Title: The Queen’s Fool
Author: Philippa Gregory
Published: November 2, 2004
# of Pages: 512
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.
In all truthfulness, I haven’t met a Philippa Gregory novel that I didn’t like. They are not literary masterpieces, sure, but they are certainly entertaining, fun books set in a VERY interesting time in history (mostly during the Tudor reign of England). The Queen’s Fool was no different – I loved the characters, the setting, the historical descriptions, the raunchiness dressed up as romance; I loved it all. One aspect of The Queen’s Fool that I especially liked was the main character, Hannah Green. I liked how this book was told from the perspective of someone outside of the royal family – it gave quite a different spin on the events, and the book wasn’t JUST focused on court life. There was a deeper aspect to the story, since the entire time Hannah was worried about the Inquisition and constantly fearing that someone would discover her secret about her own past. I felt that Hannah was a pretty likable character – she certainly wasn’t perfect and made plenty of mistakes along the way, but she always seemed to want to do the right thing and was generally a good person amidst the evil surrounding the royal family. I also enjoyed how the book spent a lot of time on Queen Mary, as I haven’t read much fiction based on her before. Of course I’m well aware that Ms. Gregory’s books aren’t extremely historically accurate, but I found the plot surrounding Queen Mary interesting all the same.
Generally speaking, if you’re a Philippa Gregory fan, The Queen’s Fool is one not to be missed. And if you’re a historical fiction/historical romance fan and haven’t read anything by this author, I’d suggest giving her a try. I always find myself racing through her books – they are highly entertaining and I can’t recommend them enough.
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