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The Other Queen: A Novel
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Product Description

Two women competing for a man's heart
Two queens fighting to the death for dominance
The untold story of Mary, Queen of Scots

This dazzling novel from the #1 New York Times bestselling author Philippa Gregory presents a new and unique view of one of history's most intriguing, romantic, and maddening heroines. Biographers often neglect the captive years of Mary, Queen of Scots, who trusted Queen Elizabeth's promise of sanctuary when she fled from rebels in Scotland and then found herself imprisoned as the "guest" of George Talbot, Earl of Shrewsbury, and his indomitable wife, Bess of Hardwick.

The newly married couple welcome the doomed queen into their home, certain that serving as her hosts and jailers will bring them an advantage in the cutthroat world of the Elizabethan court. To their horror, they find that the task will bankrupt them, and as their home becomes the epicenter of intrigue and rebellion against Elizabeth, their loyalty to each other and to their sovereign comes into question. If Mary succeeds in seducing the earl into her own web of treachery and treason, or if the great spymaster William Cecil links them to the growing conspiracy to free Mary from her illegal imprisonment, they will all face the headsman.

Philippa Gregory uses new research and her passion for historical accuracy to place a well-known heroine in a completely new tale full of suspense, passion, and political intrigue. For years, readers have clamored for Gregory to tell Mary's story, and The Other Queen is the result of her determination to present a novel worthy of this extraordinary heroine.

Customer Reviews:

  • Wanted to love it....
    Mary Queen of Scots had a life as intriguing as that of her cousin Elizabeth. However, Phillipa Gregory chose to highlight the least interesting part of her life (her quasi imprisonment with Bess of Hardwick and George Talbot Earl of Shrewsbury). Her two marriages prior to her imprisonment, the birth of her son, (and death of her twins) would have all made much more interesting reading than the back and forth of her flirtations with her so called jailers. These aspects of her life were barely mentioned in the novel. For this reason, this book does not live up to Gregory's extraordinary talents. Having read everything she ever wrote, including two novels published in England and never in the U.S., I would recommend "Wideacre" as her finest. ...more info
  • Perhaps it's time to shift gears
    SUMMARY: The latest in what can be called Gregory's Tudor series tackles the imprisonment of Mary Queen of Scots at the hands of her cousin, Elizabeth I. Mary is held captive in England at Elizabeth's behest while Scotland engages in what is tantamount to civil war, while the English people silently debate if perhaps Mary is better suited to their throne than their current monarch.

    WHY YOU'LL LIKE IT: Gregory has a gift for making Tudor England come alive to the reader. The sights, smells, and attitudes all ring with a modernity which drags the past into the present. There is no question that Gregory is a talented author who researches well her books.

    WHY YOU WON'T: One has to wonder if Gregory has lost her passion for her subject. The narrative is plodding and at times completely boring, with numerous repetitive sections, specifically as related to Mary and Bess Hardwick. Despite recent scholarship on both women, Gregory fails to make their perils in any way impacting, rendering the characters one-dimensional and grating.

    BOTTOM LINE: A difficult read, even for die-hard Gregory fans and Anglophiles. There's little to no new information here, and almost nothing which hasn't been addressed - and with more flair - in Gregory's previous novels....more info
  • The Other Queen
    Philippa Gregory is a great author. I have read other books on similar time periods and they read like a school text book. Philippa Gregory writes from three different views and all first person.
    What a great way to learn history. She does her research and makes it interesting and hard to put down....more info
  • Was looking forward to it, but was disappointed
    I'm a huge fan of Philippa Gregory's books, having discovered her when "The Other Boleyn Girl" was still mostly undiscovered! While I waited for "The Other Queen" eagerly, it was with some disappointment that I realized that it, like "The Boleyn Inheritance", was told from several points of view. I don't like her multiple-character perspective novels nearly as much as when they have a single protagonist. I managed to get through the first few chapters, but when she started the "Voila!" thing again that made Mary, Queen of Scots and Catherine Howard (from "The Boleyn Inheritance") sound like exactly the same naive character, I'd had enough. I stopped reading it. Mary came across as impossibly gullible (I can't imagine someone raised to be a queen, who had experienced as much as Mary had, would be quite so without real intelligence and depth) and the other two main characters were not particularly compelling either.

