Sunday, January 24, 2010

The Other Queen by Philippa Gregory

During Elizabethan England, Queen's Elizabeth's cousin Mary Queen of Scots has been forced to flee her country from rebels and seek refuge in England. Mary, while being the Queen of Scotland, is also heir to the English throne, and some believe that she is the true monarch while Elizabeth is merely an imposter. Fearing assassination and a royal overthrow, Elizabeth imprisons Mary against her will as a "guest" of the Earl of Shrewsbury, George Talbot, and his wife Bess. George and Bess, at a great expense to them, are forced to host Queen Mary and her entire court. As they sink deeper and deeper into debt, their residence becomes a center of intrigue and rebellion against Elizabeth. But as George begins falling for Mary and Elizabeth and her steward, William Cecil, become more and more paranoid, will George and Bess be able to escape with their fortune intact, and hopefully their lives?

I love books about Tudor England and think that Philippa Gregory is a fantastic writer, so I knew I would enjoy The Other Queen. The one problem I had with this book, that I didn't have with others written by Gregory, is that it was really hard to get into. In the beginning, there wasn't a lot of dialogue or movement in the plot, just a lot of narration, made worse by the fact that The Other Queen is written in first person. The book switched point-of-view between Mary, George, and Bess, and at first every chapter was just a monologue for whichever character was narrating. It wasn't until the 200 page mark that the book picked up and I actually started to enjoy it. I didn't know that much about Mary, Queen of Scots, so it was neat to read and learn about her. The characters had a lot of depth, and it was interesting to get into their minds and see their thoughts and feelings. I think I liked reading about George the best, because he was torn between his love of Mary and his loyalty to Queen Elizabeth and this contradiction shaped his actions. Even thought it got off to a bumpy start, I would recommend The Other Queen to any fans of historical fiction.

7 out of 10.


Alexa said...

I normally put books down if it doesn't start to get interesting after 15 pages, but I might have to give this one a try.
I've given you an award on my blog!

shangud said...

This is the first time I have come to your blog. It is interesting to read your reviews.

Will try to read some of the books reviewed