Friday, August 7, 2009

The Other Queen - Philippa Gregory

Summary: Fleeing rebels in Scotland on Queen Elizabeth's false promise of sanctuary, Mary, Queen of Scots, finds herself imprisoned as the "guest" of George Talbot, Earl of Shrewsbury, and his indomitable wife, Bess of Hardwick. Soon the newly married couple's home becomes the center of intrigue and rebellion against Elizabeth, and their loyalty to each other and to their sovereign comes into question. If Mary succeeds in seducing the earl into her own web of 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. Using new research and her passion for historical accuracy, Gregory places the doomed queen into a completely new tale of suspense, passion, and political intrigue.

My Review: A tale of the rebellion against Queen Elizabeth after her tumultuous rise to the thrown. The rebellion that cost Mary, Queen of Scots, her freedom ,and, eventually, her life.

Bring familiar characters back to life in this exciting novel, Gregory adds another chapter to her already impressive Tudor fiction series.

William Cecil: devoted in service to the Queen of England, and her closest advisor. Part spy, part sheriff , and wholly aware of the Queens precarious hold on the throne. He is her strongest ally, or is he?

The Earl of Shrewsbury: Assigned to service for his sovereign, the queen of England, he stands proud. Taking the queen of Scots into captivity within his home, providing her every luxury until her fateful day should come.

Bess of Hardwick: The Earls indomitable wife. Thrilled at the thought of raising her stature with the Royal family, by servicing the doomed Queen in her home. Assured in her place next to her husband, nothing can stop her fierce drive to gain nobility.

Mary , Queen of Scots: Held captive for plotting against the Queen, she begins to weave a web of treachery so thick and strong that it threatens to pull down an entire empire. Shameless and seductive she will use every weapon she has to see her self rise to the throne.

Can the Earl and his wife survive the storm? Can he resist the Queen and her promises?

Told from the three perspectives of The Earl, his wife and Mary, this novel races with emotional turmoil. While one would think that this would be a good way to tell a story I found it slightly distracting.

A great plot and a well executed climax, just not the all consuming masterpiece that I have come to expect from Gregory.

I found it difficult like these characters, because I have always been a member of "team Elizabeth", I found myself unable to connect with them. But, this was certainly from my own preconceived notions about Queen Mary and her story, not through any fault of the author.

Still a great read and worth every second, but not my favorite Tudor tale.

My Rating: 3 Stars

Sum it up: A new perspective on a old, yet captivating, story.

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