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The Queen's Fool, A Novel
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A young woman caught in the rivalry between Queen Mary and her half sister, Elizabeth, must find her true destiny amid treason, poisonous rivalries, loss of faith, and unrequited love. It is winter, 1553. Pursued by the Inquisition, Hannah Green, a fourteen-year-old Jewish girl, is forced to flee Spain with her father. But Hannah is no ordinary refugee. Her gift of "Sight," the ability to foresee the future, is priceless in the troubled times of the Tudor court. Hannah is adopted by the glamorous Robert Dudley, the charismatic son of King Edward's protector, who brings her to court as a "holy fool" for Queen Mary and, ultimately, Queen Elizabeth. Hired as a fool but working as a spy; promised in wedlock but in love with her master; endangered by the laws against heresy, treason, and witchcraft, Hannah must choose between the safe life of a commoner and the dangerous intrigues of the royal family that are inextricably bound up in her own yearnings and desires. Teeming with vibrant period detail and peopled by characters seamlessly woven into the sweeping tapestry of history, The Queen's Fool is another rich and emotionally resonant gem from this wonderful storyteller.

Customer Reviews:

  • A great book
    This is a great book, easy to read. It's a historical-fiction book so the reader must keep that in mind. Some of the items in the book are correct, some are embellished, some are made up. It still a great read and perfect for a summer book list....more info
  • No Foolin'
    Right after I finished The Other Boleyn Girl I had to pick this one up and continue, sort of, the story.

    I liked Hannah well enough. I could see many traits in her that I see in myself. Surprisingly one situation she has in extremely close to one I had, and it was interesting to see someone elses take on it, even if the person is fictitious. I was a bit bored with her always talking about her mother's death, but I guess it would have to be traumatic to watch someone burn as burnt human flesh isn't a pleasant smell or memory. I did feel like I would have liked to know more about Daniel and his family. I didn't really get a good sense of Robert Dudley like I had hoped, but I guess The Virgin's Lover will possibly fill some things in for me.

    I really felt like the author downplayed on Elizabeth a lot. She was an actress all the time; sick, not sick, plotting, not plotting, schemer, like her mother in the last book; and Mary, so much like her mother, so pleasant all the time. For two girls who spent so much time away from their moms I find it weird that they were both so much like their moms from the previous book.

    It's a good book. I'd recommend it to others highly. I do say that I did feel for Hannah when she was taken and arrested. I was hoping that she wasn't going to have to endure the torture that she knew others went through. I did, however, wonder when she was going to realize that her Queen Mary wasn't as pleasant as she made herself. She seemed like she was just off on cloud 9 much of the time. Maybe all those years alone, being made, and declared a bastard, touched her more than anyone wanted to admit.

    Even though they called her, Hannah, a fool. She's no fool. In fact she's smarter than many of the people she comes across. ...more info
  • The book that would never end ...
    This was the first of Philippa Gregory's books for me. As you hope a book will do, this one grabbed me in the beginning. But then, it started to drag. Hannah the Fool is a young girl dressed as a boy in order to hide her heritage and religion. Hannah and her father are constantly looking over their shoulders in fear of the Inquistion. She becomes the King's fool first, but after he dies, she quickly becomes a close confidant to both Queen Mary and Princess Elizabeth. This is where I got stuck. How can Hannah love (as she professes throughout the book) two women who are basically trying to eliminate each other? Oh, and don't forget Hannah's infatuation with Lord Robert, Princess Elizabeth's lover who played an instrumental role in trying to take the throne from Queen Mary. The historical aspect of the book was the exceptional part. It takes true talent to be able to research a topic as confusing as Britain's royals and weave it together with a fictional story. The story takes many twists and turns, especially toward the end, but only a few of those twists and turns enticed me to continue reading. I always try to make a good faith effort to finish books I start, even when I'm not interested in it. I finished this novel for one simple reason: Ms. Gregory is a good writer. ...more info
  • Big fan of Gregory and all of her books, this one's no different.
    In all truthfulness, I haven't met a Philippa Gregory novel that I didn't like. They are not literary masterpieces, sure, but they are certainly entertaining, fun books set in a VERY interesting time in history (mostly during the Tudor reign of England). The Queen's Fool was no different - I loved the characters, the setting, the historical descriptions, the raunchiness dressed up as romance; I loved it all. One aspect of The Queen's Fool that I especially liked was the main character, Hannah Green. I liked how this book was told from the perspective of someone outside of the royal family - it gave quite a different spin on the events, and the book wasn't JUST focused on court life. There was a deeper aspect to the story, since the entire time Hannah was worried about the Inquisition and constantly fearing that someone would discover her secret about her own past. I felt that Hannah was a pretty likable character - she certainly wasn't perfect and made plenty of mistakes along the way, but she always seemed to want to do the right thing and was generally a good person amidst the evil surrounding the royal family. I also enjoyed how the book spent a lot of time on Queen Mary, as I haven't read much fiction based on her before. Of course I'm well aware that Ms. Gregory's books aren't extremely historically accurate, but I found the plot surrounding Queen Mary interesting all the same.

