The Other Queen

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9780007192144: The Other Queen

A dramatic novel of passion, politics and betrayal from the author of The Other Boleyn Girl. Mary, Queen of Scots, fights to regain her kingdom whilst under the guard of Queen Elizabeth’s trusted accomplice, Bess of Hardwick.

Mary is Queen of Scotland but she has been forced to flee her land and take refuge in an England that is ruled by her cousin Elizabeth. But England, precarious in its Protestant state, set against the mighty powers of Spain, France and Rome, doesn’t need a charismatic Catholic figurehead at large. So Elizabeth’s chief advisor, Cecil, devises a plan in which Mary will live under guard with his trusted accomplice: Bess of Hardwick.

Bess is a self-made woman, a shrewd survivor. She is newly married to her fourth and most distinguished husband, the Earl of Shrewsbury. But what marriage can withstand the charms of Mary? Or the threat of rebellion that she always carries? Mary must wait in her privileged imprisonment for the return to Scotland and her infant son; but waiting is not the same as doing nothing…

With her characteristic combination of superb storytelling and authentic historical background, Philippa Gregory brings to life this period of great change, in a riveting tale of betrayal, loyalty, politics and passion.

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Review:

Philippa Gregory has long been one of the most assured practitioners of historical fiction, but her profile was raised even higher by the film of her novel The Other Boleyn Girl. Gregory admirers, however, were heard to remark of that movie: ‘Not as good as the book!’ And if her new novel, the highly accomplished The Other Queen is ever afforded the Hollywood treatment, there will no doubt be a similar chorus. The reason for this dedication by her readers is not hard to fathom: assiduously researched historical facts are married to consummate storytelling skills – and the effortless ability to rescue historical figures from the dusty pages of the past.

At the centre of this novel is Mary Queen of Scotland, forced to flee into England. Mary, a devout Catholic, is, of course, a living threat to the rule of her cousin Elisabeth, whose Protestant reign is uncertain. We’ve been here before, of course, in various books and films. But Philippa Gregory’s story this time has a different emphasis: Elizabeth’s chief advisor, Cecil, formulates a plan in which the destabilising Mary will live under guard with his faithful friend, Bess of Hardwick. Bess is a remarkable woman herself; someone who has forged her own destiny, and is now in her fourth marriage, to the distinguished Earl of Shrewsbury. But soon Bess and Mary find themselves plunged into very different personal crises – with Bess’s marriage under considerable strain.

The Other Queen is wonderfully accomplished stuff, evoking a much-pored-over era with a totally fresh eye.
--Barry Forshaw

Review:

Praise for Philppa Gregory:

‘Written from instinct, not out of calculation, and it shows.’
Peter Ackroyd, The Times

‘For sheer pace and percussive drama it will take a lot of beating.’ Sunday Times

‘Gregory is great at conjuring a Tudor film-set of gorgeous gowns and golden-lattered dining. She invokes some swoonsome images…while the politics are personal enough to remain pertinent.’ DailyTelegraph

‘The contemporary mistress of historical crime fiction is Philippa Gregory. Her novels are filled with strong, determined women who take their fate into their own hands…Gregory brings to life the sights, smells and textures of 16th-century England.’ Kate Mosse, Financial Times

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