    A good friend of mine had a similar opinion and also stopped reading partway through, and considering that I rarely fail to finish a novel, I think that speaks to the rather dull nature of this particular offering. Previous reviewers have said how repetitive the points of view are - rather than seeing rich, well-developed personalities, we see stereotypes repeated over and over from chapter to chapter. One of the appealing aspects of "The Other Boleyn Girl" is that there is depth to Anne and Mary. While Anne IS continuously presented as conniving, she experiences real emotions and Mary Boleyn is innocent, but learns to function in court. There is development in the characters that is completely absent in "The Other Queen," at least in the first hundred or so pages that I made myself read.

    I like Gregory's work very much but think she has over-done this period and perhaps needs to pick a different era. We all know she thinks Elizabeth I was manipulative and promiscuous and that anyone who ISN'T Elizabeth I must therefore be good in some way, since she's told us so in multiple novels so far. No need to reiterate; time to move on to new characters, go back to the single-perspective narration, and give us more of the fantastic, rich writing that drew me to her books in the first place!...more info
  • A Cord of Three Strands is Way Too Repetitious
    Despite her less than historic treatment of the subject matter, I have enjoyed the other books in this series because of Gregory's ability to give historic characters a realness. While this book is no different in that aspect, it seems like each chapter says the exact same thing as the one before it - Mary constantly yearns for liberty and can't pronounce George's last name, George constantly yearns for Mary, and Bess constantly yearns for money. The story could have been told the same way had each character's chapter contained only one word (liberty, Mary, money) depending on whose chapter it is. Plus they are always racing around from one place to the next. I am only halfway through this book and I am bored with it already - it is a chore to pick it up and read it. What a disappointment....more info
  • Very Disappointing For This Gregory Fan
    I have been a huge fan of Philippa Gregory's books since discovering "The Other Boleyn Girl", and have since gone back and read all of her Tudor period fiction. While I admit that I have never enjoyed any as much as Boleyn Girl and Boleyn Inheritance, I was still sorely disappointed by "The Other Queen". While including all of the lovely descriptive writing that vividly conveys the era, I found this book completely lacking in the passion and emotion that played such a large part in the other books. We all know ultimately how each of these books end...we know the fate of most of the lead characters because they are historical. What has made the books magical and mesmerizing for me is the (albeit fictional) insight into the people's minds and motivations; their foibles, their fears, their obsessions...and while some of that is eveident here, it is totally lacking in passion, and therefore made it difficult for me to understand the motivation. I found the characters flat and uninspiring, and the book felt like a chore I had to complete. Definitely not in a class with her earlier books!...more info
  • I enjoyed it!
    Despite the mixed reviews here, I decided to give THE OTHER QUEEN a chance and am glad that I did. Having read biographies of Mary, Queen of Scots and Bess of Hardwicke, I think that Ms. Gregory did an excellent job of giving "voice" to the characters, and even though I knew the final outcome for all, I still found myself hoping that one of the rescue plots would work and sympathizing with Bess as she saw the world she had worked so hard to build crumble in her hands.

    A very enjoyable read -- I was actually sad to have it end!...more info
  • Three interesting historical figures, but one misstep after another.
    Philippa Gregory has done it again-- she brings Tudor England to life once more, this time telling the opposite side of the story that occurred in her novel "The Virgin's Lover," that of Mary Stewart, Queen of Scotts. She paints the beautiful young queen as a sympathetic figure and a model of the Catholic monarchs of the age. The novel takes place from Mary's point of view, as well as from George and Bess, Earls of Shrewsbury, her "jailers" that held her while Elizabeth I decided her fate.

    Gregory makes several great insights throughout the story-- William Cecil, one of Elizabeth's advisors, becomes something of an opportunistic villain, much as she began his characterization in "The Virgin's Lover." Elizabeth's desire to release Mary and her simultaneous fear of her is an interesting dynamic. And as always, Gregory's research is impeccable and very accurate.

