Of love and intrigue

Two sisters compete for the love of King Henry VIII and an Irish woman seeks her destiny in a bizarre journey through life—two true stories retold that prove yet again that truth is not just stranger but far more exciting than fiction.

Dhiman Chattopadhyay        Print Edition: June 29, 2008

Discovering the supernatural

The following day, she phoned Wicca and told her what had happened. For a while, Wicca said nothing.

‘Congratulations,’ she said at last. ‘You’ve made it.’ She explained that, from then on, the power of sex would bring about profound changes in the way Brida saw and experienced the world.

‘You’re ready now for the celebration of the Equinox. There’s just one more thing.’

‘One more thing? But you said that was it!’

‘It’s quite easy. You simply have to dream of a dress, the dress you will wear on the day.’

‘And what if I can’t.’

‘You will. You’ve done the most difficult part.’

And then, as so often, she changed the subject. She told Brida that she’s bought a new car and needed to do some shopping. Would Brida like to go with her? Brida was proud to be invited and asked her boss if she could leave work early. It was the first time Wicca had shown her any kind of affection.

Excerpted from Brida by Paulo Coelho

Price: Rs 295

Pages: 266

(With permission from HarperCollins)

The mind of Anne Boleyn

That autumn when I returned to court I realised that the queen was finally thrown down. Anne had convinced Henry that there was no longer any point in keeping up the appearance of being a good husband. They might as well show their brazen faces to the world and defy anyone to come against them.

Henry was generous. Katherine of Aragon lived in great state at The More and she entertained visiting ambassadors as if she were still a beloved and honoured queen. She had a household of more than 200 people, 50 of them maids in waiting.

They were not the best of young women: those all flocked to the king’s court and found themselves attached to Anne’s household. Anne and I had a merry day in allocating young women that we disliked to the queen’s court, we got rid of half a dozen Seymours that way, and laughed at the thought of Sir John Seymour’s face when he found out.

‘I wish we could send George’s wife to wait on the queen,’ I said. ‘He would be happier if he came home and found her gone.’

Excerpted from The Other Boleyn Girl by Philippa Gregory

Price: Rs 195

Pp: 627

(With permission from HarperCollins)

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