Saturday, January 24, 2015

Review: The Other Queen

Title The Other Queen
By Philippa Gregory
Genre Historical Fiction
Pages 438

First sentence Every woman should marry for her own advantage since her husband will represent her, visible as her front door, for the rest of his life.

Queen Mary of Scots, not to be confused with Mary Catherine and Henry VIII's daughter, has been fighting for her throne nearly her whole life. Accused of planning the death of her husband and marrying his murderer she is now at the whim of her cousin Queen Elizabeth. Held captive by an Earl and his wife she must plan and hope for escape while trying to win over her captives.

What it has going for it?
Oh boy. How do I even begin to write my feelings for this one? I like Gregory's books. I like how she brings England's History to life in a readable and captivating way. Her books often have a steamy romance to cling to amidst the history and, call me sucker for romance, but I like it. This book however has no romance and is as much about Bess of Hardwick, Mary's captor, and her husband George, than it is about Mary. But I digress. The good thing about this one is Gregory's capacity to take a neutral look at both women and let you form your own opinion about them. While very different from Gregory's other books it still kept me reading, even if it did go a little slower than I like.

What's lacking?
Forgive me but I thought this book was supposed to be about Queen Mary and so I expected to be sympathetic to her. What actually happened was there were two other characters vying for sympathy and Queen Mary, who I wanted to like, was freakishly annoying. Now don't get me wrong, I thought she was treated completely unfairly by Queen Elizabeth but the way Gregory wrote her...I really didn't care that she got what she did. And then, because of the three different characters, there's no one to really root for, no hero or heroine. I can see why Gregory wrote it the way she did  but I would have preferred one character to sympathize with rather than three I couldn't stand.

Favorite moment
I'm not sure I had one.

Yea or Nay?
Meh, it was OK but I just didn't like any of the characters enough. You have to at least like one, right?


  1. I'm not huge into historical novels and since there's not even one character that you could like I don't know if I could get through this one!

  2. It's really difficult for me to get into a book when the characters are annoying/hard to like. I have been interested in reading a book by Philippa Gregory, so I'll probably check out one of the other ones. :)

  3. I loved The Other Boleyn Girl. I wonder if I'd love this one. Have you read The Other Boleyn Girl?

  4. Mary Queen of Scots... that's the girl that Reign is about, right? I wonder if this book and that TV show have anything in common? Curious.

  5. I can understand your problems with this book, I would prefer one person to sympathise with as well, I like to be able to root for someone! I've not actually read anything by Philippa Gregory yet, but I think if I do, I'll start with one of her other books first.

  6. I haven't read anything by Phillipa Gregory, which is sort of embarassing. This doesn't seem like a good place to start though, not if I want to end up as a fan of her work.

  7. I've read several books about Queen Elizabeth I and King Henry VIII, but none about Queen Mary for some reason. Don't think I'll start with this one since I need someone sympathetic to root for as I'm reading, but glad you were able to finish it!

    Terri @ Alexia's Books and Such...