Wolf Hall by Hilary Mantel


Jumpsuits, Playsuits and any Romper style outfit has been the discussion of my life lately, with nearly all my female friends. Firstly am I bold enough to wear one, secondly will I look like I am trying to be cool or look like I am in fancy dress and thirdly will I look like a sack of potatoes.

I recently bought a paisley harem jumpsuit in Goa and have since felt the need to search for others. They combine all the fantastic factors of wearing a dress to work (not having to find tops/bottoms that match) but without the stress of hunting for tights [see previous blog about tight hatred]. There is of course the chance your boss will call you MC Hammer all week.

I recently read an article where Jerry Hall was cursing 80’s fashion [ahem might want to change the hair and lipstick] and it does seem surprising that things we so venimently swore never to wear in the 90’s have reappeared again.  Leggings , Legwarmers and huge tops for example – I can’t help be worried that maybe in a few months I’ll be contemplating wearing Lycra cycling shorts and a hyper-glo T-shirt to work.

I have decided therefore to seek solace in the fact that history does in fact teach us many lessons (side ponytails look good on 6 year olds but not 26 year olds) and that picking and choosing elements of the past to rehash is fine as we can omit the worst bits.

This weeks review is Wolf Hall by Hilary Mantel which essentially chooses some of the juicy bits of history to revitalise [come on admit it, you thought how the hell is she going to make a link between the Tudors and Jumpsuits – you thought I was going to down the cod piece route eh?]. Thomas Cromwell is by history’s standards an opportunistic son-of-biatch. After all the title of the book comes from the name of the ancient Seymour seat in Wiltshire Wulfhall – their family motto ‘Man is wolf to man’ – Chilling isn’t it?

Thomas Cromwell was a clever chess piece in the Tudor court game and in his life time he saw himself gain power after the disposal of Wolsey, oversee the dissolution of the church [dark dark times if you were monk], the marriage of Anne Boleyn and of course the country defining moment when we told Rome and the Pope ‘thanks but no thanks, we are going solo’ [that isn’t how he actually said it incase you were wondering].

Mantel impresses me just by taking on the subject matter, to say that much of what she writes about has been done before is not an understatement and yet just like everyone else I have Tudor fever. I can’t get enough of this 1520’s onwards period in our history.  Essentially because it made us the nation we were today and because literally the whole Tudor Dynasty reads like an ancient copy of Heat magazine. I can just imagine myself as a young serving wench back in the day (sans jumpsuit) being transfixed by what was going on at the local London Palace.

She has made a fantastic novel from a character history had written off as a calculating and sinister fellow.  She makes him more balanced and extremely more lifelike than anything before. Awarded the booker prize this sizeable novel will have you gripped from beginning to end. She is said to be working on the sequel  to eager fans and that in itself should say it all but I can’t help feeling passionate about a book that makes history tangible, digestible as well as very very exciting.

Author: Rohini Wahi

Rohini is a London based freelance journalist and trend forecaster for the design industries. She has worked for Elle Decoration, Living Etc, Houzz and Design Sponge amongst others.

She loves a period drama and keeps a tidy home. Launched in 2007 The Beat That My Heart Skipped focuses on home inspirations, design trends, lifestyle and food – coupled with an insight into Rohini’s work and home life – from key picks at trade shows to styled weekend soirees. To contact Rohini for queries, work for hire or just to say hi drop her a line at mail@rohiniwahi.com

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