For this review, I thought I would use a different format. I am borrowing this from Dewey at The Hidden Side of a Leaf.
Title and author of book? The Queen's Fool by Philippa Gregory
Fiction or non-fiction? Genre? historical fiction
Summarize the plot, but don’t give away the ending! The year is 1553. Hannah Verde is a 14 year old Jewish girl who has recently escaped the Spanish Inquisition with her father after her mother was burned at the stake for heresy. She dresses as a boy and helps her father run his printing press, while both she and her father have learned the ways of the English Protestants to keep a low profile. However, one day, two men make a visit to their bookshop, and Hannah's life takes a huge turn. The men discover that she has the "Sight" and can see the future, and she is asked to become young King Edward's Holy Fool.
Hannah learns quickly that she must pay close attention to all that is going on around her, but not draw too much attention to herself. She soon finds herself enmeshed in the intrigue of who will be the next monarch of England. After King Edward's death, and the short reign of Jane Grey, there is a bitter struggle for the throne between Mary and Elizabeth--half sisters and daughters of Henry VIII. During the constant plotting for the throne, the English citizens don't know if they should be Catholic or Protestant, and they don't know if they can trust their neighbors and own family members not to spy on them. The struggle goes on for several years, and though Hannah loves Mary, she is entranced by Elizabeth's beauty, energy and tenacity. Hannah finds herself spying for one side or the other time and time again, and she knows her life is constantly at risk.
Besides the fear of being arrested for treason and the constant terror that her Jewish heritage will be discovered, Hannah has another worry. She is betrothed to Daniel, a young man she hardly knows. She doesn't want to give up her independence to be a housewife and to live a life she considerous pure drugery, but she feels safest when she is with Daniel. Should she leave the court and be safely married--to live a life of cooking, cleaning and babies, or should she stay and be of help to the Queen in her time of need, OR should she spend time with Elizabeth, learning what she can from the rising princess?
What did you like most about the book? I read the majority of the book in a weekend--it was difficult to put down! There was not a dull moment in 500 pages!
What did you like least? This is no fault of the author's, but I didn't know enough about the history. I had to stop several times to get on the internet and look up the Tudor family tree, as well as tidbits of information about the people who were mentioned in the book.
Which of your readers are most likely to enjoy this book? Why? Anyone who enjoys historical fiction, especially Tudor history--it is easy get caught up in the time period and the constant plotting for the throne. I know there are many fictional elements in the book, but the amazing part to me is that so much of the story actually happened! If you enjoyed The Other Boleyn Girl, I think you will like The Queen's Fool even more.
What did you think of the main character?: I found Hannah to be my biggest complaint of the book. She was forced to spy for all sides, but I hoped she would show more strength of character and simply pick one side and stick with it instead of being so wishy-washy.
Any other particularly interesting characters? I don't know how accurate the description was of Queen Mary in this book, but she was not portrayed like I remember from my history classes--as "Bloody Mary." At the least, reading the book and seeing how difficult her entire life was leading up to her reign sheds a bit of light on who she was.
What did you think of the ending? I am happy with the way this particular story ended, although I NEED to read more about what happened next in the real story.
Date completed: June 15, 2008
# of pages: 500
Read Annie's great review, and if you've read and reviewed this book, please let me know, and I'll include your link.