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The Queen's Fool

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The Queen's Fool Cover

ISBN13: 9780743246071
ISBN10: 0743246071
Condition: Standard
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Reading Group Guide

Touchstone

Reading Group Guide

The Queen's Fool

1. What kind of tone does the novel's opening scene instantly set, and what does it tell us up front about Hannah's and Elizabeth's characters? If you've read other fictional accounts of Elizabeth's life, how does this portrayal of her compare?

2. In public, Hannah plays the fool to Mary's queen, but in private their bond is more intimate. Why is the relationship valuable to each of them, both personally and politically? How is Hannah's connection to Elizabeth different?

3. Hannah is smitten with Robert Dudley from the moment she spots him in her doorway, an angel at his shoulder. How would you describe the bond that develops between them — and how does it change over time?

4. What are the advantages and disadvantages of being the queen's fool instead of a normal courtier?

5. Haunted by the Spanish Inquisition, Hannah describes her Judaism as "some sickness that we pass on," claiming that Jews are condemned to "a lifetime of fear, not Chosen so much as cursed." How do her feelings toward her faith change over the course of the story and why?

6. In the grip of her Sight, Hannah delivers this prophecy: "There will be a child, but no child. There will be a king but no king. There will be a virgin queen all-forgotten. There will be a queen but no virgin....[Dudley] will die, beloved by a queen, safe in his bed." Ultimately, how does history unravel her cryptic prediction?

7. As Mary's marriage falters and her unhappiness grows, she becomes increasingly obsessed with restoring the glory of the Catholic Church through the fires of an English inquisition. Given that Hannah's own mother was killed in just such a fire, how is she able to justify Mary's bloody reign? Did you sympathize with her unswerving loyalty?

8. What changes in both Hannah and Daniel allow their initially contentious relationship to blossom into love? Did you agree with Hannah's decision to leave him when she discovers another woman has borne his child?

9. How does King Henry VIII's dishonorable treatment of Catherine of Aragon continue to affect England even years after their deaths? Why is Mary driven to convert all of England back to Catholicism?

10. Poised to burn books that could condemn her and her father as heretics, Hannah stays her hand, explaining, "If I burned them I was no better than the Inquisition which had killed my mother. If I burned them, I became as one of those who think that ideas are dangerous and should be destroyed." What would you have done in her place? In a world where knowledge was very dangerous, how does Hannah's Sight make her both powerful and vulnerable?

11. What is your estimation of Dudley's character? Do you think he is a true friend to Hannah?

12. Why does Hannah cling to the boyish dress of the fool for so long? Why is she so afraid to become a woman, and what finally inspires her transformation?

13. At the end of her life, Mary finds herself in the place she has most feared: She is a forgotten queen, cast aside by her husband and her people, overthrown in their hearts by a Boleyn girl, just as her mother was. Do you think that this end was her destiny? Are there other paths she might have chosen that would have led her to a long and happy reign?

14. If you're familiar with Elizabeth's history, discuss how the events in this novel foreshadow both what is to come in her reign as queen and in her relationship with Robert Dudley.

What Our Readers Are Saying

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Average customer rating based on 4 comments:

bookgirl94, January 13, 2011 (view all comments by bookgirl94)
Another amazing book by Philippa Gregory, the characters are interesting and full of depth.
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patbaka, February 19, 2010 (view all comments by patbaka)
Historical novels usually have little appeal to me but after recieving this as a gift and starting to read it I actually found it to be a page turner. It is long but so interesting and refreshing to follow a young girls life in the 1500's. I really enjoyed this novel and suggest all readers try at least one of Philippa Gregory's bestsellers.
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(1 of 1 readers found this comment helpful)
lindenslilly, December 23, 2007 (view all comments by lindenslilly)
This is another beautifully written book by Philippa Gregory. The story touches on religious conflict, marital conflict, and the emotional struggle for a woman’s self fulfillment in the midst of political danger and court intrigue. It is elegant and rich where so many other historical fiction novelists are transparent and forced.
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(6 of 12 readers found this comment helpful)
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Product Details

