Sunday, April 4, 2010

The Queen’s Fool


The Queen’s Fool – Philippa Gregory

This is the third Philippa Gregory book I have read, it’s was by far my favorite, although I probably won’t be reading any more of her novels. 

I love the setting in the royal courts and all the treason and backstabbing and gossip.  I’m not a huge medieval times fan, but I enjoy these books. 

This one was especially interesting because the main character, Hannah Green, is a Jew living in exile from the Spanish Inquisition.  There is a huge division in England over Catholicism and the reformed  Protestant ways of thinking.  The tide is constantly changing and in order to hide you must continually know “the right answers”  She and her father are booksellers, which puts them at the center of the disputes as many of their books are considered heresy depending on who is on the throne.   Hannah goes into the service of the Queen as her Holy Fool, she has a gift of Sight and can predict the future when the Sight occurs.

While I totally enjoyed the story of Hannah, her father, the Lords and Ladies, the Queens and the court, I didn’t like that the book just went on and on and on.  Most of Philippa Gregory’s books are very long.  I don’t shy away from books that are long just because they are long, if a story takes 500 pages to tell it then that’s how long it takes.  The thing is, Gregory’s stories do not need 500 pages to tell.  They remind me of the “bed to bed” stories my 1st graders right.  They start when they get up in the morning and write every detail of their day until they go to bed.  The result is a long story that says very little.  This novel covers 10 years of Tudor history – from 1548-1558.  It’s a mile long and an inch thick.  By the end I was just skimming, I couldn’t wait to be done with it!

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