Book Review :: The Other Queen by Philippa Gregory

The sixth and final book in Gregory’s Tudor series The Other Queen tells the tale of Mary, Queen of Scots, imprisonment in the home of George and Bess Shrewsbury.  Mary is the daughter of Henry VIII’s sister and is viewed as the true heir to the English throne – in blood and in religion.  She has plotted to take the throne from Elizabeth and has finally been caught.  Even in captivity, she masterminds and inspires rebellions and plans, which eventually leads to her demise.

Unfortunately, that’s all you need to know about the book.  Gregory attempts to add color to the story by illustrating the entrepreneurial spirit of Bess, who has successfully changed her status, repeatedly, in life, starting as a farm lady and landing at countess.  Gregory also focuses on the forbidden, unrequited and incredibly awkward love that George develops for his prisoner, Mary.  George and Bess have marital issues.  Things are uncomfortable.

Even worse, Mary is insufferable.  Her “holier than thou” attitude mixed with her pompous delivery just made me want to fast forward to the part when she gets executed.  Gregory doesn’t even make an attempt to make her a likable character.  Or if she did, I missed it.  Most of the time, I was thinking, “I know Elizabeth executes her.  Can we just get to that part?”

My OCD required that I finish this book and thus the series.  I feel like I should get an award for struggling through this one.  There were multiple pages in this book that could have been eliminated entirely.  Where was Gregory’s editor?  This book was lazily written, frequently repeating story points or just… rambling.  My best assumption is Gregory wanted to finish out the Tudor line and hastily put this book to market.

Anyways, read it if you want, I know I’ve made it sound awesome!  But my suggestion is you skip this one all together. Get it here.

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