Customer Reviews for

The Other Queen

Average Rating 3.5
( 257 )
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(60)

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(35)

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(10)

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Most Helpful Favorable Review

4 out of 7 people found this review helpful.

If you want to learn history, this is the way.

Another Philippa book that I couldn't put down. I understood Bess' frustration. Her husband, George was a fool. Now I'm onto " The Constant Princess."

posted by penname96 on May 12, 2010

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Most Helpful Critical Review

10 out of 10 people found this review helpful.

So disappointed after waiting so long!

Let me say first that I am a huge Philippa Gregory fan and generally love her work. This book however, was long and boring. The subject itself was a good choice the storyline in my opinion was dull and lifeless. The Queen being moved from one place to another, plotti...
Let me say first that I am a huge Philippa Gregory fan and generally love her work. This book however, was long and boring. The subject itself was a good choice the storyline in my opinion was dull and lifeless. The Queen being moved from one place to another, plotting her escape.....yawn. I wish she would have chose to write about the queen during her time upon the throne. The Queen of Scots had a fascinating life during her reign, full of scandal and turmoil. It would have made a sensational historical novel.
I usually read one of Philippa's books in a day and reread them several times. I had to force myself to finish this one and I will not reread it.

posted by julie1972 on May 6, 2009

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  • Posted May 24, 2010

    more from this reviewer

    If you like a story line that jumps around..

    I picked up this book because I love Gregory's other books. However, it really was a waste of my time and money. There really was no story. It was constantly jumping around from character to character. I did not like that there were 3 points of view, constantly shifting the focus of the reader. Overall, I think that it was poorly written. If you are a die-hard fan of Gregory's, please check it out of the library, do not purchase it.

    5 out of 6 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted November 7, 2008

    Not her best work

    This story is not nearly as compelling as her previous books have been. I had a hard time staying interested in the plot.

    4 out of 4 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted January 25, 2009

    I Also Recommend:

    powerfully written, but not well written

    This book is written with vehemence but is not well written. I really disdain the way that Mary Queen of Scots is painted.She takes the angle that Bothwell raped Mary and the truth of the romance is eclipsed.Bothwell is an amazing figure, and he isn't even part of this book other than the letters she writes. I also dislike the format, going back and forth between three perspectives because it really doesn't connect the way it should. The vocabulary is simple and there's no imagery. You can't escape with this book. I literally had to force myself to pick it up and finish it, whereas Margaret George's books I couldn't put down. Philippa Gregory may be a big name, but just because her books are popular doesn't mean they are quality.

    3 out of 3 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted July 7, 2012

    This is without question the most tedious read in Philippa Grego

    This is without question the most tedious read in Philippa Gregory's library of books. Billed as "the untold story" there really were few surprises. If you have read even a smattering of English and French history you would know that Mary Stuart is a spoiled, vain and charming woman, and royal many times over... the Queen of Scotland, as daughter of James V, the Queen of France, through marriage to Francois II, and the legitimate heir to the English throne, as grand niece of Henry VIII. But though she is body royal, she is also despised in all three of her lands. Her mother in law, Catherine de Medici, former queen of France and now regent of France, despises her. The Lords of Scotland have driven her out of their country and forced her to abdicate. And her cousin Elizabeth I distrusts her and is housing her as a prisoner/guest with the Lord and Lady of Shrewsbury, the highest lord in England, while her adviser William Cecil (and his assorted spies) watch Mary and collect evidence that will lead to her downfall.

    The book is told from three different perspectives. Mary Stuart, George Talbot, Earl of Shrewsbury and Mary's jailer "host" who falls under her spell, and his wife, Bess of Hardwick, a self made woman who has married up 4 times and is now a woman of wealth and land. Bess and George are newlyweds when Mary Stuart arrives, but the strain and expense of housing their queenly guest tears their marriage and finances asunder. The most interesting chapters are the ones told from Bess's perspective. She has a longtime friendship with spymaster Cecil and is the only one who sees the inevitability of Mary's destruction.

    The only surprise in this book is the fact that Gregory decided to paint Elizabeth R in such a negative light, as a pawn of William Cecil and a desperately vain and insecure woman who is motivated in part by jealousy. The other surprise is how few pages were spent on the death of Mary, in contrast to that of her betrothed, Thomas Howard, the earl of Norfolk. (yes, one of *those* doomed Howards. It is a family tradition for them to be sent to the Tower. His father, Henry Howard (earl of Surrey) also met with the block, and his grandfather came close to being beheaded several times.) I can believe that Elizabeth agonized far more over the death of Thomas Howard than over that of Mary Stuart.

    All in all, this book was an adequate read, but not really an enjoyable one. If you are looking for another Philippa Gregory page turner, this isn't it.

    2 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted July 10, 2012

    Good but not my favorite of Gregory's books.

    I didn't know much about all three of the main characters and I enjoyed learning about them through the book. But I definitely felt like the book was dragging on. I didn't really connect with the characters or the love story. I still gave it three stars for enlightening me on the lives of Mary Queen of Scots and Bess of Hardwick.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted January 23, 2012

    not her best

    Of all the Phillipa Gregory books I have read this was my least favorite. The story was slow in developing and I kept waiting for something to happen but it pretty much ended as it began. The writing was not bad and the characters were interesting I was just not crazy about the story.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted July 11, 2011

    Liked it, but didn't love it

    I enjoyed this book, however I did feel a little left hanging. The story resolves itself and is well-spoken, but also doesn't quite feel complete. I'd recommend this book to young women who enjoy historical fiction without too much romance. I'm an avid Philippa Gregory reader, but I don't think this was one of her better books.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted December 27, 2010

    more from this reviewer

    Book on Tape

    I listened to the audio version and it was good because there were three different readers who helped engage the listener to the plot and characters. Many customers complained about the segmented style, but I think that listening to this book read by mulitple characters helped alleviate that problem.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted November 11, 2009

    Slow to Start...

