Wolf Hall by Hilary Mantel – A Book Review & Summary

Wolf Hall by Hilary Mantel Book Review

Author: Hilary Mantel
Language: English
Publisher: Fourth Estate (UK)
Publication Date: 30th April 2009
Genre: Historical Fiction


“Wolf Hall” book written by the author Hilary Mantel was published on 30th April 2009. This historical novel takes you to the journey of the period set in 1500 to 1535, documenting the power of Thomas Cromwell. England has been going through a disastrous situation in the 1520s.

A king has to have a male heir, otherwise, he will lose his reign by civil war. This historical novel wolf hall by Hilary Mantel begins with “So now get up”, showing a situation where a boy is about to be beaten by his wicked father. This novel revolves around the power, command, and state violence that was the part that historic era to which we can still relate. It makes us wonder that we live in a society where people with higher authority and wealth abuse their power for their benefit. This is a wolf hall book analysis that will take you to a journey of an intense historic era.

If you’re a reader that loves history and how the greatest kings were blinded by their power, then this novel is exactly what you need.

About the Author

Hilary MantelHilary Mantel, an English writer, was born on July 6, 1952, in Hadfield, Derbyshire, England. She is a well-known writer for her wide range of dark humor, bold and historical novels. His bestselling novels include “Wolf Hall”, “Bring Up the Bodies”, “A Change of Climate”, and many more. Like many of her previous novels, Wolf Hall novel got awards such as Man Booker Prize and the National Book Critics Circle Award.



Analysis Evaluation and Synopsis/Summary

(Heading 1: State the main topic of the book and the author’s treatment of it. Also, explain the development of the thesis, using quotes or references.)

The Main Theme and Author’s Treatment of it:

The main thing that you will notice while reading this novel is that 99% of the time “he” is used. Not many people can understand the very time that it refers to the main character Cromwell.

From the very start of the novel, the author takes us into the head of Cromwell. The author also provides us with a unique description of Cromwell that how he interacts with his family and other people.

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There is a part that says: ‘Henry stirs into life. “Do I retain you for what is easy? Jesus pity my simplicity. I have promoted you to a place in this kingdom that no one, no one of your breeding has ever held in the whole of the history of this realm.’ He drops his voice. ‘Do you think it is for your personal beauty? The charm of your presence? I keep you, Master Cromwell, because you are as cunning as a bag of serpents…..’’

‘Someone asks him if he wants to confess.
‘Must I’?
‘Yes, sir, or you will be thought a sectary.’
But my sins are my strength, he thinks; the sins I have done, that others have not even found the opportunity of committing. I hug them close; they’re mine. Besides, when I come to judgment I mean to come with a memorandum in my hand: I shall say to my Maker, I have fifty items here; possibly more.’

These words by Hilary Mantel in the Wolf Hall book just moved me and this is a novel that require your full attention. You keep wondering who is narrating the story.

Until you find out that you are in the Cromwell’s mind, everything starts to make sense as you can relate to his thoughts. In our everyday lives, we are also going through a complex process of thinking.

Cromwell, who is a son of a blacksmith to the most influential advisor of Henry VIII, has shown his different sides in the novel. He is emotional, funny, strong, and sometimes vulnerable. The author has kept her readers in mind while writing this book and she treated it brilliantly for historical novel lovers.

Strengths and Weaknesses:

For me, the strength of this novel was the character of “Thomas Cromwell”. The book was all about him that made me realize how we are connected to him on some level.

Mantel describes the personality of this man through certain dialogues and events, as a man of massive charisma. He possesses a level of wisdom that not everyone.

The references shown in the book are how he can judge the quality of the Turkish rug, how to spatchcock a songbird and kill a man with a single knife twist.

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He just knows it all! Cromwell is ready to face all challenges and he is different from other people because of the unique abilities he has. So the personality shown in the novel is its biggest strength that makes you realize about yourself and your purpose in life.

On the other hand, the book has been a disappointment for so many people who found it hard to understand the historical events.

The pronoun mentioned in the Wolf Hall book i.e. “he” might confuse you. This novel requires your full attention and focus to understand as there are lots of Cromwell’s life chronicles mentioned that can make you confused. If you are not a historical novel lover, then this might not be the perfect read for you.

There are parts were the characters Cromwell and Duke of Norfolk talk about politics as they are having a deep conversation. You might lose interest because of a lack of knowledge or the lack of interest in politics. If you are able to get complex jargon and events, then you will enjoy every bit of it.

My Take on the Book:

This Wall Hall book review cannot do justice to the way the author Hilary Mantel has portrayed all the characters and events. This is just a Wolf Hall book summary that will provide a gist to this historical fiction novel.

I loved how the personality of Cromwell opened my eyes and gave me a new perspective on this life. Even though Cromwell was an abused child but he exhibited his kindness to other people. He treats his wife well. Even though he is at the lowest rank in the society but that does not matter to him.

He is a self-made man who has remarkable abilities as a tradesman, businessman, accountant, lawyer, and biblical scholar. I think if you understand the whole structure and the deep meanings this book has, this is going to be a life-changing read for you.

Overall Rating: 4/5

Free PDF Download

The Wolf Hall pdf download is available here. Get ready to go on a historical journey with Wolf Hall ebook download.


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