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Summary

Mary is queen of Scotland, but she has been forced to flee her land and take refuge in an England that is ruled by her cousin, Elizabeth. But England, precarious in its Protestant state, set against the mighty powers of Spain, France, and Rome, doesn't need a charismatic Catholic figurehead at large. So Elizabeth's chief advisor, Cecil, devises a plan in which Mary will live under guard with his trusted accomplice: Bess of Hardwick.

Bess is a self-made woman, a shrewd survivor. She is newly married to her fourth and most distinguished husband, the earl of Shrewsbury. But what marriage can withstand the charms of Mary? Or the threat of rebellion she always carries? Mary must wait in her privileged imprisonment for her return to Scotland and her infant son, but waiting is not the same as doing nothing....

With her characteristic combination of superb storytelling and authentic historical background, Philippa Gregory brings to life this period of great change in a riveting tale of betrayal, loyalty, politics, and passion.

©2008 HarperCollins Publishers (P)2015 HarperCollins Publishers

What members say

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  • Overall
    3 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
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    3 out of 5 stars

just ok

It was quite interesting but not as gripping or engaging as other of her books.

2 of 2 people found this review helpful

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    3 out of 5 stars
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    4 out of 5 stars

Not such a sink-gripper

I'm a massive fan of Dr Gregory's work - at times a gripping plot development will have me gripping the kitchen sink. The story of Mary Queen of Scots is fascinating, infuriating and tragic, but this audio book isn't No 1 on my Gregory list. Bianca Amato is an excellent reader but Ms Doninczyk's contribution was irritating. I'm sure she's an excellent actress but her French accent would do credit to Peter Sellers's Inspector Clouseau. A native French actress would probably have been a better choice, sorry! I probably won't listen to this item in my library more than once - as I normally do - I'll probably use the printed version.

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    2 out of 5 stars
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Disappointingly dull

Short chapters alternating between 3 characters, none of which are very well written. Repeating the same sentiments and even phrases throughout and never really exploring anyone in depth. The short length of the chapters makes it difficult to really get into it as the point of view is constantly changing. Nothing of significance happens for long periods of time.
As for the performances - there are some truly terrible accents going on here, which makes it a jarring listen.
I do not recommend the book, and I recommend the audiobook even less.
This doesn’t seem to be typical Philippa Gregory though so please don’t be put off her other works which are a delightful if slightly trashy slant on some fascinating historical characters and events.