    This book took some time to get into. A lot of what the characters say gets repeated in 50 different ways, so the story doesn't really progress for awhile. Not as good as some of her other novels. :/

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted November 17, 2008

    more from this reviewer

    I Also Recommend:

    Too many point of views

    I love historical fiction and I am a big fan of Philippa Gregory, but I was a little disappointed by her latest offering. Perhaps my biggest frustration was her use of three different characters to tell the story. The story is told in the first person through the eyes of Bess of Hardwick, her husband George, and of Queen Mary. Each chapter ends one viewpoint and begins another. For me, it was too difficult to get into the story or to get involved with any of the characters. Just as I would begin to get interested, the chapter would end and I was abruptly seeing the story though another set of eyes. If you want Philippa Gregory at her best read The Other Boleyn Girl. If you want a really good book on Queen Mary then I recommend Mary, Queen of Scotland and the Isles by Margaret George.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted October 8, 2008

    an alright read

    this book was overall medeocre. it was pretty slow to start out with and then the whole book it seemed like they were saying the same things over and over again . about half way through i was asking myself 'Why are you reading this book' it was pretty boring and i think that it is really not worth your time. if you want something to put you to sleep then be my guest and buy this book you will fall asleep in no time at all.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted August 24, 2009

    more from this reviewer

    Not the Greatest

    The Other Queen focuses on Mary Stuart, Queen of Scots and Elizabeth I's rival. You read the story through the eyes of Queen Mary, and her two hosts/jailors: George and Bess Talbot (who are also newlyweds). As the plot progress, you notice George falling in love with the Queen, and Bess becoming the green eyed monster. In the meantime Queen Mary is busy plotting to get her seated on a throne to rule France, England, and Scotland.

    The plot starts very slow at first. It didn't really capture my attention as Gregory's other books. I did not really warm up to any of these characters. When you're reading from Mary's point of view she's always referring to her past, and other characters (Bothwell, for example). It's a little hard to follow as I'm not very well versed in this era of history. Here I am sitting wondering who are these people Mary keeps on talking about. You get the hang of it after a while but it's a little frustrating and you feel a little lost. Also, you get the feeling you're on a yo-yo as you read this book. First the rebels are coming. Nope they're not. Oh Mary's going to this house. Nope she's going to this one. Oh yes Mary will have her throne. Nope she's just going to this other house for now. It was sort of tiring reading like this throughout the book.

    Once you get the know the three characters and as the plot slowly progresses, this is where it gets messy. I started to like Mary a lot first, and I started sympathizing with her. Considering I didn't like Elizabeth to start with (when reading The Virgin's Lover), Mary was a very romantic version of a Queen and reminded me of a little bit of Catalina (from The Constant Princess). I was neutral towards Bess, and George, he's a sweetheart! you can't help it but wonder if he's THE perfect guy for those times. Towards the middle of the book, when Mary starts plotting more, and George falls in love with her, my opinion changes. Bess just can't shut up about money, and gets mildly irritating. On top of that she's a jealous harpy but you can't really blame her. She's up against a Queen. George still reminds loveable, but a little on the dumb side. Queen Mary, she started becoming a lying twit. Towards the end, everything shifts again. I didn't like Mary anymore. The spoiled brat. I admired Bess for her strength but just wished she would shut up about her lands and money. George, well, I'd have to say he brought it all on himself even though he's still a sweetheart. The plot works well with these characters, as all three of them develop and you see them change drastically.

    Aside from the slow plot, I think it's the characters that managed to saved this book from being set aside. They grabbed my attention, albeit not as quick as I hoped. Perhaps I had too many expectations. However it could be because I don't know much about this era of history and perhaps a bit of background research would have helped me. Overall, not one of Gregory's best work but it's an all right read.

    0 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted July 27, 2009

    more from this reviewer

    I Also Recommend:

    Average

    I have read almost all of her books and i found this one lacking the suspence and the drama her other books were full of. The plot is a bit tired, but her take on it was surprising. About mid-way through I felt that the story had plateaued and i had to struggle to read to the end. Not one of her best works.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted May 13, 2009

    ok

    My least favorite of all her books.

    0 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted October 18, 2008

    I Also Recommend:

    NOT HER BEST

    Mary Queen of Scots had a life as intriguing as that of her cousin Elizabeth. However, Phillipa Gregory chose to highlight the least interesting part of her life (her quasi imprisonment with Bess of Hardwick and George Talbot Earl of Shrewsbury). Her two marriages prior to her imprisonment, the birth of her son, (and death of her twins) would have all made much more interesting reading than the back and forth of her flirtations with her so called jailers. These aspects of her life were barely mentioned in the novel. For this reason, this book does not live up to Gregory's extraordinary talents. Having read everything she ever wrote, including two novels published in England and never in the U.S., I would recommend "Wideacre" as her finest.

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    Posted August 17, 2009

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    Posted May 11, 2009

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    Posted October 24, 2009

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  • Anonymous

    Posted August 27, 2011

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  • Anonymous

    Posted January 15, 2010

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