    Generally speaking, if you're a Philippa Gregory fan, The Queen's Fool is one not to be missed. And if you're a historical fiction/historical romance fan and haven't read anything by this author, I'd suggest giving her a try. I always find myself racing through her books - they are highly entertaining and I can't recommend them enough....more info
  • The Queen's Fool: A novel
    Intriguing! Great descriptions of the Tudor court in a suspense filled, exciting time in history. Had me hooked....more info
  • A Spy Who is a Fool in the Queen's Household
    Caught in the political turmoil of the sixteenth century, when England was bitterly divided by religious differences, and "heretics" and traitors to the "cause" were liberally burned or beheaded, a young girl witnesses court life up close. Living in fear as a secret Jew converted to Christianity, Hannah is blackmailed into becoming a spy for the powerful Dudley family. Blessed with the gift of foretelling, she becomes young King Edward's Holy Fool, and, after his death, is passed into the household of his sister, Queen Mary, to continue her spying as the Queen's Fool. She is engaged to her cousin, an attractive and clever physician, while simultaneously falling for her blackmailer, Lord Dudley. To make matters even more complicated, she becomes an ardent fan of both Royal women, Queen Mary and Princess Elizabeth, both of whom she is spying upon: Queen Mary for Robert Dudley and Princess Elizabeth for Queen Mary.

    I loved Gregory's "The Other Boleyn Girl", but cannot rate this book in the same category. While the author writes well, this story gets bogged down in minutiae and too much liberty is taken with the actual historical characters. The words that come out of Queen Mary, Robert Dudley, or Princess Elizabeth just do not ring true. They sound like the author's imaginary projections, not the actual words. The dialogue lacks the authenticity of the historical details plastered all over the text and often interfering in the flow of the real story.

    Hannah's relationship with her cousin and betrothed is well done. You can feel the passion slowly developing. In some way perhaps this book would have been better giving that relationship more attention rather than occasional updates. If you enjoy historical novels during this era, I recommend figures in Silkby Vanora Bennett, a story set during the reign of Charles II that focuses on the growth of the Silk trade and court life. Like Hannah, the main character is a fictional woman, a doctor, and like Hannah, striving to create a place for herself in this male-dominated society. The story is faster-paced, yet the historical events well portrayed.

    ...more info
    This best selling English author of historical fiction has written yet another interesting work. This novel takes place during the reign of Mary Tudor, daughter of King Henry VIII and Katherine of Aragon. She would leave a legacy that would cause her to be known as "Bloody Mary" for her burning of heretics.

    The narrator is a girl named Hannah Green, a young teenager who has fled Spain and its Inquisition with her father, following the death of her mother. She had been burned alive at the stake as a heretic, when it was discovered that she was a "Marrano", a false Christian, that is, a Jew who has converted to Christianity but who follows the Jewish faith in secret.

    Landing in London, where her father opens a book store, Hannah makes the acquaintance of a handsome rake, Sir Robert Dudley, who discovers that Hannah has the gift of sight. She develops a personal relationship with him that eventually sees her enter into Queen Mary's service as her fool. Hannah serves Queen Mary, but at the same time, is sent by the Queen to serve her half-sister the Princess Elizabeth and spy upon her.

