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.
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 can't understand why this book was two credits, and I feel them utterly wasted on this book. I usually enjoy Gregory's books for the way she brings a realism to such black-and-white historical events, but wow, was this was a let-down. It's the worst "love" story I've ever read, and I was disappointed the love story was so intrusive to the historical events unfolding.
If you pick up this book expecting a lot of insight into Mary and Elizabeth's socio-political affairs, this is the wrong book for you. Hannah, our leading lady, spends most of her time with Mary so you'll get the clearest run-down her actions, but Elizabeth's doings are usually from afar, and there is never any real explanation as to how and what Elizabeth and Dudley and Dee are accomplishing behind the queen's back, even though Hannah is playing spy and errand-runner for them. There's never explanation as to how and why Hannah was arrested. There's no real explanation as to why France and England were fighting this time, or what Mary's consort had to do with it.
Every aspect of Hannah feels like a forced plot device. She dresses like a boy, but everyone knows she's a girl. There's no pattern to Hannah's cleverness and gullibility, other than that it's convenient at the time for the author to have her be one or the other. She's extremely lackluster about her Jewish heritage, and yet she clings to it (which is it, Gregory, decide!) Both Mary and Elizabeth know her as and use her as a spy, and yet continue to favor her, even though she's a nobody with nothing to offer their causes. Her visions are predictable and obvious, yet she's constantly confused (to the point that it's kind of cheap and cheezy...her visions are not as mystical and eerie and poignant as say, Jacquetta's power in Lady of the Rivers). Hannah adopts the bastard son of her cheating husband without any real reason or desire, and suddenly turns into mama-bear. None of Hannah's qualities or actions feel at all natural.
Hannah was generally weak-kneed and wishy-washy, but it seemed that she was being built up to be a strong character in time. But as soon as I thought she had finally come into her own, she did this odd about-face and seemed to become everything that she had said she would not. It was so disheartening, because there wasn't even a plausible reason for her to fail this way, it just seemed to be what the author wanted to do next, no matter that she had built her characters to behave another way.
1. Don't read this if you're looking for a feel-good 'girl-power' story.
2. Don't read this if you're interested in the socio-political affairs and shift of power between Mary and Elizabeth, or anyone at all.
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.
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!
British ex-pat living in NC. Have more personalities than Sybil which is reflected in my choice of books! Frustrated writer at heart.
A beautifully written and sensitively narrated novel that takes you by the hand and paints a vivid picture of Tudor life through the eyes of 'Hannah', a fictional character? As usual Philippa Gregory's portrayal of Tudor England is 'spot on '!
Each character is rich in layers of personality. Each having their own personal histories which are pertinent to the storyline.
The political plotting made my head 'spin'! So intriguing! To add to this intrigue Hannah has a 'gift' but you will have to read the book to find that out for yourself!
A worthwhile read.
Costume drama queen
I absolutely adore Bianca Amato's narration. She's so easy to listen to. I always enjoy Philippa Gregory's books, with the exception of 1or 2. Yes it's historical fiction, so don't expect it to be a history book.
The perspectives of an "outsider" to the Tudor royal family as the primary narrator really brought a critical and reflective tone to this historical drama, all be it fictional.
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