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"The Queen's Fool" by Philippa Gregory


    Another Tudor-Era fantasy by the author of "The Other Boleyn Girl"; the narrative of the story is in first-person told by an interesting young female character. Hannah Verde (or Green, in English) is the daughter of a Marrano book dealer running from the Spanish Inquisition during the reigns of Edward and later Mary I. After his wife was burned as a heretic in Spain, the father and daughter (for her protection, dressed as a boy) flee across Europe to settle in England. Hannah has visions (Hannah is probably suffering from PTSD, after the sudden capture and execution of her beloved Mother). She sees a glowing white Angel behind Sir Robert Dudley when he arrives at her father's shop; she is "begged a fool" by him and made a retainer. Eventually, her visions and common sense take her to the inner-circle of Queen Mary's Court. Mary assigns her as an intermediary with her sister, Princess (later Queen) Elizabeth. She finds herself up to her ears in Courtly plots. She is like a "fly on the wall" in the interesting places of those times.
    And, she has a boyfriend, too. Her father as arranged for her to eventually marry a young Jewish doctor who is not enthusiastic about Hannah's life at Court. They are on-again, off-again through much of the book, he wants a traditional wife, Hannah is 400 years too early for feminism and cross-dressing; because of her gift, she is able to talk back to the high nobility of England with no punishment.
    The book was readable, I wish there was more about the way of life of the secret Jewish people who blended in to society in public, but kept their faith in private. One character, John Dee, an early English scientist used fictional Hannah to foretell the future. I googled him to learn more about his historic alchemy and obsidian mirror he used like a crystal ball.

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