Monday 22 February 2021

'The Queen's Fool', written by Ally Sherrick and reviewed by Pippa Goodhart

‘The Queen’s Fool’ by award-winning children’s historical story writer Ally Sherrick takes the children’s historical novel genre into new territory in more than one way.


The setting for this story is Henry the Eighth’s England and then over the channel to France for the show-off spectacular Field Of cloth Of Gold summit between the King, Queen Katherine, and King Francis the First of France and his wife. Jousting, feasting, entertainments and more within a tented city of golden cloth and illusions … and a plot to kill Henry! Into this setting come a pair of child character, each with their own very personal mission.


The child character we meet first is Cat, who determines to follow her sister when she is snatched from their orphanage home with nuns. Cat is different from the traditional child hero of fiction. She’s called a ‘half-wit’, and ‘idiot’, and she understands her world very literally and simply. She’s caring and loyal, and she sings and flutes so prettily that Queen Katherine takes her on as her Fool. Cat tells her own side of the story, giving us a wonderfully fresh and different voice as she observes her world and longs for her sister.


Cat’s first person telling of events takes turns with the more wordly view of ‘Jacques’. Jacques is a French boy, aristocratic, bold, fierce and kind … and maybe not all that he first seems.


I’m not going to give spoilers, but suffice it to say that the plot is full of intrigue, action, surprises, and all very satisfactory. I love the fresh writing and fresh viewpoints. 


Ally Sherrick gives us a historical afterword that tells which bits of this story are based on truth, which imagined. This becomes a story to draw children into more interest in history.



Sue Purkiss said...

Sounds intriguing!

Penny Dolan said...

Looking forward to reading this very much!

Ally Sherrick said...

What a lovely review! Thank you so much, Pippa. I'm delighted you enjoyed reading it x

Anne Booth said...

Sounds great!