    Meanwhile, Sir Robert Dudley also uses Hannah in his treasonous plot to see the Princess Elizabeth on the throne of England. So, Hannah finds herself walking a dangerous tightrope and is fearful of discovery of her role in the political intrigues that are welling around her, as well as discovery of her own background, which would be grounds for death. Her worst fears are nearly realized when the Queen marries Prince Phillip of Spain.

    In the midst of all this political intriguing that appears to be going on all around her, Hannah has her own immediate future to think about, as she becomes betrothed to another Marrano such as herself. Infatuated with Lord Dudley, loyal to both Queen Mary and the clever and manipulative Princess Elizabeth, Hannah finds herself putting her own future happiness at risk amidst the political and religious turmoil of the time.

    This is a fast paced, breezy read about an independent, young woman who finds herself at a crossroad in her life and begins a voyage of self-discovery that will ultimately change her life. The story takes place in sixteenth century England, amidst all the political strife and religious upheaval of the time. The author weaves an intriguing tapestry of historical events and personages together with the intrigues that were rife in the Tudor court of the Queen who would become known as Bloody Mary. ...more info
  • Entertaining, but not her best.
    I have really enjoyed Gregory's works when it comes to the British Monarchy. This book was good, an interesting premise. Worth a read...more info
  • This one might be my favorite of Gregory's books
    Every book of Gregory's that I read always keeps me entertained and wanting for more! When I finish one, I cannot wait to pick up the next. Hannah is an amazing character! Great book. ...more info
  • As Elizabeth plots for the throne and Queen Mary holds fast to her faith; can Hannah find a life and love of her own? BCM
    The Queen's Fool is very compelling because of the main character, Hannah Green. When someone has gone through so much and lost loved ones in such a violent manner, it would scar you and should teach someone like Hannah, to `duck and cover'. This wonderfully-crafted character overcomes many fears and does what she has to do to survive, regardless of her own, internal struggles. Hannah's goodness and her big heart endears her first to the young King Edward and then to Queen Mary. As the story unfolds and Hannah finds herself in Queen Mary's service, thanks to the cunning Robert Dudley, she does the best that she can with her limited courtly talents and skills. Her integrity helps her to navigate her way through the perfidious court life and the dangerous schemes which she becomes embroiled in.
    The story is skilfully written to give us time with Hannah Green while still supplying us with a very generous helping of the royals; including Robert Dudley, Elizabeth and Queen Mary. There are some interesting plot twists and the characters are vividly drawn to sweep us back to the times when your choice of faith and your loyalties could mean your unimaginable success or your plunging ruin and a traitor's death.
    I highly recommend this book!

    (8 out of 10 Diamonds) - Thoroughly enjoyed it

    ? 2008-2009 Bobbie Crawford-McCoy (Book Reviews By Bobbie).
    All rights reserved.
    ...more info
  • Interesting Read, got me more interested in history
    This is the first Philippa Gregory book I've read, and I really did enjoy reading it. It's very detailed, very dramatic, and regardless of other reviews that claim it to be slow, I didn't mind at all because I love reading all the details. There's a lot of accurate history in the book, which is a plus, and because of this book, my interest in this time period has definitely peaked, and after reading, I went back and did my own research.

    There were a few things that bothered me intensely about the main character that made it hard for me to really like her. She kind of just went with the flow and liked everyone (Elizabeth/Mary/Dudley), which in those times, I don't think you could really play on everyone's side (and mean it- and not get caught and tried for treason). And her love interest. I really hoped she would've handled things differently. The ending was NOT satisfying for me. Which generally would bother me, but I was so caught up in most of the other elements of the book, and I guess I just realized that Hannah is Hannah, and I didn't really get attached to her in a way to care too much what happened to her either way.

