Flashback Friday: The Queen’s Fool

ffbutton2Flashback Friday is a weekly tradition started here at Bookshelf Fantasies, focusing on showing some love for the older books in our lives and on our shelves. If you’d like to join in, just pick a book published at least five years ago, post your Flashback Friday pick on your blog, and let us all know about that special book from your reading past and why it matters to you. Don’t forget to link up!

My Flashback Friday pick this week:

The Queen's Fool (The Tudor Court, #4)

The Queen’s Fool by Philippa Gregory
(published 2003)

Synopsis (Goodreads):

A young woman caught in the rivalry between Queen Mary and her half sister, Elizabeth, must find her true destiny amid treason, poisonous rivalries, loss of faith, and unrequited love.

It is winter, 1553. Pursued by the Inquisition, Hannah Green, a fourteen-year-old Jewish girl, is forced to flee Spain with her father. But Hannah is no ordinary refugee. Her gift of “Sight,” the ability to foresee the future, is priceless in the troubled times of the Tudor court. Hannah is adopted by the glamorous Robert Dudley, the charismatic son of King Edward’s protector, who brings her to court as a “holy fool” for Queen Mary and, ultimately, Queen Elizabeth. Hired as a fool but working as a spy; promised in wedlock but in love with her master; endangered by the laws against heresy, treason, and witchcraft, Hannah must choose between the safe life of a commoner and the dangerous intrigues of the royal family that are inextricably bound up in her own yearnings and desires.

Teeming with vibrant period detail and peopled by characters seamlessly woven into the sweeping tapestry of history, The Queen’s Fool is another rich and emotionally resonant gem from this wonderful storyteller.

A lot of people discovered Philippa Gregory because of her bestseller The Other Boleyn Girl and its movie adaptation. But for me, my first exposure to this author came when a friend put a copy of The Queen’s Fool into my hands and ordered me to read it!

Long story short, I thought this book was marvelous! The fictional character of Hannah Green is a terrific invention, providing an outsider’s view of the closed confines of life at court. The element of hiding her Jewish faith adds both an interesting historical note as well as a more personal risk for Hannah in her role as companion to both Mary and Elizabeth. Through Hannah’s eyes, we get intimate views of the royal half-sisters’ hopes, fears, and struggles, and it’s all quite fascinating.

There are a ton of books out there, fiction and non-fiction, focused on the Tudor dynasty. In The Queen’s Fool, we see the Tudor women from the unique perspective of a young woman who is powerless yet has almost unlimited access to those on and closest to the throne. I’ve read several of Philippa Gregory’s novels about the Tudors, and while I haven’t loved them all, The Queen’s Fool is one that I wouldn’t hesitate to recommend.

Note from your friendly Bookshelf Fantasies host: To join in the Flashback Friday fun:

  • Grab the Flashback Friday button
  • Post your own Flashback Friday entry on your blog (and mention Bookshelf Fantasies as the host of the meme, if you please!)
  • Leave your link in the comments below
  • Check out other FF posts… and discover some terrific hidden gems to add to your TBR piles!


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4 thoughts on “Flashback Friday: The Queen’s Fool

  1. I know Philippa Gregory gets a lot of shit talked about the historical inaccuracies of her novels but I’ve been a fan for a long time. I really enjoyed this one too but my favorite of hers was actually The Constant Princess. Great pick! 🙂

    • I enjoyed The Constant Princess as well. Sure, she takes some liberties, but it’s fiction! I’d say she sticks to the historical record way more than TV shows like The Tudors (not that that’s saying much…). I’ve liked a bunch of her books, although I was bored by The Virgin’s Lover.

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