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Gregory, Philippa

novels century boleyn trade

(British, 1949– )

Philippa Gregory is best known for Earthly Joys (1998) and Virgin Earth (1999), her novels about the Tradescants (father and son), pioneers of gardening in the seventeenth century. Her career as a writer of (mainly) historical fiction had already encompassed some half dozen novels when she put her doctorate in eighteenth-century literature to the service of A Respectable Trade (1995), a story about the Bristol slave trade, later dramatized for the BBC. Her achievement—most recently evinced in The Other Boleyn Girl (2001), the first-person narrative of Anne Boleyn's sister—is to write compulsive fiction about the past without ever fiddling the known facts. Gregory's contemporary novels, like the recent suspense drama Zelda's Cut (2000), show the same ability to play with real emotions inside the conventions of a genre. But the modern stories of suspense would have to be good indeed to distract attention from her

history.

Beryl Bainbridge, Rose Tremain, Tracy Chevalier, Barry Unsworth  SG

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