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The Other Queen [Paperback]

Philippa Gregory
2.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (18 customer reviews)
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Book Description

June 25 2009
A dramatic novel of passion, politics and betrayal from the author of The Other Boleyn Girl. Mary, Queen of Scots, fights to regain her kingdom whilst under the guard of Queen Elizabeth's trusted accomplice, Bess of Hardwick. Mary is Queen of Scotland but she has been forced to flee her land and take refuge in an England that is ruled by her cousin Elizabeth. But England, precarious in its Protestant state, set against the mighty powers of Spain, France and Rome, doesn't need a charismatic Catholic figurehead at large. So Elizabeth's chief advisor, Cecil, devises a plan in which Mary will live under guard with his trusted accomplice: Bess of Hardwick. Bess is a self-made woman, a shrewd survivor. She is newly married to her fourth and most distinguished husband, the Earl of Shrewsbury. But what marriage can withstand the charms of Mary? Or the threat of rebellion that she always carries? Mary must wait in her privileged imprisonment for the return to Scotland and her infant son; but waiting is not the same as doing nothing...With her characteristic combination of superb storytelling and authentic historical background, Philippa Gregory brings to life this period of great change, in a riveting tale of betrayal, loyalty, politics and passion.

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Review

Praise for Philppa Gregory: 'Written from instinct, not out of calculation, and it shows.' Peter Ackroyd, The Times 'For sheer pace and percussive drama it will take a lot of beating.' Sunday Times 'Gregory is great at conjuring a Tudor film-set of gorgeous gowns and golden-lattered dining. She invokes some swoonsome images...while the politics are personal enough to remain pertinent.' DailyTelegraph 'The contemporary mistress of historical crime fiction is Philippa Gregory. Her novels are filled with strong, determined women who take their fate into their own hands...Gregory brings to life the sights, smells and textures of 16th-century England.' Kate Mosse, Financial Times

About the Author

Philippa Gregory is an internationally renowned author of historical novels. She holds a PhD in eighteenth-century literature from the University of Edinburgh. Works that have been adapted for television include A Respectable Trade, The Other Boleyn Girl and The Queen's Fool. The Other Boleyn Girl is now a major film, starring Scarlett Johansson, Natalie Portman and Eric Bana. Philippa Gregory lives in the North of England with her family.

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Customer Reviews

Most helpful customer reviews
9 of 9 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars The Other Queen Dec 9 2008
Format:Hardcover
To be honest, I was truly disappointed in this novel. I am a very big fan of Philippa Gregory's as well as historical fiction. I forced myself to finish reading it as I had waited months for this book! I would suggest that those readers interested in Mary, Queen of Scots, to read Margaret George's Mary Queen of Scotland and the Isles. It provides much more information on Mary, not just her last days as a prisoner of Queen Elizabeth.
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9 of 10 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Not as good as her other books. Oct. 29 2008
Format:Hardcover
The bottom line is - this book is just not as good as her others. It's not a complete waste of time - but I had a hard time finishing it, as I lost interest half way through.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars An interesting read March 28 2011
By Barbara TOP 500 REVIEWER
Format:Paperback
I enjoyed reading this book. It covers the lives of three characters, Lord and Lady Talbot and Mary Queen of Scotts and is written in the first person of each of these characters.

Other reviews mention a repetitiveness with the characters' thoughts and anxieties as they try to be hosts and jailers to the queen. I agree that many lines were repetitive, but I didn't find it annoying. Instead I saw it as slowly twisting, building to its conclusion as the anxieties of the various characters ebb and flow as their luck flip flops back and forth while Spain and the north of England threaten Elizabeth's hold on the throne.

I really liked the character Bess Talbot, a self-made woman, who worked hard to make a fortune and to better herself. I identified with a woman in a man's world as she tried to keep it all together and not lose all she worked for in exchange for hosting/imprioning Queen Mary.

With her husband, I recalled older gentlemen with what today are old fashioned values and how they held onto their honour to the end.

Mary Queen of Scots used her beauty to meet her ends. I admit she was not portrayed as devious as I thought she could be.

The story didn't have the page turning suspense of her other books but it is a good read telling of the last few years of Mary the Queen of Scots.

I haven't read any other historical fictions based on Queen Mary so I didn't have any preconceived ideas about what she was like.

This book is not page turning suspense, but it's still a good read.
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1.0 out of 5 stars Lacks the Familiar Touch June 16 2012
By Toni Osborne TOP 100 REVIEWER
Format:Paperback
Ms. Gregory is well liked and known for her interpretation on historical events and providing her readers with hours of enjoyment. I admit being a huge fan of hers and I normally cannot put any of her novels down.

This is the story of Mary Queen of Scots time spent while under the guardianship of George Talbot, Earl of Shrewsbury and his wife Bess of Hardwick. The story starts well by setting up the ambitions of the three main characters. They narrate their inner thoughts and views in alternating chapters and we see how they interact with each other and what ultimately motivates them.

