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The Other Queen by Philippa Gregory
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's review
Dec 28, 2009

it was ok

I had thought that this novel would make for good holiday reading – and essentially I was right. I was however a bit disappointed in this novel. Although very readable, and quite a page-turner, for me it was rather lacking. With Philippa Gregory novels such as The Other Boleyn Girl, and The Boleyn Inheritance - while I recognised they were just good historical novels and no more serious than that - they immersed the reader in the Tudor world with all it’s sights sounds and smells. I didn’t feel drawn into that world in the same way with this book. Mary Queen of Scots is a fascinating figure, and here Philippa Gregory hasn’t taken the traditional view that she was a rather foolish woman who was ruled by her heart, and this apparently holds with more recent research. I can quite easily accept that Mary was a manipulative woman who used her looks to get her own way, and I can even accept that George Talbot may have fallen for her. However neither of their voices, or that of the fascinating Bess Hardwick come across strongly or authentically to me, they sound a little too modern. It is a good read, and an interesting story, and I may look out for some non-fiction works about Mary Queen of Scots. The one thing I did like about this novel was that Philippa Gregory has taken the years of the queen’s imprisonment in England as the point at which to begin her story of Mary.

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