Drinking game Every time Queen Princess, here Elizabeth I is referred to as a whore in The Queen s Fool, take a sip of wine By the time you finish the book, your blood alcohol level will be infinity.
Aside from the misogyny party everyone s invited , the problem with this book as opposed to The Other Boleyn Girl is that the main character is an outsider with her own story She s a secret Jew from Spain, whose mother was killed in the Inquisition So you have this balance between the intrigue of the Tudor court and the secret life of Marranos in England Europe, and the main focus of the book is supposed to be the Tudors, but the Marranos aspect is actuallyinteresting, if only because everyone s not running around calling everyone else a whore all the time.
I felt that the book delved a certain amount into what it was like to be a secret Jew, but it could have doneI especially would have liked to seen a reference to how they would go to the mikvah In stories about Jews who secretly maintained observance in the Soviet Union, this comes up a lot secret mikvahs in the basement, or women risking hypothermia to dunk in the sea I wanted to know what they did in England and France where presumably using natural bodies of water was less of a big deal , but this wasn t even mentioned.
So, there s that.
There s also the weird way that Mary and Elizabeth are portrayed, like Mary was just this sweet, righteous woman who never wanted to burn and behead people, she was just forced into it because of Elizabeth s schemes to secure the throne I guess that makes it okay, then.
The other thing is, regarding this whole baby subplot, the dates don t add up view spoiler I was trying to figure out when exactly everything happened vis a vis this whole impregnating another woman thing, because it seems pretty relevant, even though Hannah doesn t seem to think so.
Okay, so Daniel arrived in Calais around June of 1555, and at the time, he and Hannah had just argued and the betrothal was in question I would even venture to say that they were On A Break Then Daniel and Hannah got married in June of 1557, and when they were married for two months, Mrs Carpenter tells Hannah that Daniel had a baby with a local girl while Hannah was in England By the way, I call shenanigans on the idea that someone who risked so much to stay Jewish and keep her family Jewish after surviving forced conversion is so thrilled to have a non Jewish grandchild, no matter how much she dislikes her Jewish daughter in law, but that s neither here nor there , and Daniel admits that the baby is about five months old Which puts Baby Daniel s conception around June of 1556 But on the other hand, Daniel explains his actions to Hannah by saying that he was lonely when he first arrived in Calais, which implies that the affair started in the summer of 1555, and he says that he slept with the other womanthan once and that it wasn t a serious relationship which is completely misleading if he was actually sleeping with her for a year And Daniel s mother says that the woman was pregnant when Daniel was in Padua, but Daniel was in Padua by December 1555 So, I see three no prize possibilities here 1 Daniel arrived in Calais in summer of 1555, depressed about his fight and uncertain status with Hannah, slept with a woman in Calais a few times, continued to feel bad, and wrote a letter to Hannah telling her how much he loved her and wanted to renew the betrothal Around the time that Hannah wrote back, Daniel broke things off with the Calais woman Then he traveled to Padua and renewed his betrothal with Hannah in another love letter Meanwhile in Calais, the other woman realized she was pregnant and Daniel agreed to support the baby financially, even though the affair was over Baby Daniel was born in March 1556, and when Daniel said that the baby was about five months old, he was pulling a Rabbi Elazar ben Azarya, and the baby was literally a year and five months Daniel still should have told Hannah about the baby, and what he did overall wasn t right, but it s forgivable and even a little bit understandable.
2 Same as above, but Baby Daniel s gestation period was a year and nine months Seems unlikely, but this theory is the only one that doesn t contradict canon, and this is the same universe where Queen Mary has eleven month pregnancies that end with neither baby nor miscarriage, so who knows.
3 Daniel was having an affair with this woman for over a year While he was writing to Hannah about how sorry he was and how much he loved her, while he was accepting her terms and promising that they would work things out together, he was sleeping with someone else and he continued to do so for over a year The Padua thing makes no sense, unless he went back to Padua again in the winter of 1556 and the book never mentioned it Anyway, if this is the case, then, combined with the fact that he continued to see her while married to Hannah and that he never actually says when the last time he slept with her is, he is a total creep and I don t understand why Hannah would ever go back to him.
