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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars My favorite Philippa Gregory book!
This book tells the interesting story of 2 sisters who are rivals, Queen Mary who is catholic and Elizabeth I who is protestant. Told from the interesting view of a jewish servant girl who loves both of them. Fast moving, couldn't put it down, my favorite Philippa Gregory book.
Published on July 24 2008 by Laurie N. Gayne

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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars A misfire from one of my favorite authors
I will discuss major plot points for The Queen's Fool and give very minor spoilers for a few other Gregory works in this review. If this bothers you, please do not read further.
Like many readers, I first found Gregory through her absolutely stellar The Other Boleyn Girl. I am not a Tudor scholar, but the world of paranoia and political machinations felt absolutely...
Published on July 15 2004 by marcinetta


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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars My favorite Philippa Gregory book!, July 24 2008
By 
Laurie N. Gayne (Toronto, ON) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
This book tells the interesting story of 2 sisters who are rivals, Queen Mary who is catholic and Elizabeth I who is protestant. Told from the interesting view of a jewish servant girl who loves both of them. Fast moving, couldn't put it down, my favorite Philippa Gregory book.
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7 of 8 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Interesting and captivating, July 24 2008
By 
Toni Osborne "The Way I See It" (Montreal, Canada) - See all my reviews
(TOP 100 REVIEWER)   
The story is told from Hannah Green's perspective, a young Jewish girl who flees Spain with her father to escape persecution and lands in England. Hannah is a seer and has visions, a sought after talent during the troubled times for the Tudor court, she first serves King Edward, then his sisters, Mary and Elizabeth, as a holy fool. She is also a vassal to Robert Dudley who she adores. This is a very dangerous time where every action is under scrutiny and many lives are in peril due to laws against heresy, treason and witchcraft. Hannah must choose between the safe life as a commoner or being part of the extravagant life the royal family.

This novel is fast-paced, interesting and captivating from start to finish. It is clear that Ms Gregory has a talent for writing entertaining historical fiction, with engaging narrative. Her characters are seemly woven between actual and fictional ones, with all their flaws and weaknesses. The heart of this novel is the reign of Bloody Mary, Queen of England seen through the sympathetic eyes of a young woman. This is a fresh portrayal of familiar figures and a new perspective on a dark period of England's history. Serious history buffs may not like this novel, I thoroughly enjoyed it.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Page turner, one of my favourites!, Feb. 12 2009
By 
Krista Lyne (Ontario, Canada) - See all my reviews
"The Other Boleyn Girl" was my first Philippa Gregory book that I read and I enjoyed it so much I thought I'd go on to read more of her books, and I was glad I did. "The Queen's Fool" is another one of my favorites now. Although this book is more fiction than historical it was still a great read that I would recommend to anyone. Phillipa Gregory did a very good job creating the character Hannah the fool, you really believe as though you are there with her going through her life experiences. Very well done and packed with adventure!
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5.0 out of 5 stars Wonderful Recreation of a Lost Time, March 6 2012
By 
Ila France Porcher "author of My Sunset Rende... - See all my reviews
(TOP 1000 REVIEWER)    (REAL NAME)   
This review is from: The Queen's Fool: A Novel (Hardcover)
The Queen's Fool takes the reader into the wild and confusing social period of Elizabethan England and by the alchemy of genius, brings it to life.

Much little known detail is given, such as the linking of the courts of England and France, the prevailing attitudes to women, and the atmosphere of the royal entourages. The shifting loyalties of the players provide a psychological quandary comparable to a tour on thin ice.