    Besides that, it makes for an interesting read, and I loved reading about the Mary/Elizabeth sides. ...more info
  • The Queen's Fool
    'The Queen's Fool' was a pretty good book. The main character, Hannah, is a fool for Edward, and eventually, Mary and Elizabeth. She has the 'Sight' which allows her to 'see' the future.
    The book was pretty historically accurate although Philippa Gregory's portrayal of Queen Mary was a bit different than what most historians would say. In the book, Queen Mary wasn't portrayed so much as 'Bloody Mary' and she seemed more compassionate....more info
  • The Queens Fool: A novel
    I completely enjoyed the story and my reading experience. I felt like I was a part of the period and the story....more info
  • Conservative for Ms Gregory
    I was just looking for some entertainment when I picked up this book. I'd read another book by Gregory, so I knew that I'd get what I was looking for. The storyline was interesting enough, but honestly, I was looking for more drama, sex and scandal. I did not find it within these pages. However, the story kept me engaged. I wasn't racing for the book whenever I got a spare moment; but it held my interest and I did'nt get caught up in what was fact and what was not. It is a fictitous story and I kept that in mind as I read.

    What I most liked about it was the character of Queen Mary. I liked the way Philippa Gregory painted her. This story was just a bit more conservative than I expected from Gregory and showed me that she can write on a different level, which is a good thing....more info
  • Fluff reading
    I have to admit, this is not my favorite author. I tried to read one of her other books and was not able to finish it, and thats rare. This book was ok, even good, but dragged on and on @ times. And repeative!!! I have never seen the work 'Christindom' used so many times in a chapter, no less a book!
    This would be a good book to take to the lake when u would like nothing better think of then when ur gonna get up to get ur next drink, no thinking @ all involved to read this one! ...more info
  • Religous terror
    This book is a big, scrumptious read for lovers of history and for lovers of the work of Philippa Gregory, who is queen of the stories of Tudor times. Hannah Green is a 14 year old Jewish girl who has escaped the fires of the Spanish inquisition with her father, to settle in London. Her mother was burned at the stake as a heretical Marrano, a Jewish convert to Catholicism. Father and daughter live in their place of business, a printing shop, with Hannah permanently dressed as a boy for the sake of safety. When the young King Edward dies, his throne is taken by his elder sister Mary, daughter of Henry V111 and Katherine of Aragon, and who is a fanatically devout Catholic who sets up the burning fields of Smithfield, to torture and burn alive, anyone who is declared to be not totally devoted to the cause of Catholicism. Hannah has the gift of "Sight" and is used by both Queen Mary and her sister, Princess Elizabeth, as a "Holy Fool", to foresee the future, but manages to tread a careful path between both of them. It's a big, informative book with fascinating glimpses into life at Court in treacherous times, as courtiers and citizens alike change their religions and allegiances to suit that of the reigning monarch. It's a wonderful read and one which ended too soon for my liking....more info
    Ms. Gregory's The Queen's Fool is as beautifully written as her other historical fiction novels. We continue the story of the Tudor line in England, but instead of being guided through a queen's view or a princess's view, we read through the eyes of Hannah the Fool. Hannah is a wonderful character who grows from an apprentice tomboy to a desirable woman. We pick up the story from Henry VIII's last wife to see his son, Edward IV, on the throne. Edward, ruled through the Duke of Northumberland, dies and the throne is shoved into the hands of Jane Grey (Northumberland's relation). The victory is short-lived, because Mary (Henry VIII's first and only child with Katharine of Aragon) raises an army to fight for her as Queen. Though she wins, it is not long before her sister, Princess Elizabeth (Henry VIII's first and only child with Anne Boleyn), conspires to take the throne. Hannah is thrown in between the half-sisters and must use her Sight as a gift to help both women. The story line is filled with historical fact, tweaked enough to give a well rounded account of The reign of Queen Mary I and Queen Elizabeth I. WONDERFUL!...more info
  • Queen Mary
    I really enjoyed that this book let you see into the world of both Mary and Elizabeth. Often books center around Princess (Queen) Elizabeth, and while she is in this book most of the writing talks about a girls life during Mary's Reign. I really enjoyed it....more info
  • The Reign of Mary Tudor
    Another great work of historical fiction from Gregory.

