I have been rereading Wolf Hall by Hilary Mantel, and I think I’m enjoying it even more a second time. I have to admit, there are aspects of the plot I am still not fully grasping, particularly the episode of the Holy Maid towards the end of the book. Instead, I have been paying more attention to the parts of the book which I think make it special: the detailed descriptions of Cromwell’s home life, contrasted with the “big-picture” explanations of how he conducts his business (and Wolsey’s and the King’s) within a web of economic and personal relationships across Europe. That might sound pretentious, but Mantel’s ability to show (accurately or not, I don’t know) exactly how things were working behind the scenes was what made this book fascinating for me, rather than the scandalous nature of the main Henry-Katherine-Anne plot.
I was left with one question, why did Mantel choose to call it Wolf Hall if the incestuous drama of the Seymour family is only a small sub-plot? I have some ideas, but I would be interested in hearing yours. Maybe I am missing something . . .