"The Queen's Fool" by Philippa Gregory
4 out of 5 Stars
Although Philippa Gregory does a fair amount of research, she does take a lot more liberties than some of my other favorite historical fiction novelists. However, I quite enjoyed this book and it kept my attention most of the time.
Hannah Green is hiding as a Catholic (she is a Jew) during the tenuous reign of Queen Mary. Hannah has "the sight" and has been accepted not only at the court of Queen Mary, but at her rival Princess Elizabeth.
I'm certainly not a historian, but it's hard for me to believe fools of any sort, comic fools or seer fools, would have as much access and as much pull as Hannah does. She seems to be able to go anywhere and do anything. Of course, if she didn't, the book would pale.
Another thing I thought was interesting is how the burning of heretics was more or less glossed over -- the famous term "Bloody Mary" was never used. I also thought it interesting that Princess Elizabeth was portrayed as nothing more than another Anne Boleyn (and of course, she IS Anne Boleyn's child!). Some books I've read truly depict Elizabeth as a Virgin Queen and Mary nearly so.
The only time the book dragged a bit for me was when Hannah had to move back to Calais to get married. Fortunately, the story line did pick up and the "old Hannah" became evident once more.
I do enjoy Gregory's books, so pick this up if you're in for a good read.