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The Other Queen
by Philippa Gregory

Overview - Two women competing for a man's heart
Two queens fighting to the death for dominance
The untold story of Mary, Queen of Scots

This dazzling novel from the #1 "New York Times" bestselling author Philippa Gregory presents a new and unique view of one of history's most intriguing, romantic, and maddening heroines.  Read more...


 
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More About The Other Queen by Philippa Gregory
 
 
 
Overview
Two women competing for a man's heart
Two queens fighting to the death for dominance
The untold story of Mary, Queen of Scots

This dazzling novel from the #1 "New York Times" bestselling author 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.


 
Details
  • ISBN-13: 9781416549123
  • ISBN-10: 1416549129
  • Publisher: Touchstone Books
  • Publish Date: September 2008
  • Page Count: 438


Related Categories

Books > Fiction > Historical - General

 
Publishers Weekly Reviews

Publishers Weekly® Reviews

  • Reviewed in: Publishers Weekly, page 41.
  • Review Date: 2008-05-05
  • Reviewer: Staff

In her latest foray into the lives and minds of Elizabethan shakers and movers, Gregory (The Other Boleyn Girl) takes on Mary Queen of Scots during her 16-year house arrest. By the secret order of her cousin, Elizabeth I, Mary is held at the estate of George Talbot, earl of Shrewsbury, and his wife, Bess of Hardwick; the latter three share first-person narrative duties. The book centers on Mary’s never-ending clandestine efforts to drum up enough support to take her cousin’s throne, but the real story is in the clash of two women and the earl who stands between them. Shrewsbury’s refusal to recognize superior intelligence and force of will in his wife, who runs the estate, and in Mary, who tries to make him her instrument at every turn, makes for one delicious conflict after another. 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. (Sept.)

 
BookPage Reviews

Love triangle for Queen Mary

The bibliography tucked at the tail end of Philippa Gregory's The Other Queen might come as a surprise to those who assume that only nonfiction writers are rooted to the rigors of scholarly research. For this best-selling author of novels such as The Other Boleyn Girl, The Queen's Fool and The Virgin's Lover, a passion for historical accuracy is the cornerstone of her abundant story-telling gift. Deftly weaving fact and fiction into a lyrical, literary tapestry that transcends the boundaries of the too-often predictable genre of historical fiction, Gregory has once again crafted a mesmerizing novel that will keep readers turning pages deep into the night.

Gregory's legions of loyal fans are already well aware of the author's aptitude for capturing the timeless pathos of 16th-century Englishwomen, royals and peasants alike. Perhaps never before has Mary, Queen of Scots, been portrayed in such a contemporary, complex manner: a beautiful, charming, headstrong and spoiled young woman who is both maddeningly self-absorbed and overwhelmingly courageous. The same is true for the novel's anti-heroine, Bess of Hardwick, who transcends her hardscrabble childhood via a trail of calculated betrothals and consequent widowhoods. Proud and pragmatic, Bess harbors no illusions about romantic love, and instead, sets her heart on the comforts of rank and financial security, a coup she achieves with her final marriage, to George Talbot, Earl of Shrewsbury.

Nonetheless, after Bess and George Talbot are asked by Queen Elizabeth to provide "sanctuary" for the beleaguered Mary, Queen of Scots, the couple's companionable marriage is jeopardized, with poor George smitten by the young queen's winsome ways, and his once implacable wife reeling with jealousy and, worse, the discovery that she is once again on the brink of poverty.

In the end, which arrives after a series of riveting chapters alternating between the voices and perspectives of Mary, Bess and George, nothing is what it seems. This spell-binding tale of Elizabethan England adds up to a novel as sweet and thorny as a wild English rose.

Karen Ann Cullotta is a freelance writer and journalism instructor in Chicago.

 
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