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Queen's Own Fool (Stuart Quartet, #1)
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Queen's Own Fool (Stuart Quartet #1)

3.85 of 5 stars 3.85  ·  rating details  ·  1,908 ratings  ·  128 reviews
Called La Jardiniere, a resourceful and clever jester to the queen's court, Nicola was a most unlikely person to end up "fool" and friend to Mary, Queen of Scots. But Nicola isn't an ordinary comedian clowning before the court; her sharp tongue is rare amongst the fawning nobles. As fate takes Mary from France to Scotland, and into confrontations with rebellious lords and ...more
Paperback, 390 pages
Published November 12th 2001 by Puffin Books (first published May 22nd 2000)
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I very much enjoyed how this story unwound surrounding the life of Queen Mary of Scots. It also gave a unique perspective as it was written from the viewpoint of the Queen's fool, Nicola, also known as La Jardiniere. The author kept the tone light which made it enjoyable and entertaining. It was also a quick read and I had a hard time putting it down.
Aug 02, 2009 Summer rated it 5 of 5 stars
Recommends it for: young adult and adult
Jane Yolen has a talent that is unfortunatly left to be undiscovered, sitting lonely on the bookshelf to gather dust. In her Scotland based quarted Jane Yolen writes witht the help of Robert J. Harris, a historian. She tells the tales of the commoners and their strugles to survive through an age in which the rules didn't always apply.
In the Queen's Own Fool, a young girl in a traveling troupe apeals to the queen of France, Mary Queen of Scots. Mary is married to the young and frail king of Fra
Well, I loved this book. Nothing more to it. I even stole my middle school teacher's copy, just because I loved it.

Reason? Well...

-The narrator has a voice, and a very strong one at that. She runs away from a bad life with her uncle and siblings of her own accord. That's gutsy, as are her antics. I liked that.
-A lot of interesting things happen, but it wasn't so action-packed that I never had a moment to breathe. See, there were a lot of small details to ponder and let me feed off of without Yol
So for a YA book about Mary Queen of Scots, I suppose this is good. However, there is one huge problem.

Here's the problem. In movie trailer format.

Watch Nicola escape her evil uncle!

Thrill to Nicola's escape from her evil governess!

Discover Nicola's amazing ability to foresee the future!

Gasp as Nicola saves the Queen who should list to her fool!

Soundtrack availbe now, including the hit song, "The Perfect Mary Sue".

In other words, it would be a much better story if Nicola didn't seem to have 20/2
I really enjoyed this book and read it in three days, with my usual amount of schoolwork is amazing. Anyways, the story is about Nicola a half French/half Italian tumbler who becomes Mary Queen of Scots' fool or jester. The book covers their adventures together from when Mary is the young queen of France, on to actually becoming the Queen of Scots, till she surrenders herself to Elizabeth I. I loved the detailed nature of the book and the in-depth history.
Jacquelin Devlin
Can’t keep your royalty straight? Nothing helps like a novel to put a face and a personality on a historical figure, and this fictional account of Mary Queen of Scots does it so nicely! Yolen and Harris, a Scottish author, follow the queen, who loved gaiety and felt pity for even the most undeserving, through the eyes of her young “fool” or jester, Nicola Ambruzzi, called La Jardeniere.
Although born in Scotland and made queen at the age of five, Mary was also Queen of France when she and Nicol
Brooke Heitland
I thought this book was really interesting. Sometimes it was hard to follow along and picture what was going on in the book. Not knowing much background about the characters, or whether they were real or not, made it really hard to understand. I wonder really whether or not this actually happened, or if this was made up. The reason why I wonder this is because the author could of used actual people's names, but just dramatized and made up the rest of it. I didn't like this book as much as I like ...more
Austen to Zafón
The story of Mary Queen of Scots, told from the perspective of a 12-year-old girl employed as the queen's own personal entertainer. I read this in two sittings and was up until 2 am finishing it last night. It certainly is a page-turner and Nicola doesn't disappoint as an independent, passionate, and funny observer of the events around Mary's stint as Queen of Scotland. I don't know how accurate it is, although Yolen seems to be a thorough researcher. The queen did have a fool named Nicola, but ...more
This book was a pleasant surprise. What a fun way to learn History about Mary, Queen of Scott, and 16th Century Scotland. -- I have to find the quick way to finish my challenges. If not, I wouldn’t have even considered reading it.