From this point on, the attention grabbing moments are few and far apart. The repetitive abortive plots to put Mary on the throne of England in my opinion lack the spicy details required to attract the average fictional history reader. Reading chapter after chapter about three self-absorbed characters slowly became a turn off to the point where my mind started to wander and think about better things to do. Perhaps I was just not in the mood for this novel or maybe Ms. Gregory was rushed to produce another manuscript. It is not the MS. Gregory I have enjoyed in the past.
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2.0 out of 5 stars A dull, repetitive read Feb. 25 2012
By Jan
Format:Paperback
What a disappointment. This novel was so tedious, and drawn out. It repeated the same thread of storyline over and over again, and was just a total bore. The characters were not interesting at all (not even Queen Mary) and after struggling through the book, a watered-down insipid ending. Nothing like her first novels, I struggled to finish it, and was glad when i did.
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7 of 7 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Hardship, hardship, hardship... Nov. 30 2008
Format:Hardcover
Did anyone else feel like they were stuck on repeat while reading this book? While jumping back and forth between the 3 characters who are telling the story, it seems the author forgot she needed to move the plot along as well. Yes, we understand Bess made herself from nothing, worked hard to get where she did, blah, blah, blah. And Mary was a queen under the divine eye of god, her body was sacred, blah, blah, blah. Readers are not stupid, we do not need these facts beat into us in every chapter. The repetition made this book tedious and boring. As an avid reader of any tudor-era novel, I would say this is one of the worst. Which is sad, since some of this author's previous work is fantastic, and definately worth checking out. Try "The Virgin's Lover" or "the Other Boleyn Girl", which have great character development and an interesting story line.
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6 of 7 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Very Disappointing!!! Nov. 10 2008
Format:Hardcover
I was so looking forward to this books release, but after reading it, I am very disappointed. The book is written in the style of the Boleyn Inheritance, from the perspective of 3 people: Bess of Hardwick, George Talbot, and Mary, Queen of Scots. I feel this wasn't the way to go with Mary's story. Having a little background on Mary's life, the book would have been better told about her life before being held captive by Queen Elizabeth. I know the author was trying to show the hardships of the Talbots, having to house the Queen, and the troubles she brought them. While also trying to show Mary's struggles at re-claiming her throne, but Mary is such a fascinating woman in her own right, and I believe she deserved a better story focusing on only her. I felt the focus was more on Queen Elizabeth's struggles with her kingdom, then on Mary's struggles with her kingdom in Scotland.

I expected much more from this book. I believe that Mrs. Gregory missed a golden chance to tell the story of this most fascinating Queen.
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Most recent customer reviews
3.0 out of 5 stars Mary of Scotland: Seductress or Queen of Tantrums?
(I should review before reading the other reviews. They've influenced what I intended to type.) Thinking upon it overnight, I didn't find this book too bad. Read more
Published on July 24 2010 by microfiche
5.0 out of 5 stars I'm glad I haven't listened to the critics.
This book is amazing. Interesting! and I have learned so much. Thank you Philippa, this nover is just wonderful! The 7th novel I have read from you... Read more
Published on March 21 2010 by Martin Pitchon
3.0 out of 5 stars Not the Greatest.
The Other Queen focuses on Mary Stuart, Queen of Scots and Elizabeth I's rival. You read the story through the eyes of Queen Mary, and her two hosts/jailors: George and Bess Talbot... Read more
Published on Aug. 23 2009 by Karoline
2.0 out of 5 stars Meh.
The Other Queen

I gave this book a pretty low rating. Don't get me wrong- I LOVE Philippa Gregory- I think she is a fantastic writer, however this is not one of her... Read more
Published on June 3 2009 by GeekSquadofOne
3.0 out of 5 stars NOT ONE OF HER BEST
I agree with the other reviewers here. This book did not live up to my expectations of a Philippa Gregory book at all. Read more
Published on May 30 2009 by caseygirl
3.0 out of 5 stars A good bedtime story. It will put you to sleep.
Reading the first two-thirds of this book was the equivalent of having my eyes pecked out by vultures. Read more
Published on May 30 2009 by Candice
3.0 out of 5 stars First time reading of Philippa Gregory
This was the first time that I read a Philippa Gregory novel. I very much enjoyed it. I love historical novels. Read more
Published on March 16 2009 by K. Campbell
2.0 out of 5 stars NOT WORTH YOUR TIME OR MONEY...
There are many excellent books that have been written about Mary, Queen of Scots. Unfortunately, this is not one of them. Read more
Published on March 10 2009 by Lawyeraau
2.0 out of 5 stars Disappointing for a Philippa Gregory book...
I'm in the process of reading this book and find it's not like the other Philippa Gregory books that I've read. Read more
Published on Feb. 12 2009 by Krista Lyne
1.0 out of 5 stars surprised and dismayed
I am very disapointed in this book, even more than I was at the terrible screen adaptation of The Other Boleyn Girl! Read more
Published on Feb. 5 2009 by Marie Crosson
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