Harper Collins, February 2004
About the Book
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.
I have read a number of Philippa’s novels and have enjoyed them all. This one starts out with a semi-steamy scene, but then the rest of the book is rated PG. There is intrigue and suspense and the typical divided loyalties of a kingdom that is confused regarding what it believes. I enjoy stories that contrast Mary Tudor with Elizabeth Tudor, and I felt like this was a fair portrayal, with Elizabeth shown as a bit less noble and more flirtatious and devious than I have read in other books. Queen Mary was just pitiful and so emotionally distraught toward the end. I kind of felt sad for her but at the same time her marriage to the Spanish prince just caused more chaos in the kingdom. She would have been a better queen without him and the encouragement to persecute and burn Protestants.
I enjoyed the story told through the eyes of the “fool” who was more like a spy and seer than what I imagined a fool would be like. She had conflicts on so many levels. I did enjoy watching her grow into a young woman and mature through the hardships she endured. I loved the subplot with her and her intended, Daniel. He was a very patient man and at the same time I wasn’t sure whether they would end up together or not. I won’t post a spoiler, though. She’s a fictional character among real historical figures, so the outcome was completely up to the author. I think Philippa resolved things well and tied up the loose ends. It was a busy month for me or I would have finished the book much sooner.
Michelle Sutton author, Healing Hearts