The Queen's Fool by Philippa Gregory
My rating: 3 of 5 stars
Hannah flees Spain with her Father when her Mother is burned as a heretic. Disguised as her Father's apprentice Robert Dudley begs her as a Fool for King Edward. John Dudley (Robert's Father) rules England as Edward lies dying. In an attempt to prolong his rule of England John marries his younger son Lord Guildford Dudley (as Robert was already married to Amy) to Lady Jane Grey, the King Edward's Protestant heir to the throne. Robert sends Hannah to Mary to spy on her.
Mary becomes Queen and keeps Hannah in her service. Robert is kept in the tower, but John and Guildford Dudley along with Jane Grey are executed. When Mary chooses to marry Prince Philip of Spain the English people turn against her, and when her pregnancy proves to be false her popularity further falls. When Mary brings the Inquisition to England Hannah is terrified, but agrees to stay with Elizabeth who expects to be executed any day. Hannah's Father, her fiancee Daniel and his family flee to Calais. Daniel promises to come when Hannah sends for him. Elizabeth manages to enchant Prince of Spain, King Regent of England Philip and wins her freedom, but Hannah stays on at court until she is arrested for heresy. John Dee who managed to become Bishop Bonner's secretary after his own arrest for treason manages to free her. Terrified for her life Hannah send for Daniel and goes to Calais with him. They live together somewhat happily except for the Mother in law from hell until her Mother in law reveals that Daniel has a son by another woman that he goes to visit on the days he is supposedly working late. Hannah leaves her husband and opens a bookstore with her Father. Her Father soon dies from a growth in his belly, but Hannah refuses to return to Daniel.
The French invade Calais. Robert Dudley is leading the English troops and when he sees Hannah gives her his ring so she can board his ship and safely return to England. Hannah sees Daniel's mistress moments before she is killed by French soldiers and she gives Daniel's son (also named Daniel) into Hannah's care. Robert takes Hannah and the boy to England with him and sends her to the countryside with his wife Amy. Robert eventually brings Hannah back to court to spy on Mary, who is supposedly again pregnant. Again there is no child. Mary sickens and dies, Elizabeth who is besotted with Robert becomes Queen and Hannah is reunited with Daniel.
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