    This book focuses on the reign of Mary Tudor, the daughter of Henry VIII and Catherine of Aragon (Henry's first wife). The story is told from the viewpoint of a young female servant, who gets drawn into the court and the politics and plots that surround it.

    I have read other books set in this time period in England, and Gregory managed to tell the story in a way that was fresh and entertaining.

    If you are interested in the period, or a fan of Gregory's you'll enjoy this one. If you want to read her books in historical order, here it is:

    1. The Constant Princess (Katherine of Aragon)

    2. The Other Boleyn Girl (Anne Boleyn)

    3. The Boleyn Inheritance (Anne of Cleves and Katherine Howard)

    4. The Queen's Fool (Mary Tudor and Elizabeth I)

    5. The Virgin's Lover (Elizabeth I)

    6. The Other Queen (Mary Queen of Scots)...more info
  • Just ok for me!
    I love most of Philippa's novels, but this one was slow and didn't do much for me.......more info
  • Another great Phillippa Gregory read
    Phillipa Gregory is an amazing author! I have truly loved every book that I have picked up from her. Her stories are so much fun and interesting to read; and The Queen's Fool is no different!

    Although this book is a little darker, not as saucy as The Other Boleyn Girl or The Boleyn Inheritance, it is just as entertaining and still a page-turner. The story takes place after Henry VIII dies and discusses his successors (his three children: Edward VI, Mary I, and Elizabeth) rise to power. When young King Edward passes away, it is Mary who has a rightful place on the throne. However, because of her religious beliefs and who her mother was, middle-aged Mary does not have an easy time stepping into her rightful place. Half of the country wants Mary, the other half wants Elizabeth who is definitely her mother's daughter (Anne Boleyn...) You will feel like a ping-pong ball in terms of whose side your on, Queen Mary or Princess Elizabeth!

    Our main character, a.k.a.-The Queen's Fool, is a both intriguing with dangerous secrets of her own and very loveable to boot. She accidentally gets caught in the middle of the secrets and plots between Mary and Elizabeth and not only does she have to do her duty as a paid member of the royal court, she has to watch her step so as not to get sent to the Tower! There are so many surprises and twists scattered throughout the book that it makes it a relatively speedy read.

    This was a great book and I definitely recommend picking it up for your summer collection!

    ...more info
  • Queen's Fool
    This was not my favorite of Philippa's Tudor novels. I loved the Constant Princess which seemed more historical whereas this was basically a novel with little relevance to history. It was easy to read and entertaining but not what I expected after her earlier Tudor stories....more info
  • A Royal Read
    This was a really excellent book. I wouldn't say that it was really emotionally engaging, although it is indeed sympathetic, but the story nonetheless was in continuous flux which keeps the reader constantly attentive. It was a really beautiful portrait of history and a sweet story about a young girls role in the regal and yet not-so-regal lives of England's rulers. It had well written moments of joy, sorrow, and fear. This is a book I would recommend and probably read again myself....more info
  • A Fool No More
    Another drama of the Tudors by Philippa Gregory. I enjoyed this one more than "The Other Boleyn Girl" because the main character had spunk and independence, unusual for a girl in those days. Although a vassal to a Lord with his own agenda, she developed a deep love for Queen Mary and was a loyal friend to her through all her suffering. For the first time, I got a clear picture of the conflict between Mary and Elizabeth before and after the death of their young brother the King. Both made huge mistakes but were strong women to be reckoned with. Hannah serves both but is still her own woman. Very exciting events unfold as the balance of power shifts back and forth between these two woman and their supporters. Adding to the drama is the fact that Hannah and her family are Jews passing as Christians during a time when heretics were burned at the stake....more info
  • The Queen's Fool: A Novel
    I absolutely loved the book. There was not only the major plot, but there were many sub-plots. It was very hard to put the book down! I have recommended it to many of my friends. I couldn't wait to see what was going to happen to Hannah, the Queen's Fool....more info
  • Good, but...
    not as entertaining as The Other Boleyn Girl or the Boleyn Inheritence. However, a good read!...more info
  • good read
    I really enjoyed reading this book! It's the kind of book that you just want to keep reading to find out what happens next. I love the style of this author and recommend her other books also....more info