Wednesday, 24 September 2008

The Other Queen by Philippa Gregory

At the centre of this novel is Mary Queen of Scotland, forced to flee into England. Mary, a devout Catholic, is, of course, a living threat to the rule of her cousin Elisabeth, whose Protestant reign is uncertain. We’ve been here before, of course, in various books and films. But Philippa Gregory’s story this time has a different emphasis: Elizabeth’s chief advisor, Cecil, formulates a plan in which the destabilising Mary will live under guard with his faithful friend, Bess of Hardwick. Bess is a remarkable woman herself; someone who has forged her own destiny, and is now in her fourth marriage, to the distinguished Earl of Shrewsbury. But soon Bess and Mary find themselves plunged into very different personal crises – with Bess’s marriage under considerable strain.

Philippa Gregory is one of my favourite authors, it was she who brought me to the wonderful genre of historical fiction and I have loved pretty much all of her books some of course are better than others but, never have I come across one of her books that have bored me and it pains me to say that frankly I was glad to get to the end!

The characters I feel were not very well developed and Bess irritated the hell out of me, I found her extremely shallow, I wanted to feel for Mary but, I really couldn't it got to the point where I couldn't care about what happened to any of the characters.

George was really not a great deal better, overall I guess the book wasn't terribly bad (compared to Suzannah Dunn's lastest offering this was better) but, compared to Philippa's usual standard this was not really good, I absolutely loved her last book (The Boleyn Inheritance) but, sad to say this will not be one I will re-read.

Sorry Philippa :(


Fyrefly said...

Ah, that's too bad. I've always thought Mary was an interesting figure; it's a shame this book isn't up to expectations.

Daphne said...

I started reading this yesterday and so far the first 50 pages have underwhelmed me.

Rhinoa said...

I am a book behind on this series and I am sorry to hear you were disappointed by this one. I like most of her novels that I have read besides The Queen's Fool.

margotreehugger said...

I think I'll skip this one. Thanks for the review Clare.

Kathy said...

Great review. I always wait until the trade comes out on her books anyway. Mainly to hear if the book was good or bad.