See how different the various narratives are Without knowing which one is true, how is the reader supposed to get a handle on the story And why doesn t Hannah ask Daniel when he stopped sleeping with the other woman unless we re supposed to assume that he never did I m so confused hide spoiler I was pretty excited about reading my first Philippa Gregory book I mean, she has like a thousand books and they ve been turned into movies and miniseries and who knows what else She clearly knows her shit where historical research is concerned, particularly the Tudor period And yet, I only made it to page THREE before I noped my way out of this book Here s a summary of those three pages 14 year old girl Grown ass married man sexually pursuing 14 year old girl Seriously He s encouraging her to play chasey with the intention of fucking her when he catches her Grown ass married man pins 14 year old girl against a tree out of sight of supervising adults 14 year old girl is suddenly no longer a giggling child, she was a young woman in the heat of first desire Grown ass married man shoves his hand down her dress to fondle her boobs 14 year old girl is initially into it but then pulls away Grown ass married man SHOVES HIS HAND UP HER DRESS 14 year old girl clenches her legs shut until she feels the back of his hand on her hidden sex and then her knees buckle The girl was a virgin in name alone In reality, she was littlethan a whore Nope I don t care if it s historically accurate I don t care that times were different A FOURTEEN YEAR OLD GIRL is being sexually assaulted by an adult who s clearly been grooming her, and it s only page three Nope Nope nope nopity nope I m done Fuckity bye, book.
Hannah Verde Green is a young Jewish girl who poses as a boy to apprentice to her father, a bookkeeper But when Lord Robert Dudley realizes she has The Sight , she becomes King Edward s Fool Hannah The Fool gets to experience the King s death, Queen Mary s rise to the throne, and Princess Elizabeth s eternal scheming to get on the throne all from the front seat of the court But the real question is Will Hannah ever find Twoo Lurve The last Philippa Gregory book I read, The Other Boleyn Girl, I called a guilty pleasure It wasn t that amazing, the history was iffy, the characters 1 dimensional, but it was amusing and entertaining I wasn t bored in the slightest.
Oddly enough, I found myself enjoying The Queen s Fool eventhan I enjoyed TOBG I don t know much about the historical accuracy, the characters might have been evenannoying, but I was definitelyengaged in the story andinterested.
NOTE History isn t my forte I appreciate historical accuracy in a book, but it s going to have to be pretty blatantly WRONG for me to notice it i.
e Jeans in the Middle Ages type thing Therefore, if you are reading this review to see how accurate TQF is, I would suggest you move to another review, because I won t be able to answer that question very adequately at all.
Probably the biggest, most obnoxious and annoying aspect of the book for me was Hannah Verde herself There was quite a bit I didn t like about her.
1 Anachronistic Yeah, I know, I just noted I Don t do history and my first complaint is about historical accuracy But I put this under Things that are obvious an idiot would know I m sorry but I can t believe a 16th century woman would be saying these things I don t wish to marryI should like to have my own shop and print my own books It s not you I dislike It s marriage itself I wouldn t choose marriage at all What is it about the servitude of women hoping for safety to men who cannot even keep them safe I need to be a woman in my own right, and not only a wifeThis is the woman I ve become Women of this day got married and had kids That was it There was no big push for women s rights or women to have jobs outside of being a wife and mother Sorry, if you want to do this plot device, travel to the 1950 s Even then, though, the women STILL were expected to be wives and mothers FIRST AND ONLY and were SHAMED if they had jobs just ask my grandmothers.
2 Mary Sue ness Hannah has The Sight , some weird, undefined phenomenon that takes a historical fiction book into the fantasy realm Women are jealous of her She befriends Queen Mary AND Princess Elizabeth and are buddy buddy with them up until the end She has several men chasing to get in her skirts She is shapely and attractive and has desires that are NOT common in her time period Hannah, come on down, you are the newest Mary Sue 3 Miss Passivity Much like with Mary Boleyn, Hannah barely does ANYTHING of her own volition Much of her life is being pushed around by everyone else Now, I know earlier that I said that women were expected to be wives and mothers, and basically didn t have rights That is true, but I still think it is possible to show a historically accurate woman that isn t a doormat all the time, letting everyone walk all over her.
4 Inconsistent Hannah spends much of the book fearing that she will be revealed as Jewish And THAT is why she clings to the VERY Catholic Queen, Mary, who killed several heretics during her time Uhwait, that doesn t make sense Now, this COULD have been done well, if Hannah had met and befriended Mary which she did , but had serious reservations and fears about Mary something like Mary is a woman I look up tobut she could kill me at any moment for being Jewish But this NEVER HAPPENS.
