Fleeing violent rebellions in Scotland, Mary looks to Queen Elizabeth of England for sanctuary. Read more...
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Fleeing violent rebellions in Scotland, Mary looks to Queen Elizabeth of England for sanctuary. Though promised protection, Mary, perceived as a serious threat to the English crown, is soon imprisoned by her former friend as a guest in the house of George Talbot, Earl of Shrewsbury, and his indomitable wife, Bess of Hardwick. The newly married couple welcomes the condemned 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 grow to realize that the task will bankrupt their estate and lose them what little favor they ve managed to gain as their home becomes the epicenter of intrigue and rebellion against Queen Elizabeth. And Mary is not as hopeless as she appears, manipulating the earl and spinning her own web of treachery and deceit, as she sharpens her weapons to reclaim her Scottish throne and to take over Queen Elizabeth s of England."
Queen Mary's love triangle
he 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.
This review refers to the hardcover edition.