For an exciting look into the history of our species, and the human stories associated with a very different period, I heartily recommend it, along with the other historical novels written by Philippa Gregory.
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars A misfire from one of my favorite authors, July 15 2004
I will discuss major plot points for The Queen's Fool and give very minor spoilers for a few other Gregory works in this review. If this bothers you, please do not read further.
Like many readers, I first found Gregory through her absolutely stellar The Other Boleyn Girl. I am not a Tudor scholar, but the world of paranoia and political machinations felt absolutely correct. Gregory is a very skilled writer, and, not incidentally, writes romance and intimate scenes with impressive economy and impact. I hunted down and read many Gregory books, many of which are out of print (though the superbly demented Wideacre and its two inferior sequels have been reprinted). I learned several things about the author Gregory. She has a good handle on history, and has the very rare talent of writing about historic people and events without essentially regurgitating the half-digested mental contents of a three-month library trip onto the page, as so many historical novelists who write about feisty gals are wont to do. As I mentioned earlier, she writes about sex and love in an involving and, yes, titillating manner. She does not impose artificial "happy" endings and she is happy to write about flawed, even despicable women (and men, though most of her main characters are women, with the delightful exception of John Tradescant in Earthly Joys) as opposed to the Rhodes Scholars of historic fiction. (Their only flaw? They're stubborn! Arggh! See: Pope Joan, Year of Wonders, to name two.) And she has an odd fondness for writing about people who are not at the center of things, but just off-center. The Other Boleyn Girl, of course, is a shining and beautifully executed example of this.
So I was obviously transported with delight when I saw The Queen's Fool in paperback; even its cover was reminiscent of The Other Boleyn Girl. The Queen's Fool certainly opens with a bang, no pun intended, and I was waiting for the book to be great. Well - it wasn't. The tension and lust and mild historic elaboration in the first chapter? That was the high point.
The main character in this book is a young Jewish girl named Hannah Green (or Hannah Verde.) In an intriguing touch of the fantastic, Hannah is psychic. She, together with her father, is fleeing the Inquisition in Spain, which has claimed her mother. Hannah is also extremely well educated, which is understandable, since her father is a bookseller and Jews tended to be more literate in that time period on average. However, as I continued to read, Hannah's tale failed to grab me. Hannah is engaged to a nice Jewish boy, but she's in lust with the very hot Robert Dudley. And she wears boy's clothing, which she apparently continues to wear through most of the book.
(Please, girlfriend!)
Gregory plays around with Queen Mary and Queen Elizabeth, making the first sympathetic (at least at first) and the second kind of a bitch, but a charming one. She's at her best when writing about the queens. But Hannah - I was surprised to see it - she's dull. And her story line is shockingly treacly, especially for Gregory. The nice Jewish boy? She kind of falls for him and they have a nice sensible relationship based on respect. Think she has any real conflicts with her dad because she's a secret Jew at court? Well, he frets a lot, but that's about it. He doesn't even really mention her boy's clothing. Oh, and then he conveniently dies. Is Hannah witness to all the upheaval of court? Some of it. Then she goes to Calais and kind of hangs out for the last third of the novel. As the novel progressed, I kind of got the idea that Hannah, quite honestly, wasn't that important except for the fact that some important people liked her. There is no real dramatic payoff to her personal relationships. Heck, she even has fewer psychic flashes as the novel continues.
So is it at least romantic and/or sexy? Does she get into a hot steamy affair with the forbidden Robert Dudley, whom she mopes about for much of the book? Well, sorry to break it to you, but no. In fact, even though Daniel and Hannah are supposedly hot for each other, do we get a payoff when they finally get together? No. And why the kid? WHY THE KID? Geez, I thought I was reading the 16th century X-Files for a moment! It's not like I need every Gregory main character to be a sociopath, but who is this treacly, perfect, boring girl, and why is Gregory writing about her?
However, Gregory's other strengths are on display - good historic knowledge, seamless writing, and general page-turning inducement. It's not a terrible book, and it's certainly better than 90 percent of historic fiction. Still, I know from my reading of Gregory's oeuvre that she's an intriguing but uneven writer. This is one of the (relative) duds. Come on, Philippa, buck up - I know you've got it in you!
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4.0 out of 5 stars A good book, Feb. 17 2011
By 
Barbara "Nature Lover" (Ontario, Canada) - See all my reviews
(TOP 500 REVIEWER)   
I enjoyed this book and I did find it a page turner. I learned about the history of Queen Mary and Princess Elizabeth.

The author is a great story teller and what I enjoy most about her writing are the details about life in those times. They pull you in and make the story become real.