ISBN:
9780743246071
Author:
Gregory, Philippa
Publisher:
Touchstone Books
Location:
New York
Subject:
Great britain
Subject:
History
Subject:
Historical - General
Subject:
Romance - Historical
Subject:
Historical fiction
Subject:
Kings and rulers
Subject:
Jewish families
Subject:
Jewish fiction.
Subject:
Jewish girls
Subject:
General Fiction
Subject:
General Fiction
Subject:
Historical
Subject:
Phillippa; Phillipa; Queen Mary; Bloody Mary; Queen Elizabeth; Tudor Court; England; Henry VIII; Hannah Green; Robert Dudley; King Edward; Gift of Sight; Seeing; Seer; Psychic; Magic; Political Intrigue; Jewish; Morano; Jew; Heretics; Burned Alive
Subject:
Phillippa; Phillipa; Queen Mary; Bloody Mary; Queen Elizabeth; Tudor Court; England; Henry VIII; Hannah Green; Robert Dudley; King Edward; Gift of Sight; Seeing; Seer; Psychic; Magic; Political Intrigue; Jewish; Morano; Jew; Heretics; Burned Alive; The Wh
Subject:
Phillippa; Phillipa; Queen Mary; Bloody Mary; Queen Elizabeth; Tudor Court; England; Henry VIII; Hannah Green; Robert Dudley; King Edward; Gift of Sight; Seeing; Seer; Psychic; Magic; Political Intrigue; Jewish; Morano; Jew; Heretics; Burned Alive; The Wh
Subject:
Phillippa; Phillipa; Queen Mary; Bloody Mary; Queen Elizabeth; Tudor Court; England; Henry VIII; Hannah Green; Robert Dudley; King Edward; Gift of Sight; Seeing; Seer; Psychic; Magic; Political Intrigue; Jewish; Morano; Jew; Heretics; Burned Alive; The Wh
Subject:
Phillippa; Phillipa; Queen Mary; Bloody Mary; Queen Elizabeth; Tudor Court; England; Henry VIII; Hannah Green; Robert Dudley; King Edward; Gift of Sight; Seeing; Seer; Psychic; Magic; Political Intrigue; Jewish; Morano; Jew; Heretics; Burned Alive; The Wh
Copyright:
Edition Description:
B102
Series Volume:
108-341
Publication Date:
February 2004
Binding:
TRADE PAPER
Grade Level:
General/trade
Language:
English
Pages:
512
Dimensions:
8 x 5.25 x 1 in 14.77 oz

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Fiction and Poetry » Romance » Historical

The Queen's Fool Used Trade Paper
0 stars - 0 reviews
$2.95 In Stock
Product details 512 pages Touchstone Books - English 9780743246071 Reviews:
"Synopsis" by , In this eagerly awaited sequel to The Other Boleyn Girl, readers return to Tudor England, where the offspring of Henry VIII ascend to the throne amid treason, poisonous rivalries, accusations of heresy, and unrequited love.
"Synopsis" by , A young woman caught in the rivalry between Queen Mary and her half sister, Elizabeth, must find her true destiny amid treason, poisonous rivalries, loss of faith, and unrequited love.

It is winter, 1553. Pursued by the Inquisition, Hannah Green, a fourteen-year-old Jewish girl, is forced to flee Spain with her father. But Hannah is no ordinary refugee. Her gift of "Sight," the ability to foresee the future, is priceless in the troubled times of the Tudor court. Hannah is adopted by the glamorous Robert Dudley, the charismatic son of King Edward's protector, who brings her to court as a "holy fool" for Queen Mary and, ultimately, Queen Elizabeth. Hired as a fool but working as a spy; promised in wedlock but in love with her master; endangered by the laws against heresy, treason, and witchcraft, Hannah must choose between the safe life of a commoner and the dangerous intrigues of the royal family that are inextricably bound up in her own yearnings and desires.

Teeming with vibrant period detail and peopled by characters seamlessly woven into the sweeping tapestry of history, The Queen's Fool is another rich and emotionally resonant gem from this wonderful storyteller.

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