Saturday, December 12, 2009

December Reading 1/2

The Other Queen
Philippa Gregory

In the last novel of Gregory's Tudor series we follow Mary Stuart (Mary Queen of Scots) as she is captured by the English and left with George and Bess Talbot, a newly married high noble couple. We follow them from castle to castle, running from possible raids and war, and under Queen Elizabeth's advisors Cecil constant watch. The reader follows Mary on her quest for freedom, George's inner turmoil over serving one Queen while loving another and Bess's worries over status and finances.

I guess you could call me a loyal Gregory reader. I've read the majority of her Tudor series and have read the first book in Plantagenet trilogy. Usually I can find more than a few faults with her novels, but the story is usually enough to overlook large historical inaccuracies and underdeveloped characters. Unfortunately every character in this novel is grating. Mary is pompous, vain, and irritating as she repeats the same choirs of "you must free me, you can't kill me, aren't i pretty". Bess is the stereotypic nagging wife, who can not go a section without worrying about her land, and talking about the money that is being lost, and all the while George is gripping with his love for Mary, while serving Elizabeth and making stupid choices the entire time. Between the three of them there is not one redeemable quality, and that is really the tragedy of this story, not the massive number of executions, the religious persecutions or the historical inaccuracy's. Not one of Gregory's best works.


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