I loved Nicola and her innocent way of viewing the world. Tho, ill-fated and become orphan at young age, she still had positive views of the world. I enjoyed her (or rather the author’s) wits and humors. I was laughing with her at times, especially with the Troupe Bruf
Liz Stoneking
Political intrigue and religious wars are rarely the sort of fiction that catch my attention, but I couldn't put this book down. Nicola is both charming and bumbling, making her the perfect "fool". She is gifted with a great deal of common sense, but utterly naive in her devotion to Queen Mary. I was amazed at how people who hold so many of the same values (all Christians, with slight changes in how they worship) can hate each other so unremittingly over such small differences.
When I checked this book out from the library, I was thinking it was about the "Anne of A Thousand Days" Queen, but it's not. It's about Mary, Queen of the Scots, and I think is fairly accurate when it comes to her comings and goings.

The great part is, it's told through the eyes of a very likable young woman named (why can't I ever remember their names????), but anyway, she starts out as a beaten down acrobat who catches the eye of Queen Mary (then queen of france) and is taken on as her court
Linda Lipko
If you like historical fiction, you might enjoy this well written book of Mary Queen of Scots from the perspective of her fool Nicola Ambruzzi.

If you can suspend the disbelief that a court jester would be as intimate and friendly with the Queen, then read along in this magical tale of intrigue, back stabbing plots and incredible sadness as Nicola shows the beauty and the folly of her much loved Queen.

Traveling in a ragley, tagley troupe of entertainers, orphaned Nicola is a savvy, quick witted,
I think I have just finished the fir.... no, this is the second book I have managed to read the whole of all year. Unless you know of something I don't remember...

This is a good book, it'd be great for young adults. Its only drawback to me is that I've read and seen so many other tellings of a certain side of the story, it's hard for me to really empathize with Queen Mary, one of the very major characters.

