Taking apart the novel's key claims and plot-lines, one by one, Claire brilliantly analyses this notoriously inaccurate retelling of Mary Boleyn's life and family. I would encourage anyone to read the full article, but, to summarise: -
Mary Boleyn the Virgin: The novel paints its heroine as a demure and wholesome young girl, looking for love. Claire writes, "Mary appears innocent and sexually inexperienced and it is Anne who later promises her father and uncle that she will “coach her well enough to get her into his bed”. [In fact] ... Mary had been the mistress of King Francis I of France and gained a reputation for being promiscuous. The reputation may have been unfair and down to gossip, but she was the French King’s mistress and so was not sexually inexperienced when she arrived back at the English court."
Anne Boleyn's seduction of Lord Henry Percy: "In the novel, Anne plots to attract Henry Percy so that she can be Duchess of Northumberland and be wealthy. She tells Mary, “I’m going to make him marry me” and Mary watches Anne with Percy and comments “I saw how she played him”. [But] ...
Aaagh - indeed.
Anne Boleyn, Superbitch: "There is no other way to describe the Anne Boleyn of “The Other Boleyn Girl”, she is a complete b**ch and it’s no wonder I get emails asking why I “defend” such a b**ch! Anne steals Henry VIII from Mary and then taunts her, she takes Mary’s son away from her without her permission, she treats her siblings like her slaves, she quite likely poisons Bishop Fisher and his dinner guests and perhaps Cardinal Wolsey, Princess Mary and Catherine of Aragon too, she is vindictive when Mary announces her marriage to Will Stafford and her pregnancy, saying that she will tell Mary’s son that his mother is dead, and she curses Jane Seymour".
Claire makes a lot of great points and the full article is worth reading, but in conclusion, she points out: -