    However, Gregory also made several missteps in this novel. The three-view narrative should have offered an opportunity to delve deeper into every scene of the book, but instead she ends up repeating herself. For instance, if has Mary telling us, before she meets an English Duke, that she hopes to seduce him, she will then have George telling us how he fears Mary's seductive powers, and then Bess telling us how she knows intuitively that Mary must rely on her seductive powers to sway this duke. That's pretty much what too much of this novel boils down to: Mary is seductive, charming, and uber-Catholic; George is chastely in love with Mary but will never turn his back on Elizabeth because of his Talbot honor; Bess is a self-made woman who has become hardened by Elizabeth's treachery. Instead of fleshing out the characters from the multiple viewpoint mechanism, they fall back and become 2-dimensional. Too much of the action is also left off the page-- most of the book is the characters talking about themselves and worrying about things that don't end up happening. Essentially, they're all just waiting for Mary to die.

    Nevertheless, Mary, Queen of Scotts is eternally fascinating, and a great pick on Gregory's part. I wish she had chosen to write about Mary's earlier life, which was hinted at throughout the novel and seemed much more intriguing than her captive life... maybe she is saving that for a future book?

    Of course, Gregory never fails to deliver a good read. If you want a good introduction to her Tudor novels, however, I suggest "The Other Boleyn Girl" and "The Virgin's Lover" before you tackle her later books, such as this and "The Boleyn Inheritance."...more info
  • It put me to sleep
    I have read all of Phillipa Gregory's books and
    was so looking forward to this one . It is BORING .
    What a letdown - I can't get through it ....more info
  • It was ok
    This book started out a little slow. At times i did find it interesting, but i was tempted several times to put it down.

    This book is told from three viewpoints, which to be honest, always irritates me. Its great to see things from all points of view, but i would have preferred for this book, that she picked a arrator and stuck with it. Maybe Bess, who seems interesting.

    It covers the early years of Mary, Queen of Scots captivity, and a couple uprisings that were planned on her behalf.

    What gets me is how everyone was falling over themselves for this woman, even after all the executions. It wasnt totally unbelievable though. Which is the reason for the three stars. At times i felt Mary's belief in her own station seemed unrealistic, but then i remember how she was raised, so it's not completely unrealistic.

    I really liked Bess. She was practical, and honest to a fault.

    Check this out of the library, its not for everyone, as the plot drags at times....more info
  • Not her best
    I couldn't even be bothered to finish this one. Between the lack of action and the cardboard characters, I wanted to stop at page 60 but kept chugging along thinking this is Philippa Gregory. It's going to get better any time now. Unfortunately, it didn't. ...more info
  • I wanted to love it...
    Let me start out by saying this.. I adore Phillipa Gregory. She is, by far, one of my all time favorite authors. I love Tudor England and historical fiction. She is the queen of that genre. I have loved every book she has ever written. Seriously. And I loved The Other Queen. But it wasn't my favorite. Not even close.

    And it wasn't her writing that didn't do it for me. It was the characters. I just didn't care much for them. The Queen of Scots came off as a petulant brat. (Which maybe she was.) This story takes place during the years she was held captive with the George Talbot, Earl of Shrewsbury and his wife. The narrative switches between Mary, George and his wife, which is interesting, but can also be confusing in some novels. I think this one would have been better handled in a single person view, Mary's. I think I would have liked her better.

    There is not alot of romance, which I didn't really expect, but a little more would have been nice.

    I can't give a Phillipa Gregory novel a bad review, so I will say that it just wasn't my favorite. Maybe I am just to biased with my adoration for Queen Elizabeth that I couldn't identify with a story about a traitor to her throne??
    ...more info
  • Other Queen - less action, more compelling characters
    Gregory's tale of the beautiful but treacherous Mary Queen of Scots has all the hallmark scandal and intrigue her fans know and love. The plot isn't as much of a page turner as some of her others (it's hard to make every scene suspenseful when Mary is confined throughout the entire story) - but the characters are some of the most complex yet. The three protagonists take it in turn to tell the tale, and while their alliances with each other shift, none emerges as the hero or villain. You will love and hate each of them before the end, and you will empathize with the honest earl, his practical wife and the desperate captive traitor queen who ruins them both....more info
  • Don't waste your time or money
    I liked her Bolyn novels so much that I jumped on this one, what a disapointment! If you don't already know Mary's history you will miss half of this book. the references to history are vague, the narrative style is limp. If you want a good book about Mary read Margaret George instead.

