The more historical fiction that I read, the more I want to fill my library with it. I think that historical fiction is a fantastic genre. Tracy Chevalier is one of my favorites, her new book is sitting on my kitchen table and I’m dying to read it. Another historical fiction author who I am a big fan of is Philippa Gregory. Granted, I haven’t read most of her works, but I do think that she has talent and now that I’ve finished reading “The Queen’s Fool” I feel the need to get my hands on all the other books written by her.
“The Queen’s Fool” follows the story of Hannah, a Jewish girl who watched her mother burned alive by the Inquisition. She spends the rest of her life hiding her true identity and forced to practice a different religion than her own. Hannah and her father fled to England after her mother was burned, this was an England ruled by Edward VI, Henry VIII’s son, following the Protestant faith. Next in line after Edward is Mary, Henry VIII’s daughter by his first wife and after Mary is Elizabeth, his daughter by his second wife, Anne Boleyn. Hannah has a unique gift—she has the gift of Sight. This gift leads to Hannah becoming the King’s Fool and after his death, the Queen’s Fool. Hannah finds herself living at court and being forced to spy on both Mary and Elizabeth in turn.
One thing that I found especially entertaining for me at least was the fact that I didn’t know how the story was going to go. I guess there is an advantage to never paying attention in history class. After I finished reading “The Queen’s Fool” I spent about an hour surfing the web to find out information about what really happened at the time portrayed in “The Queen’s Fool”. One thing that I found especially interesting is the fact that when Hannah is describing Queen Mary, she always emphasizes how kind and forgiving she is. Events force the Queen to have a stronger hand and now history has nicknamed Queen Mary, “Bloody Mary”.
Philippa Gregory paints a beautiful picture with the language that she uses when she writes. I have so far only read two of her books, but “The Queen’s Fool” was just as good, if not better than the first book I read by her, “The Other Boleyn Girl”. Based off of these two books being wonderful reads I’m on my way to collecting and reading everything she owns. There is just something about historical fiction that makes me want to own the physical book rather than buy the books in e-format. I guess I’m a traditionalist in that way.
Would I recommend “The Queen’s Fool” by Philippa Gregory? Yes, I think that it is a wonderful story and although it seems to be geared towards a female audience, I think that men would enjoy her books as well.