09 October 2018

Review: The Other Queen by Philippa Gregory

The Other Queen by Philippa Gregory is number #15 in The Plantagenet and Tudor novels series, but just like the others in the series, it too can be read as a stand alone.

Set in the mid to late 1500s, this story of Mary Queen of Scots is told from three perspectives: Queen Mary, her keeper George Talbot, Earl of Shrewsbury and his wife, Bess of Hardwick.

Bess's sections were incredibly repetitive; the one exception being the opening paragraph of the book told to us by Bess which was incredibly gripping.

"Every woman should marry for her own advantage since her husband will represent her, as visible as her front door, for the rest of his life. If she chooses a wastrel she will be avoided by all her neighbours as a poor woman; catch a duke and she will be Your Grace, and everyone will be her friend. She can be pious, she can be learned, she can be witty and wise and beautiful; but if she is married to a fool she will be 'that poor Mrs Fool' until the day he dies." Page 1

How's that for an opening? I've read 10 novels in this series and overall, The Other Queen just wasn't as engaging or memorable as the others. I recommend it for completionists of the series, otherwise I know for a fact there are better Philippa Gregory novels awaiting discovery.

My rating = ***

Carpe Librum!

Would you like to comment?

  1. I need to get back into this series. I read the first book, my sister-in-law bought it for me thinking it was a fantasy. Even though it wasn't fantasy I really enjoyed it and probably would never have picked it up myself.

  2. I love hearing stories like this Veronica, how lucky your SIL gave you the first one and you ended up liking it. I hope you get back to the series soon. Even though I've read quite a few books by Philippa Gregory now, I still have plenty left to discover. Isn't that the best feeling?

  3. I really enjoy these novels by Philippa Gregory. I read them all over the place though, not in any order but it doesn't seem to matter. Every few months I just pick one up and they always tell a good story, some definitely more than others, but still, they are all good.

  4. I agree Theresa, they're all stand alone novels so it doesn't matter which order you read them in. I've read a few out of order and it hasn't impacted the reading experience at all. I just love her writing and admire the research required for each book.


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