    I got the impression Ms. Gregory was tired, so many novels in a short period of time, this one seemed forced,,......more info
  • 'The Other Queen' sees Mary Queen of Scots at her most cunning and manipulative. BCM
    The Other Queen is a very interesting historical fiction novel. Philippa Gregory's clever writing style and her attention to historical detail is clearly evident. The story has good flow, momentum and transports you back to a time when revolutionary Queens ruled the land, leaving little room for error.
    This is the most recent book released from the author and I believe it is more focused on the historical and less on the romantic side, for those who disliked the romantic elements of some of her previous books.
    I was captivated by the whirls of subterfuge, the spies, treachery and underhanded machinations going on in Queen Elizabeth's court, surrounding Mary Queen of Scots and her caretakers as well. Heaven help anyone who got caught in between these two, great Queens.
    I fell under Queen Mary's spell as I read this novel and at the same time I felt badly for her hosts, George and Bess. There subsequent state of affairs was a definitive case of `being careful what you wish for'.
    While reading the story, I found myself compelled to switch sides, my own loyalty in question and I felt torn by making the choices. As a reader, I wondered which of the Queens I would have followed. Could I have made a choice where thousands upon thousands of others had struggled?
    They were glorious women, Queens in their prime, competing for a crown and utterly willing to die for its sake.
    I really enjoyed this novel and I highly recommend it!

    (8 out of 10 Diamonds) - Thoroughly enjoyed it

    ? 2008-2009 Bobbie Crawford-McCoy (Book Reviews By Bobbie).
    All rights reserved.
    ...more info
  • Not perfect, but interesting
    Personally, Historical Fiction is one of my favorite genres. I knew little of the history of Mary Queen of Scots and while this book served to give the facts of what happened at the time, it also provided an interesting way of doing it... through individual point-of-views of the three main characters.

    The story is a bit choppy with the same scenes being voiced by the different main characters. I believe Philippa Gregory did a great job at giving each character their individual voice and it made it more interesting (for me) and kept me engaged in the book.

    However, it lacked what normally does annoy me with books on how books jump back and forth in time. This book stayed on course from beginning to end and while there were flash backs in dialogue, it was a forward moving time line....more info
  • Mary Queen of Scotts - Guest of the Talbots
    The Other Queen: A Novel

    This is not the 'norm' when it comes to Mary Stuart - Queen of Scotland - heir apparent to both France (through marriage) and to the English Throne (her sister is King Henry VIII's sister).

    The story reflects the period in which Mary was 'guest' in her cousin Elizabeth's country while waiting to be returned to Scotland where she would retake her throne from the brother who stole it from her. It tells of the conditions she was kept and of her keepers. It tells of the politics of the era that kept her in hiding away from the public's eye. It tells of a queen without a country in a country where she did not have very many friends - including her cousin.

    As other reviewers have mentioned - the story is long and it drags at many places. It does not, in my opinion, have the 'action' that makes you want to read for hours and hours on end. Though like Phillipa Gregory's other books - it is very well researched and looks at a different side then what most people know, it is not the attention grabber you are used to from her.

