The Other Queen: Book summary and reviews of The Other Queen by Philippa Gregory

The Other Queen

A Novel

By Philippa Gregory

The Other Queen
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  • Published in USA  Sep 2008,
    448 pages.

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Book Summary

Philippa Gregory presents a new and unique view of one of history's most intriguing, romantic, and maddening heroines. Biographers often neglect the captive years of Mary, Queen of Scots, who trusted Queen Elizabeth's promise of sanctuary when she fled from rebels in Scotland and then found herself imprisoned as the "guest" of George Talbot, Earl of Shrewsbury, and his indomitable wife, Bess of Hardwick.

The newly married couple welcome the doomed queen into their home, certain that serving as her hosts and jailers will bring them an advantage in the cutthroat world of the Elizabethan court. To their horror, they find that the task will bankrupt them, and as their home becomes the epicenter of intrigue and rebellion against Elizabeth, their loyalty to each other and to their sovereign comes into question. If Mary succeeds in seducing the earl into her own web of treachery and treason, or if the great spymaster William Cecil links them to the growing conspiracy to free Mary from her illegal imprisonment, they will all face the headsman.

Philippa Gregory uses new research and her passion for historical accuracy to place a well-known heroine in a completely new tale full of suspense, passion, and political intrigue. For years, readers have clamored for Gregory to tell Mary's story, and The Other Queen is the result of her determination to present a novel worthy of this extraordinary heroine.

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Reviews

Media Reviews

"Starred Review. The voices are strong throughout, but Gregory's ventriloquism is at its best with Bess of Hardwick, a woman who managed to throw off the restrictions of birth, class and sex in order to achieve things that proved beyond her titled husband." - Publishers Weekly

"Mary's voice initially is too much the "anointed queen" and not quite as human as this reader hoped. But Gregory's fans, as well as readers who enjoy well-written historical fiction, will still gobble this title up." - Library Journal

"Not without interest, but this claustrophobic novel should be more intriguing than it is. " - Kirkus Reviews.

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Author Information

Philippa Gregory Author Biography

Philippa Gregory was an established historian and writer when she discovered her interest in the Tudor period and wrote the novel The Other Boleyn Girl, which was made into a TV drama, and a major film. Now, six novels later, she is looking at the family that preceded the Tudors: the magnificent Plantaganets, a family of complex rivalries, loves, and hatreds. She lives with her family on a small farm in Yorkshire where she keeps horses, hens and ducks.

Her other great interest is the charity that she founded nearly twenty years ago: Gardens for The Gambia. She has raised funds and paid for 140 wells in the primary schools of this very dry and poor African country, and thousands of school children have been able to learn market gardening in the school gardens watered by the wells. The ...

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