I read this because "Girl in a Cage" was mentioned in my last class... and that being the s
Misty Freeman
I love this book. It's been while since I read it so I don't remember moost of the details. I do remember I read it twice. The best things about this book are the characters and the history. I love pretty much any book that has a character with a sharp tounge. I do remember being disappointed with the ending although it was historically acurate. That's why only 4 stars
This is a young adult novel telling the story of le Jardiniere, the fool of Mary Queen of Scots. Le Jardiniere was a real person, but virtually nothing is known about her, save her position and name. Yolen and Harris have created an Italian girl of unusual candor and humor to fill this role. Yolen is a veteran YA writer and I would recommend pretty much anything by her. Fool begins in France where may was also queen by virtue of marriage, it follows Mary and her entourage through political intri ...more
Rebecca Honeycutt
"Doomed queens" seems to have become my summer reading theme: first Anne Boleyn, now Mary Queen of Scots. This book was fun to start with, and is well done (Jane Yolen always delivers), but the sense of impending doom is starting to get to me. It's not half as bad as The Other Boleyn Girl, which had me longing for Anne's decapitation when I was only halfway through the book, but still, I don't know how Yolen and Harris can faithfully describe the horrors of Mary's later life and death in a way t ...more
Although the beginning of this book was a bit slow, I soon found myself drawn in to the story of politics and intrigue surrounding Mary, Queen of Scots. The story is told from the POV of Nicola, a young woman who caught the Queen's attention as part of a travelling entertainers. The Queen, appreciative of Nicola's habit of telling the truth, invites her to become the Queen's Own Fool; her only job is to always tell the Queen the truth, no matter what, and remind her that she is a mere mortal. Ni ...more
Jade Whiting
I thought this book was really excellent. I normally don't read books based on this time period because I think they can be really boring with all of the formalities but this book was actually pretty exciting. Its about Queen Mary, a Scottish queen who is first married to King Francis of France, making her queen of France as well until he dies. It is also about a young girl named Nicola, who the queen takes as her own royal fool when Nicola does a show for the queen in France. They become close ...more
This was a fun and fictional account of what it was like to be a fool under Mary of Scots and the adventures they go through, along with the theme of foolishness, which had an interesting twist.
I really wanted to like this book. Historical fiction about the time period we are studying, Jane Yolen.....what's not to like? It was slow reading and overly detailed. The focus was heavily on the drama, romance, and intrigue that surrounded the queen and her court. Maybe I just don't care for this time period. There were many colloquial sayings that gave us pause to interpret and lots of rich vocabulary, and I definitely feel we all understand Mary Queen of Scots better it has many ...more
I enjoyed the level of historical detail regarding Mary, Queen of Scots. It was kind of funny though that Nicola was apparently unaware of her own wit. I would have thought that the job of a Fool would involve being very much aware of your word choice and what was meant by those words, but Nicola often seemed to say witty things with double meanings purely by chance. Because of Nicola's own ignorance regarding the realities of certain events, the book is an interesting vignette of Mary, Queen of ...more
Maybe even 3 1/2 or 4 stars. I really enjoyed it and I like that it is historical and fiction rolled into one easy to read story.
Cori Macrae
YA and enjoyable. Would have loved it when I was 13 - highly recommend for a young adult who wants to read books about ladies in long dresses. That's what got me started :)
It was a fairly good book. Pleasurably entertaining and my favorite genre of literature. I am interested to know how much of the plot was pulled from true events in history. I know very little about Queen Mary of Scotland but now I am interested to know more. I enjoyed the book but I am not dying to add it to my library collection or re-read it in a few months. A good read if you are feeling some historical fiction.
Kyra Sutherland
Though I was unsure when my mother suggested this book to me, I absolutely loved it. It was an absolutely wonderful way to learn about the time period, as well as about Mary, Queen of Scots. Though an accurate historical fiction, the wonderfully crafted characters, particularly Nicola herself, draw the reader in and keep them there until the book is finished. The terror and dark nature of those times in history is illustrated perfectly in this spectacular novel, a novel I could recommend to almo ...more
Sarah Ferguson
Very interesting book. Made you feel like Mary could have been someone you knew.
Rena Jane
Some of the finest literature available in this time is that produced for young adults. This book definitely qualifies. It plainly illustrates the political and personal struggles of the tragic Queen Mary of Scots, told through the person of her Royal Fool.

This well-crafted historical novel clearly presents the major characters involved in the repatriation of Queen Mary of Scots to Scotland, her marriage to Lord Darnley and then the machinations of the lords who forced her to marry Bothwell and
Neill Smith
This is a fictionalized version of the life of Mary, Queen of Scots, told from the death of her French husband in 1559 until she fled Scotland around 1570 to place herself in the hands of Elizabeth of England. It is told from the point of view of her fool, La Jardinere. Little is known about La Jardinere except that she was female and was sent home to France when Mary went to England. Much is known about Mary so the story is historically accurate although the interpretation of the events are fic ...more
I really enjoy historical fiction. This book was very interesting.
Michelle Murphy
Loved this book really mad me cry and smile at the same time
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Jane Yolen is a novelist, poet, fantasist, journalist, songwriter, storyteller, folklorist, and children’s book author who has written more than three hundred books. Her accolades include the Caldecott Medal, two Nebula Awards, the World Fantasy Award, three Mythopoeic Awards, the Kerlan Award, two Christopher Awards, and six honorary doctorate degrees from colleges and universities in Massachuset ...more
More about Jane Yolen...

Other Books in the Series

Stuart Quartet (4 books)
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  • Prince Across the Water (Stuart Quartet, #3)
  • The Rogues (Stuart Quartet, #4)
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