Kathleen's Reviews > The Other Queen

The Other Queen by Philippa Gregory
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's review
Oct 03, 2008

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bookshelves: historical-fiction
Read in October, 2008

I seem to be giving a lot of "three star" scores to books I've read. These all turn out to be enjoyable books, but somehow don't make that leap to greatness that in my mind qualify them for that extra star or two.

The Other Queen is the latest historical fiction from Phillippa Gregory, and is set during the time of the house arrest of Mary Queen of Scots. Interestingly, much of the novel focuses on her hostess during the arrest, Bess of Hardwick. The book is written in first-person, bouncing among three points of view: Mary, Bess, and her husband George, the Earl of Shrewsbury. While it keeps the reader guessing as to the exact moments when key pieces of information will be revealed to the other characters, it does get repetitious. We hear Mary's conviction of her absolute divinity as a queen over and over. We hear Bess's worries about her money troubles over and over. And we hear again and again about George's anguish over how to act with honor in the service of Queen Elizabeth even when he disagrees with her reliance on her advisor William Cecil.


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