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Philippa Gregory has long been one of the most assured practitioners of historical fiction, but her profile was raised even higher by the film of her novel The Other Boleyn Girl. Gregory admirers, however, were heard to remark of that movie: Not as good as the book! And if her new novel, the highly accomplished The Other Queen is ever afforded the Hollywood treatment, there will no doubt be a similar chorus. The reason for this dedication by her readers is not hard to fathom: assiduously researched historical facts are married to consummate storytelling skills and the effortless ability to rescue historical figures from the dusty pages of the past.
At the centre of this novel is Mary Queen of Scotland, forced to flee into England. Mary, a devout Catholic, is, of course, a living threat to the rule of her cousin Elisabeth, whose Protestant reign is uncertain. Weve been here before, of course, in various books and films. But Philippa Gregorys story this time has a different emphasis: Elizabeths chief advisor, Cecil, formulates a plan in which the destabilising Mary will live under guard with his faithful friend, Bess of Hardwick. Bess is a remarkable woman herself; someone who has forged her own destiny, and is now in her fourth marriage, to the distinguished Earl of Shrewsbury. But soon Bess and Mary find themselves plunged into very different personal crises with Besss marriage under considerable strain.
The Other Queen is wonderfully accomplished stuff, evoking a much-pored-over era with a totally fresh eye.
Praise for ‘The Boleyn Inheritance’:
‘Philippa Gregory truly is the mistress of the historical novel…It would be hard to make history more entertaining, lively or engaging: the characters truly come alive…This is a reliably breathtaking, suspenseful and imaginative romp from Gregory. Full of all the colours, sights and sounds of the Tudor court, it really transports you to the era. A winning formula.’ Sunday Express
‘This is historical fiction at its best’ Bella
‘A thrilling romantic history’ Eve
‘A fascinating insight into court life…Highly readable and thoroughly enjoyable and no-one writes popular history as well as Philippa Gregory’ Daily Express
‘Philippa Gregory brings the turbulent Tudors to glorious life…Delicious’ Times
I think that this is a great way to learn about the history of the Tudors. The characters
Come to life and it is hard to put down.
I love Philipp Gregory books and this one was up to her usual standard. Really takes you back to the Tudor era.Published 1 month ago by Pat Sinclair
A voyage round Mary QOfS and ES , Bess, makes me want to ride round the north copy in hand.Published 1 month ago by Lesley J Standley
I found this a pleasant enough read, but I am very aware that as a novelist Ms Gregory allows her negative opinion of Elizabeth Tudor to distort quite a lot. Read morePublished 1 month ago by Pussinska