Friday, June 20, 2008

Julie's Review: The Queen's Fool

Photobucket Summary: 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.

Review: I never like to read the same author back to back just because I don't want to compare one to the other. So it's been a few months between reading The Other Boleyn Girl and The Queen's Fool: A Novel, which is enough time to enjoy The Queen's Fool on it's own merits but know that it just didn't live up to The Other Boleyn Girl.

I enjoyed the story of Hannah and how the book was told from her point of view. I believe as a reader, you got a good portrayal of Queen Mary, Lord Robert and Princess Elizabeth through her eyes. She comes into the King's Court as an innocent, naive young boy/girl and leaves the Queen's court as a strong, confident young woman. She is a holy fool instead of a comical fool for the royal court and is often used for others biding. She falls in lust with Lord Robert and will do whatever he instructs her. She is placed in Princess Mary's house to spy on her for Lord Robert but ends up growing to love the Princess that becomes Queen. While serving Queen Mary, she is sent to spy on Princess Elizabeth for the Queen and gets captured into Princess Elizabeth's spell. Sound like a soap opera? It is but set in the 1500s.

I don't claim to know much about this period in history, but I do enjoy reading historical fiction about it. I will admit to googling Lord Robert Dudley to see he looked like in portraits. He was a handsome man for that period in time and it seems very charismatic. I loved learning about Queen Mary and Princess Elizabeth at that period in history.

I enjoyed coming to Hannah and seeing her transform from a young girl/boy to a confident young lady. She really came into her own. She learned that she could still be a strong woman and have a husband she did love.

In The Other Boleyn Girl the descriptions were so vivid you felt like you stepped back in time and were living there. I didn't get the quite the same feeling from The Queen's Fool. The descriptions were good and I could picture much of the scenery but I think that is because I was already acquainted with the time period.

If you enjoy historical fiction, then I highly suggest your pick up either of these books by Philippa Gregory. If you aren't into historical fiction, you will still find the story of Hannah intriguing and a satisfying read.

I'm lucky enough to have all of Philippa's books thanks to my aunt, so over the next several months I'm sure I'll eventually read most of them.

Final Take: 4.5/5

Related: Julie's Review: The Other Boleyn Girl


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