And yetshe says THIS I couldn t pray to a God who would allow my mother to be burned to death I couldn t pray to a God who could be invoked by the torchbearers But you can serve a Catholic Queen with no problems Not even some Oh, I like Queen Mary, but she s burning people, like the Catholic Church burned my Mom, oh no what do I do Huh How does THAT make any sense 5 Holier Than Thou Hannah flirts around with the married Lord Robert Dudley But when Princess Elizabeth does this, WHAT A HORRIBLE SLUT THAT GIRL IS HOW DARE SHE The Queen had to watch the man she still passionately loved at another woman s beck and call, and that woman, Elizabeth, the unwanted sister who had stolen Mary s Father, was now seducing her husband And yet, when Lord Robert s wife, entrusted with Hannah s care, treats Hannah like dirt, thinking she has fooled around with Lord Robert and in some ways, Hannah did , GOD FORBID WHAT A HORRIBLE WOMAN HOW DARE she not treat Hannah with the utmost respect And then, when Princess Elizabeth rebels against the Catholic ways, SHAME ON HER for defying the laws Oh, Hannah still practices her Jewish ways in secret Oh, THAT S OKAY Geesh, get it right 6 Lack of compassion At one point, Hannah learns Daniel has cheated on her She is understandably upset I truly did feel sorry for her and was glad when she reacted appropriately But when Amy Dudley s husband, Hannah s beloved Lord Robert, does the same thing, does Hannah show ANY compassion or empathy to Amy HELL NO 7 Mary Boleyn 2.
0, New and Improved There were several times where I found it hard to differentiate between Mary from TOBG and Hannah from TQF Both were passive, holier than thou, women who admired their Pure and Righteous Queen Who Can Do No Wrong, and fall in love with the most boring of men Even Hannah s supposed Jewishness felt fakelike painting a white rose red.
8 Forgetfulness After Hannah learns about Daniel s baby momma, she leaves his house and lives with her father Understandable She also doesn t immediately take him back Good But then, after the battle of Calais, suddenly, she forgets how he cheated on her and talks about how patient and longsuffering Daniel was, how he waited for her until she left court and married him Um, girlfriend, no, he wasn t patient If he were patient, he wouldn t have a baby momma You have a VERY short memory, don t you For once, I d like to read a historical novel in which the female main character was correct to her time period, wasn t a pushover, had actual real female friends and LIKED them, wasn t fawned all over by every male within a 30 mile radius, and had simple human emotions such as compassion, mercy, understanding, and kindness.
But enough about Hannah, I think I ve worn myself out talking about her.
The other characters are 1 dimensional like in PG s TOBG Queen Mary is Pure and Holy and All Things Good While I liked this better than painting her as some devil woman just because she had a lot of people put to death, it got to be over the top on numerous occasions Princess Elizabeth felt almost EXACTLY like Anne Boleyn from TOBG scheming, playing around with men, being evil and thinking of herself and her power over her country Again, while I don t think Princess Queen Elizabeth was all Perfection, I don t think she was the harlot that PG tried to portray her as.
I got no sense of Hannah s father s character he felt very much a blank slate Daniel felt like a selfish, domineering pig I have no idea WHY he and Hannah Fell In Lurve Lord Robert was only a self serving rake he didn t care about anyone other than himself Daniel s mother and sisters were terrible people well, actually, I hadheart for them, realizing that they were scared and didn t want to lose Daniel But the way Hannah talks about them, you would think they chased her with pitchforks and playfully tied her to the lit BBQ every so often.
In fact, none of the women, other than Queen Mary and Hannah herself are portrayed as being good It s sad that Hannah can t have a single female friend and not someone like the Queen, someone of Hannah s own rank.
I did like William, the court jester He was pretty amusing at times Given the 1 dimensional nature of the characters, he was probably the most interesting character to me.
The story is what I think really gripped me Even though Hannah drove me bonkers, I was curious about what would happen to her I think also PG writing from the point of view of a fictional character helped her story she had a lotflexibility and could show us the little things in court things that the bigger players, like Queen Mary and Princess Elizabeth wouldn t have seen Sure, it s awful convenient that Hannah gets in the employ of the Court and sees all that she does, but I ll suspend disbelief for that What I find ridiculous, honestly, is The Sight I have no idea why THAT was included and I do realize that is what gets her hired, but geesh, there are other ways.
The writing was serviceable Nothing glaringly bad My experience listening on audiobook was good though I did miss the woman who narrated TOBG I did wonder whether Hannah, a Jewish girl, would reference Judas Iscariot We ran from her, like a pair of Judas Iscariots, desperate to save our own skins If this would have been likely or not, please comment and tell me I think if the character of Hannah had been stronger, less annoying, andunique less like Mary Boleyn from TOBG , then this book would have beenenjoyable to read It s a decent read, one that makes you head over to Wiki and check up on some long forgotten history Don t go in expecting brilliance, and you are bound to be pleased.
