There's a bit of a disclaimer on this post, which reads thus:
I grew up approximately a half hour walk from Hampton Court Palace. Age 6 I begged my grandparents to take me round the palace by myself. They thought I would never walk round the whole thing, but I did. Because I'm cool. We used to go in the gardens and the maze with my mum and siblings every single summer holiday and most Easters until they started charging silly amounts to get in. When I was young, the gardens were free and the maze was about 50p. It was awesome. We also used to get the boat there all the time. As well as all this we went on school trips to various parts (just the kitchens in Infant School, the kitchens and great hall in year 3, the whole palace in yr 5 or 6, the whole palace again in years 8, 9 and 10), so while in some ways I'm all Tudored out, in other ways I have a deep and abiding love of that period of history which will probably never die. My mind still boggles at all the chimneys.
So yes, basically what I'm saying is that when I heard that Wolf Hall was about that period of history which I've recently been revelling in reading Philippa Gregory's various books, but actually about Thomas Cromwell and Cardinal Wolsey (the man who originally build Hampton Court) as well as being about the whole thing where Henry VIII was a massive egotist and created the Church of England so he could marry some random woman whom he decided, three years after having finally married her, he didn't actually like enough to keep alive anyway, and obviously for all the above stated reasons, I had to read it. And it was goooooood. The book is massive, but I read it in three days which is entirely unheard of for post baby me. I am very proud of myself.
There's no point in comparing this with The Other Boleyn Girl et al, but on the whole I did feel a lot less like Hilary Mantel was just making up what she thought could possibly have happened, at some point, somewhere, and more like she was basing her writing around things which a few people agree have actually happened. Don't get me wrong, I enjoy Philippa Gregory's books very much, and of course it's great fun to imagine all the things which could have happened as well as the things that did, but reading Wolf Hall I felt a lot more submerged in history than I ever have reading Gregory.
So now that's over, pretty much what I'm saying is that I really enjoyed Wolf Hall. It has a lot of characters, but they are pretty much all well developed (or well developed enough to suit their purposes) and Mantel did a great job of making everybody very human. There weren't a lot of people I hated in this, which I liked because there was too much else to keep track of to allow time for hating people. It is pretty well written and very pacy and despite its massive size it was a very quick read for me.
Sticking with my whole 'this isn't a review' thing, all I will say is that if you have anything like my love for the Tudors, you should probably read this :-)