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Customer Review

5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Thin In Plot, Character and Page Length, 18 Sep 2010
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This review is from: The Other Queen (Paperback)
This has to be Philippa Gregory's weakest novel to date. She attempts to weave a story through the viewpoints of three people (Bess Hardwick, her weak husband George, and Mary, Queen of Scots).

The thinness of the material shows, as the book is much shorter than Gregory's earlier novels, with chapters just two or three pages long, with many pages virually blank until the next chapter. The font size is larger. A far cry from the small font 600 pages of before, with layers of storylines.

As to the novel itself, strong-willed Bess, a staunch Protestant, who is a rich woman in her on right, who has married many timesw is annoyed to find that she and her husband George have been given orders by William Cecil (Queen Elizabeth's chief advisor) to look after the beautiful Mary, Queen of Scots.

It is not long, however, before George starts falling for Mary and does her bidding. The cost of maintaining the Queen is all but on Bess, and she starts to see her fortune diminish.

The major fault of the novel is that the trio are constantly moved from place to place, and we hear news of goings on from the outside. The reader never actually sees these events, but just hears about them from the lips of others. Very much a hearsay novel, in which nothing actually happens.

The death of Mary, Queen of Scots is a shambles. George describes it in a vision years before it happens, and right at the end, Bess tells us that Mary was executed when the novel suddenly jumps many years forward. As before, we don't 'see' the important events actually happen.

The 'triple narration' idea was very successful in Gregory's earlier novel 'The Boleyn Inheritance', but failed miserably here. Philippa needs to put more substance in her novels. I was pushed to give this two stars.
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