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The Queen's Fool by Philippa Gregory
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4,6641201,016 (3.73)108
  1. 10
    Queen's Own Fool (Stuart Quartet) by Jane Yolen (joririchardson)
    joririchardson: In the book by Yolen, a girl serves as fool to Mary Queen of Scots. In Gregory's book, a girl serves as fool to Mary I of England.
  2. 00
    The Lady Elizabeth by Alison Weir (meggyweg)
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Long story, cut short.....Hannah Verde, Spanish, Jewish, settles in England with her father after their flight from the Spanish Inquisition, given over to the Royal court of young King Edward as his Holy Fool, on his death she transfers to Queen Mary as her fool and here the story begins.....

This is my third Philippa Gregory and as expected it is a solid story, but not on the same par as her Bolyen books. I felt as though I learned quite a lot about Queen Mary, who as the book progressed seemed to get more and more unhinged, and it's no surprise she earned the name 'Bloody Mary'. Elizabeth was portrayed as thouroughly unlikeable and self serving and I don't doubt that she was all that and more and even the main players at court were just as I imagined them to be; fickle, scheming, underhand, greedy and manipulative, but it was the main character who really spoiled things for me. No matter what situation was unfolding, Hannah was always right there in the thick of things and after a while she really started to grate on me.

She didn't have a bad word to say about anybody, regardless of how horribly they treated her, and she kept going back for more of the same. I realise she wouldn't have had a lot of say in matters regarding how she was put to use by her employers but one minute she's litterally wetting herself as she's about to be tortured as a heritic because Mary has a bee in her bonnet (to put it mildly) about non Catholics, even though she considers Hannah her trusted friend....then the next minute Hannah is all doe eyed at Mary's feet and defending her against any critics....it just doesn't make sense. She has the means to escape and put it all behind her, but she does everything in her power to stay.

She can't seem to make up her mind about where her loyalties lie for most of the book and dithers from one plot master to the next, depending on what's afoot at any given time. Mary, Elizabeth, Lord Robert Dudley, her betrothed, John Dee...and, and, and. I just couldn't relate to her because she just didn't seem to have the wit to remove herself from danger when the opportunity arose. The exit was right there for her, and she chose not to take it.

Having said that, the story itself was interesting and enjoyable, if a little slow. The pace wasn't as fast as in her other books but overall the story was a good one.

I haven't been put off and I still plan to work my way through her other books, but if this is your first try of Philippa Gregory, this isn't her best. ( )
  SilverThistle | Dec 31, 2014 |
Not one of the best novels in the Tudor series. Hannah was likable but Elizabeth most definitely wasn't. The times Hannah was away from court were more interesting than when she was with either Mary or Elizabeth. ( )
  rabidmunkee | Nov 7, 2014 |
I used to enjoy Gregory's novels more, but now I've pretty much had it with English royalty in general and the Tudors in particular. While I appreciated her including a Jewish heroine in "The Queen's Fool," her inaccurate description of 16th-century Judaism was a real turn-off. As a Jewish historical novelist whose heroines are also Jewish, I expect other authors to do their research on this delicate subject. Good historical fiction can teach readers a great deal about history, particularly about the lives of women. But if done poorly, stereotypes are reinforced and innocent people [or peoples] defamed. ( )
1 vote Maggie.Anton | Jul 18, 2014 |
A most unlikely situation in Tudor England, with a young girl plucked out of obscurity to became not only the Queen's muse and confidant, but the same for the Queen's sister and rival, set against the backdrop of persecution of Protestants and, to a lesser degree, the Jewish, as well as the intense wish of the Queen to have a baby.
However, an interesting book to read. ( )
1 vote robeik | May 2, 2014 |
Would not recommend it at all. It's only saving grace is that it has a happy ending unlike most of Gregory's other books. The cross-dressing is distracting and plays no real part in the story. Her blind devotion is just plain annoying and I really has to force myself to finish this book. ( )
  Vicky.Arthur | Feb 14, 2014 |
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Amazon.com Product Description (ISBN 0743246071, Paperback)

A young woman caught in the rivalry between Queen Mary and her half sister, Elizabeth, must find her true destiny amid treason, poisonous rivalries, loss of faith, and unrequited love.

It is winter, 1553. Pursued by the Inquisition, Hannah Green, a fourteen-year-old Jewish girl, is forced to flee Spain with her father. But Hannah is no ordinary refugee. Her gift of "Sight," the ability to foresee the future, is priceless in the troubled times of the Tudor court. Hannah is adopted by the glamorous Robert Dudley, the charismatic son of King Edward's protector, who brings her to court as a "holy fool" for Queen Mary and, ultimately, Queen Elizabeth. Hired as a fool but working as a spy; promised in wedlock but in love with her master; endangered by the laws against heresy, treason, and witchcraft, Hannah must choose between the safe life of a commoner and the dangerous intrigues of the royal family that are inextricably bound up in her own yearnings and desires.

Teeming with vibrant period detail and peopled by characters seamlessly woven into the sweeping tapestry of history, The Queen's Fool is another rich and emotionally resonant gem from this wonderful storyteller.

(retrieved from Amazon Mon, 30 Sep 2013 14:04:27 -0400)

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The savage rivalry of the daughters of Henry VIII, Mary Tudor and Elizabeth mirrors that of their mothers, Katherine of Aragon and Anne Boleyn. Each will fight by any available means for the crown and future of the kingdom.

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