    Would I recommend you read it? Absolutely - but there are alot of other books - even Phillipa Gregory's books that I would read first....more info
  • Amazing as Always
    As usual, Phillipa Gregory hits a home run with this book. I always enjoy her books as she does so much research and makes them as authentic as possible. Hats off for this one....more info
  • My first Gregory book...can't wait for more
    I enjoyed this book. I liked how the story is told by three different people, and three points of view. Bess, a countess who cares for money more than anything else, her husband, George Talbot, who falls in love with The Other Queen (Mary of Scots) and Queen Mary, who is imprisoned by her cousin Elizabeth.
    I read other feedback and lots that read other Gregory books found this one to be lacking, however, as my first book, I enjoyed the perspectives, the points of view, and some history of how Queen Elizabeth handled her cousin of Scotland.
    I would have loved to have had a little more history intertwined, but this book was just a snapshot of Queen Elizabeth's reign, and Queen Mary's imprisonment.
    I can't wait for more. ...more info
  • A bit disappointing if you loved The Other Boylen Girl
    I was disappointed with this book, having loved The Boyeln Inheritance, the Reluctant Queen, the Queen's Fool, the Queen's Lover, and the best, The Other Boyeln Girl. As other readers have stated, this book is a bit boring. The main characters keep thinking/saying the same things over and over again, nothing much happens, the dialogue isn't interesting or smart: yes, Mary shouldn't be imprisoned, yes, Elizabeth's jealous, yes, Mary's a threat to Elizabeth's throne, yes, Bess has worked hard all her life, yes, George is a nobleman and enthralled with Mary, but, get on with it already ... why did it take so many years to either restore Mary to her throne or accuse her of treason? 17 years??? There must have been more happening. The Boyelns were much more interesting....more info
  • Its not her best but its still compelling.
    If you like a lot of drama like TOBG, then you may not like this book but I am interested in anything having to do with the Tudor Kings. I have listened to the book this weekend, while cleaning and running errands. I have to say that Bess could become my favorite character of all the novels that I have read about this time period. Bess is a woman after my own heart and if anyone in this novel gain my compassion and sympathy it was her. I understood her almost instantly because I am the kind of woman that likes to keep everything in line.

    Mary, Queen of Scots, has always kind of irritated me, because honestly, as strange as it sounds, is very co-dependent much like some women in this day and age. Listening to this book, I realized that she was just on this wild ride toward disaster and though all the signs were there she was just incapable or unwilling to pay attention to them. She was too concerned with being queen.

    George, well, is just a mess, like most men are when they don't have strong characters.

    All in all I liked the book, I would rather that I had just gotten a book about Bess that had Mary, Queen of Scots as a section of her life, that is a great story.

    I think that if you give it a chance you will see the greatness of this novel....more info
  • Ditch the ghostwriter, Philippa.
    This book was probably her worst. It pulls a "Breaking Dawn" and instead of exerting the effort of writing in third-person POV so she could do omniscient viewpoint, she writes 3 first person POVs. Unlike in SM's case, the voices of the three characters sound the exact same.

    Not only that, but I'm sick of books by Philippa Gregory featuring Tudor contemporaries waxing about the great tragedy that is Elizabeth Tudor's reign. England was doing pretty well during the time this novel covered, especially from the point of view of a Protestant like Shrewsbury whose religion has been given a chance to cover.

    She doesn't do Mary Queen of Scots any justice either. Literally within three paragraphs, she repeats, "I am Dowager Queen of France. I am Queen of Scotland. I am rightful Queen of England, not that red-haired [...]. My body is sacred." Then says pretty much the same wording again just a few sentences later. Who edited this thing?

    I am so pleased now to see a blossoming of new historical fiction about Renaissance England-- I started reading Philippa Gregory in the first place because of the drought. Now books like "That Brief Gaudy Hour" set this poorly-wrought, Danielle Steele of historical fiction claptrap to shame.

    If you want a decent novel that covers THIS EXACT SAME SUBJECT (Mary's imprisonment, Shrewsbury and Bess's relationship), and does it far better, check out, "The Tower and the Dream"....more info
  • So-so
    While Philippa Gregory is undoubtedly one of the more gifted historian-novelists of our times, this is not her finest work by any measure. As others have indicated, the story itself is less than compelling, and the characters less than fully realized.

    I am also beginning to have a real problem with what I see as Gregory's thinly veiled dislike for Elizabeth I. Her portrayals of EI are nearly always less than flattering (as compared,for example, to her oddly sympathetic study of "Bloody" Mary in "The Constant Princess"), and frequently at odds with traditional/historical accounts. I haven't noticed anyone commenting about Gregory's apparent prejudice here, but on other websites, I "talk" to many readers who are somewhat annoyed by it.

