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Showing 1-10 of 223 reviews(Verified Purchases). See all 372 reviews
on June 6, 2016
I only paid $2.99 for this book (check out bookbub!), but I paid too much. I truly enjoy most of PG's novels, but take them with a grain of salt. I always read a reliable source (such as Alison Weir) if I really want to read what is actually known about a given monarch. PG does so well bringing facts alive, but takes liberties everywhere. Regarding this novel: it is the same material, repeated (using some of the same words and phrases), over and over and over again. Some reviewers have mentioned this, but truly, it would be laughable if it weren't so frustrating. MQS is a fascinating woman; so much more could have been done with her character. Additionally, Bess is the reason I gave this book two stars rather than one--she's intriguing. Unfortunately, the fascination ends after the 4th and 5th repetitions of the same exact thoughts and actions. Margaret George wrote 870 pages about MQS, and I found the novel compelling. PG phoned in this one.
*Full disclosure: I could not go past the halfway point.*
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on February 10, 2017
I love historical fiction and I usually love Phillipa Gregory's books. But this one didn't quite do it for me. Mary Queen of Scots is an interesting character who led a fascinating life but in this book the best parts are all behind her--France and her marriage to the king, Scotland and her husband and lover. Here she is merely a pawn in everyone's power game. The book is an elaborate chess game where one queen is moved from place to place while the opposing queen tries to decide what to do with her. As well written as it is, it isn't the best of this series.
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on January 4, 2014
This book took me a little longer than usual to read, not because of the quality of the writing, but because this was a part of Tudor history I didn't know much about and I found myself constantly looking up the characters and places Gregory mentioned in the book.

I think writing this book from 3 different first person perspectives gave an interesting view of the time period. Three different people have three very different views of the same event. I found myself constantly thrown for a loop by Mary. She never thought twice about lying and it was interesting to see how she would portray an event to others, and then how she actually thought of the same event.

Bess is one of the best historical fiction characters I've read in a long time. From Gregory's book, as well as the researching I did on my own, I've come to really love her strength and determination. She was a smart business woman and used that to her advantage. She worked her way up and earned the things she had, even if it was through marriage, and worked hard to keep herself safe and secure for the future. I think more women in books should be like her.

Yet again, Gregory has me thinking about the little things in history and how one simple decision can change the fate of a country, and the world. While not my favorite book (The Queen's Fool has that title), it was a great read and sheds more light onto the Tudor era of history.
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on May 16, 2014
For me, Gregory is hit or miss, and this was mostly a miss.

The book is about Mary Queen of Scots exile and imprisonment from the throne. Written in three voices -- Mary, Shrewsbury, and his wife Bess, the latter tasked with housing her.

I had just finished the 5th book in this Tudor series and Cecil was the redeeming character. Therefore it was incredibly difficult to slam on the brakes and read of a nasty, scheming Cecil ten years later.

I was thoroughly disgusted with Bess, whose "I am an independent woman" shtick grated on my last nerve. Queen Mary is just delusional, and Shrewsbury loses pretty much all regard by the end, and I felt sorry for him.

I was deeply disappointed by the ending. Anyone with history behind them knows the Scots queen was beheaded, yet for some inexplicable reason, Gregory chose to cover the entire POINT of the book in a dream sequence of Shrewsbury and the loathsome gloating of Bess. After committing myself to a long, drawn out account of the Queen avoiding The Tower, why didn't the author at the minimum give Mary a final voice?

Not the best. I feel like I wasted my time and bought a different book about this instead.
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on June 15, 2015
You can't always have a happy ending, so with that being said I loved it! Philippa Gregory astounds me!!! The storyline is amazingly thorough, she always uses many references. People don't realize how much work she puts into her books because the words flow effortlessly:) England was a cruel world of strong women and yes flighty at times unable to rule. Bess(Elizabeth) is an example as is Mary Queen of Scotland. The torture of the times is cruel and inhumane but so were other times in history! Elizabeth should have stood her ground in the beginning of her reign and kicked Cecil to the curb,lol. Excellent book I would recommend it! A little pricey but worth the money...
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on October 22, 2013
Not up to Philipa Gregory's usual standards, by any means. I usually like her work. In The Other Queen, the story is told from three different points of view: Mary, and her two captors. Unfortunately, none of the three is remotely likeable. The two women whine a lot: Mary, about her throne, her divine rights; Elizabeth Talbot, Countess of Shrewsbury, about the loss of her fortune. Yeah, I know. If it happened to me, I'd whine too. But what reader wants to hear this, page after page? The divine right of royalty seems to be an important component of all of Gregory's royal characters, and I'm sure they all felt that way, but after awhile, I get it, okay. The third point of view comes from Elizabeth Talbot's husband, the 6th Earl of Shrewsbury, who is divided in his loyalty between the two queens. He is not as annoying as the two women, and perhaps the book would have been more tolerable told from his POV alone. As it is, there seems to be little happening, and a lot of interior reflection on the parts of the characters. I was to the point where I was simply waiting for Mary's execution and finally gave up. It wouldn't be enough to make up for the torture of this book. Sorry, Ms Gregory, but you're way better than this.
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on May 9, 2017
This book was extremely hard to get through. I've read many other Philippa Gregory books and normally I can't put them down. This one I couldn't pick up.

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.
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on October 16, 2014
This book took me a long time a read due to a very busy life. I enjoyed staying with it. The story is told through the perspectives of Queen Mary writing in the first person; and through Bess writing in the first person; and her husband, George - also writing in the first person. I don't think I ever saw this done before- consistently telling a story and moving on by virtue of first person narratives. Very cool. I felt like I became personal friends with each of the three protagonists. One criticism would be repetition. The same info is given repeatedly and could probably have been omitted. But for many its a good reminder - and maybe thats why its like that: to keep the reader reminded of what happened and to whom. This happened about 8 or 9 times so it got a little annoying but other than that, this book tells a great story. I beleive much of it is true so you learn British history too....I was sorry when the book ended - but it ended well and was a satisfying read.
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on January 20, 2017
The characters presentation of all the events gives the reader a broad view of individual viewpoints regarding the political turmoil. There is a parallel in use of gossip and innuendo for political power in this book and the political situation of the United States of 2016 and 2017. Unfortunately we learn so little from history.
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on June 24, 2012
I have to agree with many other reviewers. While it was interesting to read the story from this particular perspective, the book seems to drag on and on. There is not a lot of action, which is unfortunate but by itself not the biggest issue with this book. In addition to the slow-moving plot, the characters as well as the historical setting lacks depth/vibrancy/color.
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