Readalong Posts:

Wolf Hall reviews:

Bring Up the Bodies reviews:

Related Posts:


6 thoughts on “#WolfHallReadalong2021

  1. I started The Mirror & the Light two days ago and am finding it slow going, but still liking it. I am finding it easier to follow but have a feeling of dread.


    1. I’m planning/hoping to start my copy tomorrow, if I can finish the two almost finished books by my bed today!

      I did wonder if that sense of dread would hang over the whole book, given that we all know how Thomas’ story ends.


  2. What a fabulous project . You have another great in store with Mirror and Light. I loved it though it took me months to read. Her narrative style is so intense I could read only a few pages at a time


    1. I’m hoping by reading them all so close together that I will fall into the narrative style of book 3 quickly. My weekend got busy, so I still have Square Haunting to finish before I can start Mirror and Light.


  3. I am starting late, but I am starting. I had trouble borrowing Wolf Hall as an audiobook but I have it and Bring up the Bodies now, on Borrowbox. I’ve listened to them before and it seems to me they are great stories rather than great literature, but I might be in the minority on that.


    1. Great to have you on board Bill.

      I’m curious to hear how Mantel’s ‘he, Cromwell’ approach translated into the audio. In book one, it wasn’t always easy to know if he was thinking or talking, as it was presented on the page.

      For me there is no doubt that the trilogy has literary merit, but I’m not sure it fits into highbrow lit. The labelling of literary fiction, genre fiction, general fiction etc is always fraught with differences of opinion of taste and style though.
      John Updike once said “the category of ‘literary fiction’ has sprung up recently to torment people like me who just set out to write books, and if anybody wanted to read them, terrific, the more the merrier”.


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