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 14-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.
©2008 Philippa Gregory (P)2011 Simon & Schuster
"A reader lives a thousand lives before he dies. The man who never reads lives only one." - Jojen Reed. #ADanceWithDragons
There are books out there whose narration breathes life into a book and in this case this most definitely was the case. Anyone familiar with Phillipa Gregory works knows what she is capable of regarding her writing and despite my initial reservations I must say I am glad to say she did not disappoint me.
I have yet to find a Phillipa Gregory book that has not been narrated well. This has, thus far, been my 5th Phillipa Gregory title (I listened “Boelyn Inheritance” twice both the Abridged and Unabridged) and my second experience with Bianca Amato. Bianca weaved the story so exceptionally well that it is easy to get somewhat lost in her words. She has a voice that in and of itself tells a story, she gave life to the characters with specific focus on Hanah, Mary Tudor and Elizabeth Tudor specifically. Exceptional Narration! Utter perfection if you ask me, probably one of the best narrations I have listened to!
Phillipa Gregory... I was reminded once more why I am a big fan of her writings. This is the fourth of the Tudor books and picks up quite well from where 'Boelyn Inheritance' left off. The book chronicles the closing years of Edward VI, the rise and fall of Mary and the ascension of Elizabeth seen through the eyes of Hanah the Fool. The writing was, as usual, immaculate if you ask me. Just the way that she crafts words is something that anyone who likes literature would appreciate it. I like the route that Phillipa Gregory chose to tell this story. I must say I was a bit disappointed at the way Hanah allowed herself to be manipulated throughout the book but was pleased with the ultimate decision that she made in the end and the way she matured throughout the entire portion of the book itself. You actually get a very interesting view of Queen Mary and of Queen Elizabeth, their relationship being a very pivotal feature throughout the entire book. Even though you do inevitably know the outcome of the story at least where Elizabeth and Mary is concerned, the view point is so unique and the story itself woven so well it is still very easy to get engrossed in the book. Very well put together story as I would expect from Phillipa Gregory.
Yes, but I'm retired and have time to spend listening while I do the things I do. Gregory's tales usually captivate me and take me back into the time and era, this story just fell short. Perhaps I just know too much about the actual lives of Catherine, Elizabeth and Dudley; but I just could not buy into this one.
She's just good!
The story flowed and really kept my interest. Some of Philippa Gregory's books were a little unsatisfying to me because I did not feel they proceeded to a tidy ending. The characters in this book were very engaging, I enjoyed the historical fiction--although it seemed as if the attitudes of the queens may have been at least partly accurate--it allowed another viewpoint on the old Elizabeth vs. her sister Mary which is usually presented one-sided. Hanna was especially appealing, because she was portrayed as looking for the best in others. This book had a lovely ending.
I found myself completely engrossed in this story. So much so, I listened to it every moment possible, and had it finished in 3 days. Hannah's character was captivating. I admired her personal growth, and her ability to stay true to herself in spite of the conflicting loyalties for the rival houses. I was biting my nails with worry for her safety right up to the very end of the story.
I loved the storyline of this novel. It captured the feeling of the times and breathed life into historical characters in a believable way. Loved it!
I collect spores, molds, and fungus.
I was so excited to discover Phillippa Gregory and I absolutely devoured the first 3 books of the Tudor series. I loved them and it seemed like such a relief to find a go-to author! But unfortunately I then eagerly downloaded and dove into 'The Queen's Fool'. What a disappointment. Unlike the previous three books, the story is not from the point of view of a historical figure, but a random fictitious young girl named Hannah. She has all these gimmicks that makes it seem like the author is trying WAY too hard to make her an interesting character- She is Jewish and fleeing persecution. She dresses like a boy to stay 'hidden' even though everyone knows she's a girl who is dressing like a boy so it just sort of seems strange after a little while. She also is psychic or something (she has 'the sight') and it is just sort of an afterthought in the story. Also she is running back and forth between Queen Mary and Princess Elizabeth giving them advice and generally being their favorite and most trusted little friend. How and why this has happened for this random Hannah is because of her ESP, i guess, but it just isn't a well developed plotline. Character development is also extremely thin. Oh and of course she has at least two men lusting after her. Oh and she is the 'fool' (court jester?) at court. Does it sound like the stories of Queen Mary and Princess Elizabeth are completely lost in all of this gimmicky character of Hannah? It's because they are. It's like Gregory had an idea of this Hannah character and just wrote her into some historical fiction to give her some kind of a story. IMO, it's a slow moving, boring and redundant story. I'm about 75% through and I'll probably finish it, but then I will take a break from Phillipa Gregory for a while.
Read from September 09 to 27, 2013
Narrator: 4.5 stars
Story: 2.75 stars
Overall: 3.75 stars
When I first started listening to this, it was great to get into a Philippa Gregory book that was from the viewpoint of someone fictional, someone whose fate wasn't written in the history books and well known before I began the book.
And while this was a strength of The Queen's Fool, it also turned into its weakness---because once the action turned toward Hannah and her betrothed, Daniel, and all of their issues, I started losing interest in the story. Not only is their story not strong, it detracted from the reason why I wanted to read this book in the first place: I wanted to know more about Queen Mary I and who she was (or might have been) as a person. I thought the parallel drawn between Hannah and Mary could have been used to better advantage by bringing Hannah back to court much sooner, and the whole Hannah/Robert Dudley thing did not work for me at all.
For an example of a novel that uses a fictional first-person narrator through which to tell the story of a historical figure (Anne Boleyn), I highly recommend Sandra Byrd's To Die For---not only did she do an excellent job of maintaining the focus on Anne Boleyn's story, but she made me care about the fictional main character and what happened to her as well.
It also seems that Gregory is no fan of Elizabeth I, with the picture painted of her in The Queen's Fool. I'm now feeling hesitant about reading/listening to the next book in this series, The Virgin's Lover, which is supposedly told from Amy Dudley's viewpoint---and that can't be flattering of Elizabeth I at all.
I would and have listened to many other books by both Gregory and Amato, and enjoy them very much.
I didn't like that the main character wasn't a real person in history. I enjoy when Gregory rights about a real person in history as opposed to a made up character.
I wanted to like this book. I loved the first books of the Tudor series but I was just unable to get into this one like the others. It simply didn't grab my attention like the first books.
Of course - Philippa Gregory is an incredibly talented author and I have loved most all of her works. This one just let me down.
The performance of the book was quite good and well read.
Philippa Gregory does it again. Using a fictional character enables her to track two well known women in history in the same book - Queen Mary and Princess Elizabeth. Great narration.
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