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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars An interesting read
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...
Published on March 28 2011 by Barbara

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10 of 10 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars The Other Queen
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...
Published on Dec 9 2008 by Andrea L. Zsigmond


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10 of 10 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars The Other Queen, Dec 9 2008
This review is from: The Other Queen (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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7 of 7 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Hardship, hardship, hardship..., Nov. 30 2008
By 
L. Hagell (Alberta, Canada) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: The Other Queen (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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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars NOT WORTH YOUR TIME OR MONEY..., March 10 2009
By 
Lawyeraau (Balmoral Castle) - See all my reviews
(TOP 100 REVIEWER)   
This review is from: The Other Queen (Hardcover)
There are many excellent books that have been written about Mary, Queen of Scots. Unfortunately, this is not one of them. Although I have enjoyed many of the author's books over the years, this one was almost painful to read, with its laughable dialogue and one dimensional, vapid characters. Even though the book appears to have been well-researched, the author manages to turn one of the most intriguing and tragic figures in history into someone about whom the reader could not care less.

The story focuses on the imprisonment of Mary, Queen of Scots, by order of her cousin, Queen Elizabeth I. The Earl of Shrewsbury and his wife, Bess, are to be her jailers. When their "guest", Mary, chafes under the restrictions imposed upon her, plots abound to set her free, much to the consternation of the Earl and his wife. The story is told via formulaic, first person narratives by Mary, the Earl, and Bess, all of which plod along, boring the reader to tears with its repetitive and lamentable prose.

It took me weeks to finish this book, and I looked upon it as a chore that I needed to complete. When the last page was finally turned, I breathed a sigh of relief, having been freed at last from reading anymore of this book, which I did not at all enjoy and would not recommend to my worst enemy.
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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
By 
Mary Stregger "Miyamom" (BC Canada) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: The Other Queen (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 "Nature Lover" (Ontario, Canada) - See all my reviews
(TOP 1000 REVIEWER)   
This review is from: The Other Queen (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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6 of 7 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Very Disappointing!!!, Nov. 10 2008
By 
A. Scott (Toronto) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: The Other Queen (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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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars surprised and dismayed, Feb. 5 2009
By 
Marie Crosson "A Brit in NA" (Calgary Canada) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: The Other Queen (Hardcover)
I am very disapointed in this book, even more than I was at the terrible screen adaptation of The Other Boleyn Girl! It is the first and only book by Ms Gregory that I have put down more than once and started another book. It seems to flit from one person to another more like an attempt at a screenplay than a novel. It is so hard to get involved or like the story which anyone with an interest in history or major films will have already heard before but on a much more interesting scale. I never thought that I would have a bad word to say about my one time fav author but the love affair is now over and Ms Gregory needs to get back to her roots and stop chasing the movie rights!
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Disappointing for a Philippa Gregory book..., Feb. 12 2009
By 
Krista Lyne (Ontario, Canada) - See all my reviews
This review is from: The Other Queen (Hardcover)
I'm in the process of reading this book and find it's not like the other Philippa Gregory books that I've read. I find this book hard to get in to, whereas It would normally only take me a couple of days to finish.The plot seems to drag on and each character seems to repeat themselves, never getting you any farther. I bought this book because I am interested in Mary, Queen of Scots and I feel as though I haven't learned anything about her. This book has not discouraged me from reading other books by her because I know what a great author Philippa Gegory can be, although if this had been the first novel I read by her I probably would have missed out on her other great books!
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1.0 out of 5 stars Lacks the Familiar Touch, June 16 2012
By 
Toni Osborne "The Way I See It" (Montreal, Canada) - See all my reviews
(TOP 100 REVIEWER)   
This review is from: The Other Queen (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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3.0 out of 5 stars Mary of Scotland: Seductress or Queen of Tantrums?, July 24 2010
By 
microfiche (Scarborough, ON Canada) - See all my reviews
(TOP 1000 REVIEWER)   
This review is from: The Other Queen (Paperback)
(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. It's not Gregory's worst. IMO that goes to "The Virgin's Lover" for being all whining, childlike "when is my husband coming home?" Amy Robsart Dudley and nothing about the affair between Robert and Queen Bess. It's not her best. That's "The Other Boleyn Girl".

The three protagonists: Mary, Queen of Scots, and George and Bess, the Earl and Countess of Shrewsbury are like the people the history books portray.

Mary is the spoiled little queen: clever at stealing men's hearts, very self-absorbed, believes everyone is obliged to rescue her - even the cousin she calls a bastard and not rightful queen of England. Did Mary really think that Elizabeth would welcome her with open arms? Did she really think that Elizabeth would help her get back on the throne of Scotland? Her rival - the Catholic threat? Apparently she did. A destabilized Scotland was just what Elizabeth and Cecil wanted, because it could do England no harm. Queen Mary, married to anyone, was a threat to the unmarried Protestant queen facing a Catholic Europe.

The real Bess of Hardwick was besotted with gaining lands, wealth and prestige and marrying off her children and step-children to advantage. She was apparently a merciless matriarch. We don't know much about the real George, Earl of Shrewsbury, but that he was accused of being too lenient toward - perhaps infatuated by - Mary of Scotland. He was caught between queens. He was loyal to Queen Elizabeth, obligated as a host and perhaps out of chivalric love to care for Queen Mary, and bound by marriage vows to honour Bess, the ruler of his household.

Philippa Gregory shows the tensions among the three quite well. The deluding and self-delusion going on among them too. Mary is so very smug at seducing George from his wife, and Norfolk from his loyalty to his own queen. She threw over her current spouse, Lord Bothwell, when Norfolk proposed marriage; but it's Bothwell she cries out for. George can't admit to himself that he is in love with Mary. Bess refuses to admit that she wants George as a husband, not as the guardian of her possessions.

Considering Mary of Scotland's event packed life, I thought Ms. Gregory was smart to focus her story on one portion and thus hold the magnifying glass on three characters instead of painting a wall mural with fifty.

But I had book hurling moments. One can take the almost constant refrains "I am a sacred Queen", "No one can question my loyalty to the Crown" and "I am the sum of my possessions" so many times.

Also, no self respecting Tudor aristocrat signs a formal letter "Dudley" if he is the Earl of Leicester or "Bess" if she is the Countess of Shrewsbury. It's "Leicester" or "Elizabeth, Countess of Shrewsbury" or "Elizabeth Shrewsbury"

And why do George and Bess call the Roman Catholic religion "the true church" in one breath and "Papist idolatry" in the next? Was the inconsistency intentional - to show that they were Catholics at heart, or that they worshiped the religion in fashion at the moment - or was it carelessness? Ms. Gregory wrote in her answers to readers that she was influenced to write about Mary after reading John Guy's "My Heart is My Own" My Heart is My Own: The Life of Mary Queen of Scots Mr Guy's books slant toward Roman Catholic interpretations of the Tudors - not that he's right or wrong to slant so - but his book may have caused Gregory to show her characters as less than dogmatic in dogma.
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The Other Queen
The Other Queen by Philippa Gregory (Hardcover - Aug. 28 2008)
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