Customer Reviews for

The Queen's Fool

Average Rating 4.5
( 405 )
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Most Helpful Favorable Review

17 out of 18 people found this review helpful.

The Queen's Fool

I loved this book. My favorite Gregory novel is The Other Boleyn Girl, and this comes a close second.
Other reviewers have criticized the author for her portrayals of Mary and Elizabeth in this book, but everyone needs to keep in mind that we are viewing these women th...
I loved this book. My favorite Gregory novel is The Other Boleyn Girl, and this comes a close second.
Other reviewers have criticized the author for her portrayals of Mary and Elizabeth in this book, but everyone needs to keep in mind that we are viewing these women through Hannah's eyes, and this is fiction, not a historical textbook.
Hannah is a very likeable character, who struggles throughout the book to come to terms with her gift of sight, her religious faith and her place in the world as a woman.
In this book, as in The Other Boleyn Girl, it's the slow-building, passionate love story that touches me the most. The love story of Hannah and Daniel is very well-written and is my favorite part of the book. It is easy to see what draws them to each other and what keeps them apart. Though the road is bumpy, I was very pleased with the ending.
My only complaint would be that I thought the book ended a few pages too soon. (In fact, I would love to see a sequel about the next chapter in Hannah's life.) After everything Hannah went through to discover what she truly wanted, and after everything she went through to get it, I would have liked to see a more passionate ending and a little more assurance that Hannah's future would be as happy as I wanted it to be.

posted by BANCHEE_READS on August 28, 2009

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Most Helpful Critical Review

5 out of 6 people found this review helpful.

Relentlessly Dark

I enjoy Philippa Gregory's books, but this book is relentlessly gloomy. It was a perilous time for high and low, Catholic or Protestant by turns but the heroine's thoughts never stray from the imminent possibility of death because she is a 'converted' Jew, although s...
I enjoy Philippa Gregory's books, but this book is relentlessly gloomy. It was a perilous time for high and low, Catholic or Protestant by turns but the heroine's thoughts never stray from the imminent possibility of death because she is a 'converted' Jew, although she gains a privileged position with both of Henry the VIII's daughters at court. Both Queen Mary and Princess Elizabeth dwell nearly every waking moment on the possibility they will be either overthrown and put to death or put to death for treason. Mary enjoys brief happiness on her marriage, soon dashed. Elizabeth literally gets ill with fear again and again. Elizabeth was a brilliant woman, judged to have the genius IQ her father, Henry, is also believed to have had. Yet Gregory has Mary accuse her of being a bastard by a lute player, which has to be taken as Mary's hatred and paranoia. Elizabeth had too many traits in common with her royal father for anyone to believe this was anything but a false accusation used to send Anne Boleyn to the block. Gregory portrayed Anne Boleyn as a raving shrew in THE OTHER BOLEYN GIRL, with Katherine of Aragon rightly the victim she was. Anne Boleyn was calculating and selfish, but lost her head because she didn't bear Henry a son. However, I see a pattern of soft-pedaling of the excesses of the old Catholic order and the Inquisition, while the Protestant monarchy that prevailed is denigrated by unpleasant accusations about Elizabeth, and there is inexcusable downplaying of Bloody Mary's campaign of mass murder of suspected Protestants by burning at the stake. Much blood was spilled before Mary, with priests and Catholics true to their faith masquerading and in hiding but Elizabeth did not start burning Catholics when she took the throne. Calling her a callous seductress even at age 14, rather than seeing an awakening teenaged girl chased and perhaps seduced by Thomas Seymour, is ludicrous. Supposedly she even swung her hips when she walked to seduce Mary's husband, Phillip. Who reported this, if any historical source? That doesn't play for me. It was a tightrope she walked, not instead her wicked nature to be a tease. She probably wasn't a virgin queen, only an unmarried one but I think Gregory tries too hard to paint her as less sympathetic than Mary, when Mary was a woman almost addled on the subject of religion and devoid of conscience at what she did. Not that a lot of people weren't then, and still are now--witness Northern Ireland and the Islamic terrorists who bomb innocents in the name of their religion. I have to confess much as I love historical fiction, and know religious fanaticism played a threatening role in that world, I am getting bored with characters who natter on about it all the time. I disliked much about THE BIRTH OF VENUS by Sarah Dunant for this reason--I want a human story to dominate in a novel, not constant thoughts of saints or what is the correct route to heaven. Hannah Verde is the protagonist, yet she is dwarfed by the events portrayed and there were contrived events that conveniently sent her back to England when she escaped that clunked in the plot. This isn't like Philippa Gregory, not the writer I've admired.

posted by Anonymous on November 3, 2007

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  • Anonymous

    Posted April 8, 2005

    Queen's Fool

    This book sounded great on the cover but once I started to read it I just could not get past the first few chapters...it did not keep my interest in the slightest...The story was slow and dull...I hope the rest of her books are more upbeat...

    2 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted October 16, 2004

    THIS BOOK WAS A HUGE LETDOWN!!!!

    I purchased this book thinking that it would be interesting..... Boy was I ever wrong! The beginning immediately drew me into the book, but as I progressed, I began to become increasingly more bored. By the end all I felt was a gasp of relief thinking 'it is done.' It was a good book to put me to sleep at night when I found myself being plagued by insomina. The women seemed too detached and not real. This book did nothing for me and in fact I can truly say it was the worst book I've read in a long time. I certainly will not be venturing any further into the endeavors of this author....

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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    Posted September 19, 2010

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    Posted January 6, 2011

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    Posted February 4, 2011

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    Posted September 22, 2011

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    Posted October 27, 2008

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