I have enjoyed The Other Boleyn Girl, The Boleyn Inheritance, and since this book I've read The Virgin's Lover. I recommend all these books and this one too.

With this book the only negative (hence the 4 star rating) is that I had trouble dealing with suspended reality about the main character, Hannah, a Jewish girl who escaped the Spanish Inquisition only to deliberately put herself in the centre of a challenging and suspicious English court. At first she was commanded to be there but after that she did everything she could to stay. It would have been believable if she also wasn't constantly afraid of being discovered to be a jew. She goes on too much about her fears yet remains there. The queen in power would offer some protection but when when things went bad Hannah still wanted a court life.

The other characters in the book, Queen Mary, Princess Elizabeth, Robert Dudley are very interesting and are well written.

Despite my struggle about the main character this book was a good read and I do recommend it.
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5.0 out of 5 stars How to Sidestep Danger!, July 21 2008
By 
Ian Gordon Malcomson (Victoria, BC) - See all my reviews
(HALL OF FAME)    (TOP 10 REVIEWER)    (REAL NAME)   
Of all the Philippa Gregory historical fiction I've read so far, this particular story carries with it the greatest sense of adventure and suspense that I've ever come to associate with the Tudor period. The plot covers five years in the the often incredibly tumultuous life of Hannah Green, a teen-age girl of Jewish-Spanish origins, as the court fool for the English Catholic queen, Mary Tudor. Gregory, as usual, does a meticulous job in setting the stage for Hannah's entry on the public stage. Politically, England has just come through a very tempestuous period where the state, under Edward VI, has finally taken control of the church. Prostestantism is growing in strength and Catholicism has basically gone into hiding. Out of all this, the tide suddenly turns and Mary, the only daughter of Henry VIII and Katherine of Aragon, a Catholic through-and-through, ascends the throne after the death of her brother. Gregory lays out a story that shows how Hannah, blessed with special insights, assumes the role of court fool and proceeds to live a precariously tight-rope existence for the next several years that protects both her jewish identity, her loyalty to her betrothed, her father's business interests, her love for Robert Dudley, her admiration for Princess Elizabeth, and her intellectual attachment to Dr. John Dee. During this journey, the reader will be introduced to a royal marriage between England and Spain, the appearance of an English form of the Inquisition, and numerous court intrigues that will lead their victims to the block. Her ability to survive all these testy moments in a nation's history is more a tribute to her political astuteness to remain always humble but forever helpful. What I enjoyed about the story the most was that the plot, while predictable in places, carried with it some very consistently strong characterizations of main personalities. At the end, the reader should be satisfied have been introduced to the court of Mary Tudor in all her fame and infamy.
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2.0 out of 5 stars Disappointing[, June 30 2005
By A Customer
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I did not really like this book. I got about three quarters through it and gave it up. I did not like the main character of Hannah. Maybe I am old fashioned but I like my main characters to really grab me, Hannah didn't. I think if she hadn't dressed up like a boy right from the beginning, or even if she had changed shortly into the book, I would have enjoyed it more. I have read several other Philippa Gregory books and really enjoyed them. She is an excellent writer and historically she is right on. I wouldn't recommend this book but obviously others here have enjoyed the book, so some people really liked it. It would suggest you get is second hand though, just in case.
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5.0 out of 5 stars A Fool not to Buy it, March 22 2005
By A Customer
The Queen's Fool was the best historical novel I have read in a long time. I feel in love with the tudor times at a very young age, and this is by far the best novel I have read on the subject. READ IT!!!!
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4.0 out of 5 stars Interesting, July 19 2004
By 
P. Zhang (New York, NY United States) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
The historical information presented by the book, even the last detail, is extremely accurate. It serves as a history lesson woven into a fascinating storyline. Although the book lacks a structured plot or even a clear struggle for the protagonist, Hannah Green, it follows her adventures and is definitely interesting.
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The Queen's Fool: A Novel
The Queen's Fool: A Novel by Philippa Gregory (Hardcover - Nov. 9 2004)
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