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Topic: The Other Queen - P. Gregory (Just Finished!)

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Subject: The Other Queen - P. Gregory (Just Finished!)
Date Posted: 9/25/2008 1:44 PM ET
Member Since: 4/15/2005
Posts: 456
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I'm one of those who has mixed feelings about Gregory's work -- some I enjoy, despite the historical inaccuracies, but others I just couldn't get through.   That said, I have mixed feelings about The Other Queen as well.

I anticipated this book -- so much that when the library called to tell me it was in, I dropped everything to go and get it.  I find the story of Mary Queen of Scots fascinating and hoped that Gregory would weave an entertaining tale.  The story is told from the perspective of Mary, and her 'guardians' (for lack of a better word) Bess of Hardwick, and Bess's husband, George.   I have no issue with the story being told from three different viewpoints (I liked how Alison Weir used the the multiple viewpoint in Innocent Traitor), but the constant complaining of all of them drove me batty.  Mary's whinge was "I'm an annointed queen, no one can harm me." and Bess constantly complained about how much 'hosting' Mary was costing them.  Granted, I'm sure Bess was concerned about the money, but with all the characters b*tching and moaning throughout the book, I was ready to toss it across the room more than once.

I read until the end -- it's not a hard read - but not for Mary's story, but because I wanted to know more about Bess of Hardwick.  What a fascinating woman.  I visited Chatsworth during my last trip to England -- what a stunning home.  I didn't realise that it was Bess's home before Georgiana Spencer, Duchess of Devonshire.  Now I'm utterly fascinated with Bess and want to read more about her and her life.  I didn't realise the Arbella Stuart was Bess's granddaughter either until I read this book.  More people for me to read about - either in fiction or non-fiction.

I enjoyed the story, even knowing how Mary's tale ends, but it wasn't my favorite bit of historical fiction.  Die-hard Gregory fans will probably like it, but I'm a fence-rider with her and don't feel the need to rush out and buy my own copy when it comes out in paperback. 

Date Posted: 9/25/2008 2:10 PM ET
Member Since: 5/27/2005
Posts: 2,438
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Marci - enjoyed reading your 'take' on The Other Queen.  It's one I'm in no hurry to read, but like you I'm more interested in Bess of Hardwick.  Are you aware that there is a novel with that title by Mary Lovell who wrote The Sisters, about the Mitford family.  That was a fascinating book and I've got Bess of Hardwick on my wish list.

Date Posted: 9/25/2008 3:20 PM ET
Member Since: 6/5/2007
Posts: 2,513
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I agree, Bess is a fascinating figure. Mary is too, but I think I can wait for awhile on Gregory's take on it.

Date Posted: 9/25/2008 5:37 PM ET
Member Since: 3/6/2006
Posts: 3,070
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Haven't started it yet but the 2nd of Plaidy's two books on MaryQoS deals mostly with her time as a "guest" of Bess.
Date Posted: 9/27/2008 9:04 PM ET
Member Since: 4/15/2005
Posts: 456
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Well, I posted a review of the book here (and on LibraryThing) -- short, sweet and to the point.  I know there'll be people who disagree with me, but really I wish this book had been better.  I had such great hopes.  Off to pull out my Plaidys that feature Mary Queen of Scots.