14 Nov 2010


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.


Misha1989 said...

I love Philippa Gregory. Its because of her I started reading historical fiction. I have both The White Queen and The Red Queen - I just haven't read them yet. But your review makes me want to read them both. Thanks !

Kelly said...

My daughter has read more of Gregory's books than I have, but I hope to catch up with her at some point. I read Wideacre years ago, but haven't read any of her others. I need to because I know I'll love them.

Good review!

chitra said...

I liked the story It is like rajah - rani stories of India.

SG said...

Nice review. Certianly buy this book. I love reaeding historical novels.

Oddyoddyo13 said...

Funny how you love books even if the main character isn't quite likable! I wasn't too thrilled about the sound of her either. Thanks for the review! :)

Ashlie Swainston said...

I've read none of Gregory's books but have been very curious about this one in particular. I'm glad you gave it a good review, I need to add my historical fiction to my library.

Thank you!

Ashlie @Bookish Novelties

naida said...

This is one of my favorite authors.
Glad to hear you enjoyed this one. I have this series in my TBR.


A said...

Perfect review. Thanks

Sheila (Bookjourney) said...

I really enjoy Philippa Gregory's historical reads - I have yet to read these two but I want too!

NabilaHazirah said...

Great review. This book seems like an adventure!


Jenny said...

I really enjoyed reading The Other Boleyn Girl but I haven't read either this one or The White Queen. They sound fabulous and I think I need to give them a try since I enjoy her writing style overall. Glad to know you think this is one of her best!

GMR said...

Hmm...never read this series, but not surprising as I don't usualy gravitate to historical fiction. Glad to see that this one was enjoyable for you though! Happy reading...

Alison said...

I've only read on Philippa book, but I really liked it. I get the feeling that it's not too historically accurate, but it's very interesting.