Heiress to the red rose of Lancaster, Margaret Beaufort never surrenders her belief that her House is the true ruler of England and that she has a great destiny before her. Her ambitions are disappointed when her sainted cousin, Henry VI of England, fails to recognise her as a kindred spirit, and even more when he sinks into madness. Worst of all for Margaret is when she discovers that her mother is sending her to a loveless marriage in remote Wales.
Married to a man twice her age, and a mother at only fourteen, Margaret is determined to turn her lonely life into a triumph. She sets her heart on putting her son Henry on the throne of England regardless of the cost.
Disregarding rival heirs and the overwhelming power of the York dynasty, she sends Henry into exile and pledges him in marriage to the daughter of her enemy Elizabeth Woodville. She feigns loyalty to the usurper King Richard III, marries one of his faithful supporters and then masterminds one of the greatest rebellions of the time - all the while knowing that her son is growing to manhood, recruiting an army, his eye on the greatest prize.
...... From the inner front cover.
FIRST SENTENCE: The light of the open sky is brilliant after the darkness of the inner rooms.
MEMORABLE MOMENT: I am twelve years old; but still a little girl, my chest as flat as a board, my body hairless beneath my thick layers of rich clothes. They had to pack my bodice with linen to give the impression of breasts. I am a child sent out to do a woman's duty.
The second book in the Cousin's War series, I found this a much better read then part 1, The White Queen.
I know there are those out there who dislike Philippa Gregory as an author but I adore her books, especially her historical novels (yes, she has also written some 'modern' novels) which I confess have taught me more about our Royal family than I ever learnt in O' level history. Authentic and obviously well researched I love the way she combines fictional characters with people who actually existed.
As in most of her books, The red Queen centres on a woman, Margaret Beaufort, who I started out liking and feeling sorry for only to end up positively disliking. I mean who could not feel sorry for a young girl who at twelve years of age is forced into marriage to a man much, much older than herself.
Yes, Margaret has a hard life with a mother who, to modern sensibilities, is thoroughly awful, seemingly totally lacking in compassion, and yet by the end of the book we come to realise that Margaret herself is just as determined and equally callous.
If you like historical novels that paint a realistic picture of how life must have been for women of noble birth then you will enjoy The Red Queen which, in my humble opinion, is one of the best books Gregory has written.
Purchased through Amazon, this novel was a gift.