The Queen's Fool by Philippa Gregory

About the book

A stunning novel set in the Tudor court, from the Sunday Times No.1 bestseller Philippa Gregory. The rivalry between Queen Mary and her half-sister Elizabeth is played out against a background of betrayal, conflict and passion. The savage rivalry of the daughters of Henry VIII, Mary Tudor and Elizabeth, mirrors that of their mothers, Katherine of Aragon and Anne Boleyn. Each will fight by any available means for the crown and future of the kingdom. Elizabeth’s bitter struggle to claim the throne she believes is hers by right, and the man she desires almost more than her crown, is watched by her ‘fool’: a girl who has been forced to leave her homeland of Spain, as a Jew fleeing the Inquisition. In a court where truth is wittily denied and lies are mere games, it is the fool who can speak plainly: in these dangerous times, a woman must choose between ambition and love. Elizabeth will not make the same mistakes as her mother.

Reviewed by Cambridge Reading Group:

A page turner. All group members thoroughly enjoyed the book particularly as the series on Elizabeth 1 has recently been shown on TV.

Star rating: ****

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15 thoughts on “The Queen's Fool by Philippa Gregory”

  1. Review by Southampton U3A Reading Group:
    A very interesting approach to a familiar topic. Very good when describing life at court – but less so when writing about the heroine’s own life and romance when it becomes quite “Mills and Boon”.
    Star rating: ***

  2. Review by Eastleigh Library Wednesday Reading Group:
    Unanimously enjoyed. A well researched informative and interesting historical romance. Good description of characters and storyline not too difficult to follow.
    Star rating: ****

  3. Review by Entre Nous Reading Group:
    An excellent read of the period between the reigns of Henry VIII and Elizabeth I. So many different facets of that time are brought into this novel – religious persecution, the supernatural, life at court, dynastic insecurity, the position of Jews in Europe, the fall of Calais to the French and the might of Spain. An easy and interesting read – almost unputdownable.
    Star rating: ****

  4. Review by Park Road Readers Reading Group:
    A good read. Kept our interest going; made history come alive. Well written and engaging. Three of use have gone on to read other books by Phillipa Gregory, none of us having read any before.
    Star rating: ****

  5. Review by The Villagers Reading Group:
    Historically very convincing. thoroughly enjoyable characters, well drawn and convincing.
    Star rating: ****

  6. Review by New Forest/Waterside U3A Reading Group:
    An excellent story shedding a different light on a period of English history most readers think they know and understand, but see through lenses biased by early sectarian teaching. Told in the first person by a barely possible Jewish go-between, this tale clears the muddy waters flowing between Queen Mary and Queen Elizabeth even if it is fast filtered through fiction.
    Star rating: ****

  7. Review by Shipton Bellinger WI Reading Group:
    Opening up a new area of history to some members. A well written new assessment of the Mary/Elizabeth story. Some found it a bit long winded in places but most enjoyed this book.
    Star rating: ***

  8. Review by Fawley Reading Group:
    Very cleverly done. Fiction and historical together, different perspective to the Elizabeth/Mary story.
    Star rating: ****+

  9. Review by Whiteley Word Reading Group:
    Our group thoroughly enjoyed this book. P Gregory is a very easy read. This is the second of her books we have read and in both instances they provoke a very wide ranging discussion from the historical facts, politics of the time and the religious aspects. Would thoroughly recommend.
    Star rating: ****

  10. Review by Bookworms Reading Group:
    We all thoroughly enjoyed this book. It never ceases to amaze the imagination of authors. Hannah a Spanish Jew becomes the Queen’s fool. She is asked to spy on the Queen. It really brings out the thoughts of the age, the enemity between sisters. How dangerous to be the ‘wrong’ religion. fantastic.
    Star rating: ***

  11. Review by Goodworth Clatford WI Reading Group:
    Written as in it’s time – some transported back to Tudor times. Graphic account of Calais/religious persecution/insecurity of throne.
    Star rating: ***

  12. Review by The Bookworms
    This book is an easy read and has extensive historical content. However, it becomes a bit long-winded and unbelievable in places. The story does pick up towards the end though. Overall a good historical novel if you like that kind of thing.
    Star rating ***

  13. Review by Morning Tide
    EXCELLENT. Want to read more of her books. All gave it 4 stars.
    Star rating ****

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