by Philippa Gregory
(Release date: Sept. 16, 2008)
The Other Queen isn't so much the story of Mary Queen of Scots during her captivity by Queen Elizabeth as it is about the turmoil in a Tudor England teetering on the edge of a new era. When Queen Mary comes to England for help from an insurrection in Scotland, an aging Queen Elizabeth, unmarried, childless and steeped in paranoia aroused by her closest advisor the spy-master William Cecil, holds her in England for fear Mary will go back home and plot to take the English crown, which many believe belongs to Mary by right.
The style of The Other Queen follows that of The Boleyn Inheritance. The story is told from three alternating first-person perspectives: Mary Queen of Scots, and the newly-married couple chosen to house the detained queen, George Talbot, Earl of Shrewsbury, and his wife, Bess of Hardwick. Mary secretly plots multiple escapes and the usurpation of the English throne right under the noses of her guardians, George and Bess are driven to near poverty housing the captive queen with no help from Elizabeth, and relations between enemies, friends and lovers alike are strained to the breaking point as people all over England and Europe rise up in support of Queen Mary. The true strengths and flaws of each character are skillfully revealed as the years progress. But Queen Elizabeth, a true Tudor to the bone, will not be denied her place and no one, not even a fellow queen, is safe from her deadly wrath.
I've previously been disappointed in tellings of Queen Mary's captivity. How exciting can one make being imprisoned for years? But Philippa Gregory knows her audience, and in her hands the tale is dynamic and emotional. The narratives of George and Bess are a brilliant twist in perspective, and give real-life hopes and dreams a place in a world ransacked by royalty.
Visit Philippa Gregory's Official Website to learn more!
NOTICE: (Updated March 5, 2010)
Beginning December 19, 2009, Books 'N Border Collies will be posting but only intermittently while I pursue personal goals. I plan to share some reading I'm doing, but there will be no reviews. I will, however, be sharing my exploration of vegetarian cooking and the cookbooks and websites I use to educate myself. I hope you enjoy it!