(A mediocre writer you keep thinking, well, okay, but it would work better if she did this; a bad writer, you do not think at all. You just gag and fling it against the wall.)
I think I would have enjoyed Wolf Hall even more if I had known even the smallest bit about the period -- 1530s England, which is way outside my realm (my era, the era I wrote my dissertation on, was 1st century Rome and 7th century Greece -- comp lit, remember -- the nature of translation, fap fap fap -- but I've been teaching Chaucer, along with the Victorians, long enough to have picked up a bit about 14th and 19th century England, and who doesn't know a bit about early 2oth century England; but the rest? It's a dark and undiscovered country, as far as I'm concerned. I had to keep asking Herr Doctor Delagar questions. "This Jane Seymour," I would say, "is she going to be important?"
(No, I'm not kidding. Somehow I made it to my advanced age without knowing all the names of the six wives of Henry VIII.)
I also didn't know Thomas Cromwell was related to Oliver Cromwell, though now that I do know it it's way cool.
Anyway, a deeply satisfying book. Have fun.