3 Sep 2015

THE KING'S CURSE.

The sixth and final book read for this years 'What's In A Name?' challenge:  A book with  the word 'Ing' in the title. I'll be posting my Wrap-Up post soon but in the meantime would lie to thank Charlie over at The Worm Hole for being such a good host.



THE KING'S CURSE by PHILIPPA GREGORY.

INNER FRONT COVER BLURB: As an heir to the Plantagenet's, Margaret is seen by the King's mother (The Red Queen) as a rival to the Tudor claim to the throne. She is buried in marriage to a Tudor supporter - Sir Richard Pole, governor of Wales - and becomes guardian to Arthur, the young Prince of Wales, and his beautiful bride, Katherine of Aragon.

But Margaret's destiny, as cousin to the queen (The White Princess), is not for a life in the shadows. Tragedy throws her into poverty and only a royal death restores her to her place at young Henry VIII's court where she becomes chief lady-in-waiting to Queen Katherine. There she watches the dominance of the Spanish queen over her husband and her tragic decline.

Amid the rapid deterioration of the Tudor court, Margaret must choose whether her allegiance is to the increasingly tyrannical Henry VIII or to her beloved queen. Caught between the old and the new, Margaret must find her own way, concealing her knowledge that an old curse cast upon all the Tudors is slowly coming true ...

FIRST SENTENCE {Westminster Palace, London, 29 November 1499 }: In the moment of waking I am innocent, my conscience clear of any wrongdoing.

MEMORABLE MOMENT {Page 90}: But I know in my heart that if God fails to call this little boy to a lifetime of holy service then I will have put my bright, loving boy in a wordless prison for life.

SOURCE: A Book People purchase.

MY THOUGHTS: A big fan of Philippa Gregory - she is my favourite author when it comes down to historical fiction - I have however had mixed thoughts about The Cousin's War books.

On the whole an enjoyable series, well researched as you'd expect from this author BUT after a good start I'm afraid I found the last two books, The Kingmaker's Daughter and The White Princess, a bit of a let down.

Back on form with this the sixth book. As entertaining as it is educational for lets not forget that whilst based in fact as the author herself admits there is a certain amount of poetic licence and imagination involved. I know I've said it before with both The Red Queen and The Lady Of The Rivers but for me The King's Curse really has been the strongest and most gripping book in the series .... so far. (I had heard rumours of a seventh book, The Last Rose, but I could be wrong.)

Largely chronicling life at the court of Henry VIII, perhaps the most famous and definitely the most notorious of English monarchs, this is the story of the last Princess of the House of York Margaret Pole/Plantagenet and what a story it is.

Spanning some forty years and the deaths of no less than four queens. The witness to the rise of an increasingly tyrannical King, this is the tale of a woman who, a potential rival to the Tudor destiny, is 'hidden in wedlock' for her own safety, a woman who finds herself both in and then out of favour with a court ruled over by a regent determined to break away from Rome.

A character I changed my mind about a hundred times, my emotions varying from a real dislike for to total empathy for and, ultimately, a great sorrow for. Whilst Margaret Pole may not have been a typical woman of her time - even as a privileged member of society she was more privileged than most - this book spells out loudly and clearly the perils of women whether it be in childbirth or as pawns, their fate in the hands of their husbands and their fathers before that or, as in this case, at the whim of a increasingly paranoid (mad?) king.  


11 comments:

Kelly said...

Having only read the first in this particular series, I'm just not sure if I want to take the time to continue on. I'm glad this one, at least, was back up to your expectations.

Congratulations on completing the challenge. I enjoyed doing it, too, and hope the criteria next year fits what is in my TBR pile or wish list again.

Brandi Kosiner said...

So interesting when an author can make you fluctuate so much on how you feel for a character

Brian Joseph said...

I have not read Gregory but her books like very interesting. I particular it sounds like she does some very good things with her characters.


This was such an intriguing period of history.

Mary (Bookfan) said...

As easy as it is to complain these days I'm glad I live now as opposed to then!! Always love your reviews.

Gina R said...

Hey, looks like we had similar genres between you and I recently, though you're a much bigger fan. I've heard great things about this author's work; glad it turned out interesting enough. Perhaps the 7th book rumor will turn into reality. Happy reading!

Sherry Ellis said...

There must've been a lot of character development for you to fluctuate so much on your feelings toward the character.

Natasha Hill said...

This sounds really cool, I really need to read some of her work finally. - Tasha

Melissa (Books and Things) said...

I still haven't read her but you aren't the only one that has highly recommended her to me. I also loved that you kept changing your mind about a character. Just sounds like fun. Brilly review!

Yvonne@fiction-books said...

Hi Tracy,

Another outstanding review, offering an honest appraisal of this book.

I have to admit that I haven't read any of the books in this series, although I did read one of Philippa's very first books 'Wideacre' from the series of the same name, and also one of her stand alone novels 'The Constant Princess'.

I liked both of the excerpts you shared from the book, although I too can't find any mention of a seventh book in the series. There is only one book on the horizon, due to be published this year 'The Taming Of The Queen', but that's a stand alone novel!

Thanks for sharing your thoughts about 'The King's Curse' and I hope that you enjoy your weekend :)

Yvonne

Stephanie@Fairday's Blog said...

I have read many of her books and enjoyed them. I think I have only read one in this series so far, so it is good to know that The King's Curse is a great read. Awesome review! :)

Bo said...

Although this is not really a genre I read, I do understand that Philippa Gregory is an exceptional author. She is an author I would certainly recommend if one were to ask about historical fiction set in Britain. They released The White Queen on Starz over here, but I didn't have Starz when it first aired, so I never tried to catch up on it.