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Publisher's Summary

Here is a stunning novel set in the Tudor court, as the rivalry between Queen Mary and her half-sister, Elizabeth, is played out against a background of betrayal, conflict and passion.
©2008 Philippa Gregory; (P)2008 HarperCollins Publishers Ltd
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Customer Reviews

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By Meg on 03-17-10

Mary, Mary quite contrary

In this story, a young Jewish girl, Hannah Green has escaped Catholic Spain with her father to England where she becomes Fool to Queen Mary I (AKA Bloody Mary - King Henry VIII's eldest child).

The story details the protagonist's teenage years and uses her as a devise to examine the plots, scandals and politics of the English Court at the time. It is an interesting account of Queen Mary herself, who is portrayed in a few more sympathetic manner than in many other accounts of her. This is due to the close friendship that grows between Queen and Fool (in a similar way that Henry VIII has a friendship with his own Fool). The future Queen Elizabeth I is another major character in the story, but is more conniving, petulent, and arrogant than other accounts of her. In all, she is rather an unlikable character, but as in history, plays her own role in swaying Queen Mary's actions.

This is in no way a true-to-life account of the Tudor court post-Henry, though the author has drawn hevaily from the history. Hannah Green is a fictional characted created as a plot device, and is effective in her role. I enjoyed the author's interpretation of The Queen, particularly as Gregory seems to have, I think, really gotten to the crux of who Mary was and how she became that way.

This was a very enjoyable audiobook and I highly recommend it. Emilia Fox is a superb narrator - she's one of my favourites!

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1 of 1 people found this review helpful


By Lesley on 09-12-08

The Queen's Fool

Fabulous story telling. Ms Gregory made me care about the main character. There was a defined, pacy plot and the historical information was underlying and given as essential to the story rather than brief interludes of learned discourse, which sadly happens frequently in historical novels.

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By Colin Allum on 08-05-14

History the easy way

Would you recommend this audiobook to a friend? If so, why?

As an admirer of Phillipa Gregory for the stylish way she presents historical facts and turns them into stories that are hard to put down, this is yet another example of the excellence of her vision of the way England was. Not page after page of dates and events, but a story line that includes all those events and turns them into a gripping tale that not only gives you an insight into the workings of the English Court, but a story line that is both original and with a high degree of historical accuracy. Any author does not please every reader - Phillipa is no different - but she cannot be criticised for her attempt to look into the strange and difficult worlds of both Mary and Elizabeth. I recommend this book highly

What other book might you compare The Queen's Fool to, and why?

The range of stories Phillipa has written about the players in the War of the Roses are must reads - and read them in sequence

Have you listened to any of Emilia Fox’s other performances? How does this one compare?

Emilia Fox has surprised me with the high quality of her performance on a variety of books - an excellent reader.

Was there a moment in the book that particularly moved you?

In this book the collapse of Calais (an event that is most often ignored in English History) is described in such a way that you feel you are almost there !

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1 of 1 people found this review helpful


By Klara Hegedus on 04-20-17

Unconvincing tripe

No evidence of research, poor storyline, the most unconvincing narrative accent since Manuel in Fawlty Towers.

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