    Regardless, I still find much of Gregory's work compelling enough to overlook this perceived bias. Unfortunately, "The Other Queen" does not fall into that category.
    ...more info
  • Not that exciting, but not terrible either
    I've read quite a few of Gregory's other books and enjoyed them. This one wasn't as good as the others. Although I appreciate the fact that focusing on the years that Mary Stuart was a prisoner in England is a different focus for telling her story, the down side is that all of the most exciting parts of her story have already happened and are being retold or remembered. Since Mary is a prisoner there is really nothing for her to do, except plot and flirt.
    The Earl of Shrewsbury is depicted as annoyingly simple. He falls in love with the Queen of Scots and despite the fact that she is constantly plotting and lying he STILL defends her to his wife and Queen Elizabeth, and STILL cannot say no to her.
    The Countess was the most sympathetic character of the whole story. She is the only voice of reson and moderation. The only thing that bothered me was her constant assertion that she is a self-made-woman, risen from nothing. After hearing about how her previous husbands helped her gain and maintain her fortune over and over again I was ready to yell, "OK! I get it!".
    I guess that I would have to say that I'm glad that I checked this book out of my local library and read it for free. It's not a terrible book, but when compared to Gregory's other books I feel that it comes up short. ...more info
  • PG is definately on a down hill slope...
    I have been reading Philippa Gregory's books for years- in fact, it was the Other Boleyn Girl that got me into historical fiction in the first place. As soon as her publishers confirm the release date for her newest book I am one of the first people to pre-order it, eagerly counting down the days till I can be lost once again in Medieval England... Sadly, this feeling is becoming a distant memory with her more recent releases, and with the release of her past two novels, her books are now something that I look for in a sale bin in the department stores. The Other Queen has not changed my opinion in the slightest, instead confirming for me what I have long since thought- PG is going downhill.

    The Other Queen is in the same vein as her previous book The Boleyn Inheritance (another one I did not really enjoy) in the sense that it is written from 3 points of view; Bess of Hardwicke, her husband the Earl and Mary herself. It begins where alot of books on the Scottish Queen finish- during her imprisonment in England by Elizabeth. Not knowing what to do with Mary, Elizabeth decides to force the Earl and his wife to house her- testing their loyalty and solving the issue of what to do with Mary immediately in one hit. What at first appears to be a way to increase the family fortunes soon turns into a reluctant expenditure for Bess, who has spent her entire life saving her fortune only to watch it drain away in the upkeep of a disgraced Queen, and as a result she becomes more and more embittered towards both Queens and her husband. The Earl has other issues; trying to define and keep his loyalty to the Protestant Queen Elizabeth whilst satisfying and supressing his growing feelings of love and loyalty to the Catholic Queen Mary. And as for Mary? It is all about her and how she can plot her way to the English throne.

    What seems like an interesting premise soon proves to be a rather dull interpretation as you slug through the 400+ pages. A brief explanation is given as to Mary's behaviour whilst in Scotland and her "rape"- something that as a reader you should feel sympathy towards her for, but for the most part Mary is just plain annoying. Constantly demanding, whiney and devious, she seems to have no concern for her own well-being or that of her "hosts", choosing to believe that she can act like a toddler for the rest of her life and not be punished because "Elizabeth would never kill a fellow Queen". Bess is portrayed as a money and power hungry woman who cares not for anyone and will ruthlessly defend her property and her money from any that threaten it. Far be it for Gregory to portray this historical figure as a strong and independent woman striving for recognition and rights in a predominantly male world. That would be too hard. The Earl for the most part is presented as a wimp and to be perfectly honest a bit of a "damsel in distress", never being able to say no to any of them, not standing up for himself other than to declare that his loyalty and honour should not be questioned.

    I found the book to be quite tedious with no real events taking place other than a few escape attempts on Mary's behalf, and the marital issues facing the Earl and Bess as a result of Mary's presence. Elizabeth herself, a character I felt could have added some much needed life to this story, was hardly in it at all, and as much as I realise this book is meant to be about these three characters, I do feel that Elizabeth could have given the novel a bit more balance as you see the internal struggle she goes through deciding Mary's fate (and a struggle it must have been for her to keep Mary alive for as long as she did). The prose was bearable, the descriptions adequate, and the characterisation acceptable for the most part- but I feel that what let this book down was its lack of plot and development as an overall story. The novel is predominantly in present tense, but to be honest when the ending came it felt like there was more to the story than was told and I felt as if I had gone from a nice dinner to the scaffold within a few pages- in other words, the ending felt rushed between the characters points of view.

