©2008 Philippa Gregory; (P)2008 HarperCollins Publishers Ltd
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!
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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