To me, Philippa Gregory is a touchy subject. She picks interesting people to write about, but twists and exaggerates history and calls it the truth. Maybe I should start a meme called Soapbox Sunday, where I pick a book related issue and rant and rave about it. Hmm....you're up first Philippa.
Anyways, The Queen's Fool focuses on a young Spanish Jewish girl named Hannah who emigrates to England and through a small series of events begins working as a fool for Edward VI (supposedly she's funny, I never saw it.) So obviously, if you know the history, Edward doesn't last long as King, so Hannah is now Mary I's fool. Some other things happen (some grisly murders, a marriage, lots of crying, etc), but by the end of the book I was bored. I was sick of Hannah Green and wished that she would die in a fire. Maybe then the book would jump up a notch on the awesome scale.
If you are a firm Bloody Mary hater and despise everything about her, just read this book and you will immediately change your mind and love her. Most books I've read about her during the time of her reign describe her as old, ugly, and stubborn, not to mention a tyrant about faith (have you seen Elizabeth with Cate Blanchett? Jeez, poor Mary looks like a dwarf ogre). The Queen's Fool does not deny that she is old and ugly, especially compared to her younger sister Elizabeth, but it shows the good in her and overlooks the less than desirable qualities. I have so much more sympathy for her after this; she led a downright sad life.
For some reason, Hannah runs around in boy clothes. I don't think she wears a dress until the end of the book. So this leads me to question who the heck that person in the lovely green dress is on the cover. Hey, if Hannah can woo a husband all while wearing drag, more power to her.
However, the main problem I have with this book is that Hannah had key roles in some major events during that time: she worked for Robert Dudley, and was close friends with both Mary and Elizabeth......pretty impressive FOR SOMEONE THAT DIDN'T EXIST. That's just stretching a fiction story too far.
Do I recommend this book? Maybe. If you like whiny girls and descriptions of people being impaled, go for it.