Philippa Gregory writes royalty fanfic, pretty much Sometimes she ll throw in a Mary Sue stand in based on an actual figure from history such as Mary Boleyn in The Other Boleyn Girl and ground her story on some small fact she wanted to do a what if on That s okay, but it still feels like putting in your own new character into someone else s story this time a real one and adding importance to them that they didn t have Just like fanfics The Queen s Fool hones in on fictional Spaniard Jewish girl Hannah Greene The best parts were about her life in Spain, and trying to be true to their faith in that environment nobody expects the Spanish inquisition Hannah gets married to a boy who is stretched too thin trying to take care of his mama and sister as well as taking a wife More than sharing his time, Hannah wants to get down and do the nasty Hannah can t get anything she wants She has to practice being a good jew in secret from the government, and then hide very real parts of herself from everyone, including those who share her faith and supposedly her body.
That was the best part of the book The standard fanfic historical fiction fare was the Oh yay Robert Dudley is so sexy and Won t the impossibly cool Queen Elizabeth notice me There s no way that Robert Dudley was the hottie that historical fiction makes him out to be Then Elizabeth is a bitch they have to I don t see the need for it She was who she was Fascinating, not a saint rationalize everything because apparently people can t just be complex individuals Boleyn was the same way about Henry VIII He didn t need to be a bodice ripper type He got his, and they were the harem girls waiting around The best part of that book was the new sexual practices from French court, such as fellatio What do I expect from a genre that makes either Elizabeth or Dudley s wife the villain, and Dudley always the poor torn soul.
There had to be interesting things going on back then that did not involve royalty I know they need a selling hook, but c mon.
The Elizabeth Dudley stuff was the weakest part.
I think that it is best to read only one of these types of books at a time It s confusing for me to read one book with Mary Tudor as the heroine and then switch around and she s the baddie in Elizabeth s story.
Enjoyed this book tremendously, with the exception of the ending, which felt weak and rushed compared to the rest of the book Excellent historical fiction I m buying all this author s books.
Did you know that the day, Nov 17th, of Mary Tudor s death was celebrated and I DO mean CELEBRATED as a holiday in England for centuries I actually read this book half grudgingly, I can t remember why now other than that I like to switch historical periods I was very pleasantly surprised I haven t read many books from the period of Bloody Mary Tudor, as it s not the most popular period to write about and it s a blot on mankind to read what we did to each other during those years of the Spanish Inquisition It s hard to read about the atrocities of torture So yes, this book included some of that The details were kept minimal but the fear that was felt by our heroine was a constant As a young jewish girl who had to endure having her mother ripped away from her to be burned as a heretic who came up with all of this ghastly business anyways in Spain, move from country to country, and live with not only her heritage but her sex, hidden, her terror is palpable in The Queen s Fool I think that Hannah Green is fictional, but it provides a marvelous perspective on the time Dragging a BIT at times, I found overall this book to be interesting and that it was able to hold my interest and add to my thoughts about Henry VIII s legacy You may find yourself with sympathy towards the most unlikely people 3.
And all they will remember of this queen is that she brought the country floods and famine and fire She will be remember as England s curse when she was to have been our virgin queen, England s saviourThat quote is exactly what I knew of Queen Mary Tudor, Elizabeth I s older sister and predecessor The Queen s Fool is a factual and fictional retelling of Mary s evolution from the miserable child who saw her mother divorced and put aside by Henry VIII, to the woman who would become queen of England and burn thousands of people for their religion in her attempts to return the country to Catholicism, earning the name Bloody Mary Gregory captures the pain and dejection of a heartbroken woman and while not justifying her madness, she paints a picture of why things might have gone the way they did, starting back in her childhood when Anne Boleyn pushed her mother off the throne, and pushed Catholicism from England with it The plot does not go back this far, it is only mentioned, but is covered in The Constant Princess and The Other Boleyn Girl.
This isn t really Mary s story though The novel is told in first person perspective from the point of view of Hannah Verde, a fictional Jewish girl who comes to court to serve Queen Mary and Princess Elizabeth I generally dislike fictional characters set in real history, but she was honestly my favourite part of this She s a little bit wishy washy with her feelings sometimes, but she s a young girl growing up and learning what she values This outsider perspective probably makes sense from a narrative perspective as well just because it allows us to see what s going on with both Elizabeth and Mary without two conflicting POVs.
The middle dragged, but these novels tend to do that.
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 LoveIt Is Winter,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 DesiresTeeming 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