Sunday, April 26, 2009

The Queen's Fool - Philippa Gregory

Summary: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. (photo and summary provided my Google Book Search)

My Review: You first meet Hannah, not as a young girl, but a boy, in her fathers care disguising herself so she is allowed to be her fathers apprentice. Learning language upon language and studying books that are forbidden, she find herself more at home in the breeches of a young lad then in the petticoats of a young woman.

Her life is turned upside down the day three men ride into her fathers shop in search books for their studies. She is much bewildered when the men inform her that they are traveling as a pair, there is no third man. Hannah panics, and thinks immediately of her mother who was burned two years earlier at the stake for heresy and witchcraft. But her fears are unfounded. These two men, Lord Robert Dudley and John Dee, are intrigued by the young girls "sight" and thus is born a tumultuous alliance that leads into an exceptional story of love and lust, loyalty and deception, and a young girl trying to find her way in a court and country ruled by the ambition of two sisters.

In the height of the Spanish Inquisition, and the Catholic/Protestant debate a Holy fool manages to play both sides, be loyal to two would be queens, and in the process risks burning or hanging for her loyalties. Hopelessly in love with her master, Lord Robert Dudley, she finds her self doing his work. When he ends up the tower for treason against the Queen Mary, all bets are off and Hannah's loyalties will begin to be tested.

Perhaps taking climax when Hannah faces her would be executioners, this book is an absolute marvel. Historically accurate, it is a wonderful way to further educate yourself on the topics at hand, while also transfixing yourself with these characters and intense plot lines.

The reading is true Gregory style. If you get half way through and find yourself saying things in the Tudor language do not be surprised. She makes the reader a part of the story be giving the characters real emotions and real reactions, that any of us can relate to. A wonderful story with a wonderful conclusion. I am picking up the next in this series as we speak.

My Review:5 incredible stars

If I could sum up this book in one phrase: If Gregory's work in "The Other Boleyn Girl" could be outdone, this is that book.

1 comment:

Pearls and Pumps said...

I am probably Phillipa Gregory's biggest fan! I own all of her books and adore them! I love the way she keeps the books historically accurate, throws in some rumors and adds a bit of her own take. I would recommend ANY book of hers! But by far my favorites have been The Other Boleyn Girl and The Constant Princess. I am reading The Boleyn Inheritance right now and I'm loving it! History is the best drama!

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