October 06, 2008 12:00 PM

by Philippa Gregory

REVIEWED BY JOANNA POWELL

NOVEL

Fans of Gregory’s Tudor novels (The Other Boleyn Girl) await a new one like a box of decadent, mouth-watering bonbons. Her latest features the mercurial, oversexed Mary Queen of Scots. Set during Mary’s imprisonment under orders of her cousin Queen Elizabeth, the story roils with secret schemes, treasonous plots and coded messages stuffed in shoe heels. Mary’s “hostess,” Bess of Hardwick, is nearly ruined by the exiled queen’s narcissism—including her insistence on 32-course meals and her seduction of Bess’s husband. Mary’s hell-bent assuredness and ability to turn men into pudding combine deliciously with brisk chapters and rich historical detail. Indulge.

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