    In the past PG has been attacked for embellishing her stories with more fiction than fact, but personally I would rather read good historical fiction than a "text book" posing as a work of fiction. To be perfectly honest, this book felt like a first draft for its lack of detail etc. and where once I thought Philippa was releasing highly researched and exciting books because for her fans, I am now inclined to think that she is releasing whatever she has available to make her quota for the year. I cannot reccommend this book with a clear conscious. There was too much wrong with it and not enough in it for it to be a vivid and exciting addition to any library. I would suggest that you rent it out from the library first or wait for a sale- all I can hope is that her new book due out this year "The White Queen", is an improvement and a return to the Philippa Gregory we love and admire.

    2 stars for the respect I have for the author. ...more info
  • Shockingly Disappointing
    As a Gregory fan, I am very very disappointed. This book has the same style as The Boleyn Inheritance, in which it goes back and forth between narratives of three different people. That, I did not mind. The narratives themselves are awful. You have Bess Hardwich who just goes on and on and on about her properties and her candlesticks stolen from monasteries and her account books. She never talks of much else and she speaks every 2nd chapter. You have her husband George that just rambles on about his loyalty and honor. And of course you have Queen Mary. Let me say, I am going to search for another portrayal of her because this queen resembles nothing of what I have heard of her. In this book, Queen Mary just pontificates on her status. "I am a French princess. My body is sacred. You cannot touch me. Yada yada yada." Also, I am confused about the Bothwell situation. One chapter she is writing him letters "My dear Bothwell, come save me," and the next chapter she is stating how he raped her and forced her to marry him and kidnapped her. Then again, in the following chapter, she is declaring he is the only man manly enough to fight for her. Somebody, enlighten me, please. ...more info
  • Eh
    I have enjoyed all of Philippa Gregory's previous books. I was disappointed that The Other Queen was so boring and bland when compared to her other novels. It's a shame, considering the material with which George had to work....more info
  • Another winner for Phillippa
    I was on the list to get this book the minute it was available. I am one of Phillipa's biggest fans, and she did not disappoint with this book. I have not spent much time on Mary, Queen of Scots in the past, but found this quite interesting, so that may change.
    If you are a Phillippa fan, you will enjoy this book. If you like historical fiction, you will enjoy it, too. ...more info
  • Boring with a capital B
    I have read most of Philippa Gregory's other books and would rate them between very good and great. It's amazing for me to think the same author wrote this one. Ugh. I was excited to receive it as a gift, dove right into it and was stunned. The writing is amateurish, the chapters are short snippets, the dialog is repetitive, and it's even double spaced. If it was condensed, the book might be 150 pages. The story was not very insightful into the life of Mary Queen of Scots, nor the other two main characters. All the characters were selfish and whiney. It completely lacked the color and character development I have enjoyed in her other books....more info
  • Least favorite of her books
    I was disappointed by this book because I have read all of her books and expected something special with this one. The way the book is written from 3 characters' points of view made it hard for me to connect with any of them. The personal insight and character development were lost for me in this method. ...more info
  • About a hundred pages too long
    This book is just so-so. I would be reading a page, and feel like I had read it before. That was because I probably had. The book is too repetitious. A paragraph can go one and on, just saying the same thing over again, especially when Mary is telling her side of the story. With some good editing to trim the story down and make it move forward faster, it would have been a much better book. As it is, it is slow as molasses. ...more info
  • So dissapointed
    I was so looking forward to Gregory's latest. Before I even knew what it was about, I had it preordered. I can't believe that I didn't like it! None of the characters were particularly likeable; I couldn't really get behind any of them. I know that no well-developed character can be perfect and that's not what I was looking for, but for me to enjoy a book I have to find a way to like them faults and all. Also, the plot was repetitive. I found myself skimming through much of the book. I'm sorry to say, but something was missing for me and I regret not waiting for it to become available at my library. ...more info