A Book for Thought: The Queen’s Fool By Philippa Gregory
Hello fellow readers! It has been so long since I have done a proper blog post; it mainly has to do with my VERY, VERY busy life that hasn’t really slowed down in the past few weeks. I managed to finally finish a book that I have been reading for the past few weeks, WOOHOO!!! So now that I have finished a book I can write a post about it. I was introduced to Philippa Gregory a few years ago when someone lent me her novel The Other Boleyn Girl to me, which shows the life and romance of Anne Boleyn and King Henry VIII from the perspective of her sister Mary. I read ¾ of the novel and was so disappointed to how Mary turned out that I stopped the novel and refused to pick up another one of her novels.
A few months ago I look a trip to the Tower of London to check out the history of this amazing prison, no longer running as one mind you, and the crown jewels. I managed to write a blog post about my experience at the Tower and how mesmerized I was about all the historical events at such a fascinating place. Here is the link to that post:
It was that trip that got my curiosity of Philippa’s work running once more. I know I said I never would read her again but I decided to give her books another try. It took me awhile to decide which one of them to read since there are so many to choose from and they are all from different time periods. But it was her Tudor series that most readers recommend to people who are new to her. I wandered over to my local book shop and bought myself a copy of The Queen’s Fool.
The Queen’s Fool takes place during the ending reign of King Edward and the beginning of Queen Mary Tudor told through the story of a young Spanish girl named Hannah. Hannah and her father are Spanish Jews who manage to escape from the Inquisition in Spain and gain refuse in England, where her father is able to gain success in his book publishing business. Hannah, who is dressed as a boy for her own safety, is hired by Robert Dudley to be the King’s Holy Fool and is to spy on Mary and Elizabeth, the long forgotten daughters and heirs to Henry the VIII’s thrown. Hannah soon must find where her true loyalties lie and the true identity of herself; was she going to be faithful to these forgotten women and embrace the inner woman in her or remain hidden in boy’s clothing and do what the men of her world demand.
The first thing that blew my mind about this novel was the historical accuracy and description that Philippa has for this novel. The reader is able to lose themselves in the Tudor world and feel as if they are a member of the Tudor court; experiencing all the things Hannah experiences throughout the novel. I was able to tell how much research and effort she put into this beautiful work, and as a fellow historical fiction lover and historian, I appreciated all the work she put into this novel. I preferred this novel over The Other Boleyn Girl, the story was easy to follow and as a young woman myself I was able to understand Hannah better than I could understand Mary or even Anne in the other novel. The novel touches on so many different topics, themes, the roles of sexuality, and events going on during the Reigns of Edward and Mary. It appears that the Tudors have lived up to their name even in fiction with this novel. As a fan of historical fiction, this book was a winner for me. The descriptions of the times and society was just astonishing and well written. I was lost in her book and had difficulty putting it down, and I am glad I read it. The next book in the “Queen’s series” is The Queen’s Lover which is about the relationship between Queen Elizabeth I and Robert Dudley, yes he is back ladies! Philippa Gregory made me even want to marry Robert Dudley, she made him THAT charming-she is amazing! So if you have never read Philippa’s work before and have been thinking about hopping into one of them then this book is a good starting point. I know it is not in the right chronological order of Tudor history but this book is amazing on its own. I would give it a try; it would be a great summer read to have on the beach or by the pool while getting a tan. She inspires all the historians in us to go out, study, and understand the stories of history have left behind for our enjoyment. Go out and read her, you will thank me later!
Have you read this book or any of Philippa’s work? What do you think of her?