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The Other Queen: A Novel (The Plantagenet and Tudor Novels) Hardcover – Deckle Edge, September 16, 2008
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Using the multiple-viewpoint technique that worked well in The Boleyn Inheritance (2006), Gregory fictionalizes a little-explored episode in the life of Mary, Queen of Scots. In 1568, after fleeing rebellious Scottish lords, Mary is placed into the custody of George Talbot, Earl of Shrewsbury, and his wife, Bess of Hardwick. This turns their Derbyshire estate into a hotbed of intrigue and possible treason. George, normally loyal to a fault, falls in love with Mary; Bess secretly reports to William Cecil, Queen Elizabeth’s spymaster, while fretting about her foolish husband and the continual draining of their funds; Mary plays them against one another while plotting to escape, with Cecil noting her every move. Gregory skillfully evokes the suspenseful atmosphere—it was never certain that the 1569 Rising of the North in favor of Catholic Mary would fail—but the protagonists’ inner thoughts, as presented in short alternating chapters, are unnecessarily repetitive. Although this isn’t her best work, Gregory’s writing is sharpest toward the end, as the unavoidable consequences of Mary’s long imprisonment are finally felt by all. --Sarah Johnson
"Mary's hell-bent assuredness combines deliciously with brisk chapt ers and rich historical detail. Indulge." -- "People"
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Top customer reviews
The book revealed the selfishness and determination of both these women who caused bloodshed and turmoil in a small country. It was well-written, and the story was not well known. Yet, I do believe I would have enjoyed the reading more if Mary got to Scotland or to her death a little sooner.
The characters were underdeveloped, the plot was lacking in depth. It felt more like a check in the box novel than a story written with excitement.
I found it hard going from time to time with the story jumping from one story to another, was hard to keep track of the story sometimes.
I really enjoyed Bess Hardwick story and want to now learn more about her.
Maybe not as easy a read as Philippa Gregory other books but still worth a read if Mary Queen of Scotts is your thing.
My only criticism was that the conclusion was reached very quickly, almost as if there seemed a need to finish the novel due to some external time constraint.
There was so much information prior to Queen Mary's demise, I felt a little cheated when suddenly the novel ended. But maybe wanting more is meant to be a good thing!