27 Feb 2017

THREE SISTERS, THREE QUEENS.

THREE SISTERS, THREE QUEENS by PHILIPPA GREGORY.

INNER FRONT COVER BLURB: There is only one bond that I trust: between a woman and her sisters. We never take our eyes off each other. In love and in rivalry, we always think of each other.

When Katherine of Aragon is brought to the Tudor court as a young bride, the oldest princess, Margaret, takes her measure.  With one look, each knows the other for a rival, an ally, a pawn, destined – with Margaret’s younger sister Mary – to a sisterhood unique in all the world. The three sisters will become the queens of England, Scotland and France.

United by family loyalties and affections, the three queens find themselves set against each other. Katherine commands an army against Margaret and kills her husband, James IV of Scotland. But Margaret’s boy becomes heir to the Tudor throne when Katherine loses her son. Mary steals the widowed Margaret’s proposed husband, but when Mary is widowed it is her secret marriage for love that is the envy of the others.

As they experience betrayals, dangers, loss and passion, the three sisters find that the only constant in their perilous lives is their special bond, more powerful than any man, even a king.

FIRST SENTENCE {BAYNARD'S CASTLE, LONDON, ENGLAND, NOVEMBER 1501}: I am to wear white and green, as a Tudor princess.

MEMORABLE MOMENT {PAGE 295}: The horse bucks, its trappings flapping, its reins trailing; the knight lies still, obviously winded, perhaps worse. Grooms in their blue damask catch the horse, squires in their blue satin run to the knight. They open his visor, his head lolls.

SOURCE: A gift from Mr T purchased from BookPeople.

READ FOR:  2017 Mount TBR Reading Challenge (8th of 24 books read).

MY THOUGHTS: Though published recently, this is in fact the continuation of the Tudor Court* novels which began with The Constant Princess (first published 2005).

The first Philippa Gregory in a long while that I have truly enjoyed from start to finish. In Three Queens, Three Sisters the author weaves a complex and yet totally compelling story of the political and social life during the Tudor era in a way that I haven't savoured in in quite a while. 

Of course its historical fiction (and therefore open to poetical licence) which along with the fact that not many biographies exist of Margaret, sister of Henry VIII and Dowager Queen of Scotland, (whose story it firstly and foremostly is) makes it very difficult to know just how accurate the portrayal is BUT seemingly well researched, Margaret comes across as a remarkably strong if not particularly likeable woman.

Though full of jealousies (many of them petty) towards the other queens of the title, her younger sister, Mary and her sister-in-law, Katherine of Aragon (or Katherine of arrogant as she refers to her), often petulant, capable of changing loyalties at the drop of a hat and yet here portrayed as something of an early feminist, Margaret essentially comes across as a woman doing the best she could.

The only thing to put me off slightly. Not a fan of the 'letter' format of writing a book to begin with, printed in italics I struggled to read the correspondence written between the three sisters. 


* See the series explained here along with a review of the fifth book in the series, The Taming Of The Queen.

16 comments:

Barbara Fisher said...

I do enjoy a good historical fiction, and this sounds like a very good one. I’ve not read anything by Philippa Gregory in ages so it must be time I did.

Kelly said...

Having just read The Red Queen, I know I would enjoy this one. Someday I'd like to read all her Tudor books.

Gina R said...

Good grief, it's contagious! (The irony of us both have letter-ish books today...😁) Glad you enjoyed it though in spite of it all!

Yvonne@fiction-books said...

Hi Tracy,

I haven't read any of Philippa's tudor series, as to be perfectly honest, they have never really appealed to me.

However, as this story has the three main protagonists, with all the inherent emotions, loyalties and jealousies of sisters and rivals, it sounds much more interesting and readable - quite a complex and intricate plot for sure.

I haven't read many stories written in letter or diary form, however I could quite see myself giving it a try with this book.

Thanks for sharing and Happy Reading for the rest of the week :)

Yvonne

Suko said...

Tracy,
I'm glad you found this compelling, even though the italics were somewhat troublesome for you. Wonderful review, as usual!

Natasha Hill said...

I've never read a Philippa Gregory novel, but I do like historical fiction so I should try to pick up some of her books and have a go as I reckon I'd quite like them, and your reviews on them are encouraging too! I do find the Tudor period very interesting and scandalous, so I should try to keep my eyes peeled for these. Great review! - Tasha

Stephanie@Fairday's Blog said...

The books I read that were part of this series were the ones I liked the best by Gregory, so I am excited that this one is part of it. :) I enjoyed your review and look forward to checking it out. Thanks for sharing.

nightwingsraven said...

Tracy,
I love historical fiction. And I would
definitely apprecriate the points of
view of the three queens and their bond.
As well as that I have always appreciated
Katherine of Aragon. And I have added the
book to my list.
Raven

Brian Joseph said...

This entire series looks interesting. I find the history of this period fascinating. I also tend to like letters incorporated into fictional stories.

I would read the books in order. I am stickler for that :)

Sherry Ellis said...

It sounds like a good historical fiction. I can't say I'm a fan of the letter format, either, but I'm glad it didn't deter you from reading the book.

kimbacaffeinate said...

I don't think I have read this author, but do enjoy a good romp during the Tudor era. Great review, and thanks for the quotes.

Melissa (Books and Things) said...

Sometimes I really like the letter format so I think this is a go for me. I still need to read a book by this author and I do think I'll add it to my must read list.

Melliane said...

I always like when we have letters and all so I confess that it makes me curious

So many books, so little time said...

I don't mind the letter format depending on how it comes across, I have a few by this author on my TBR but haven't read them yet. Historical fiction is never my first choice but I have to admit the few I have read I have enjoyed.

Lainy http://www.alwaysreading.net

Alexia561 said...

While Philippa Gregory isn't my type of author, I do have a fondness for King Henry VIII and the women he loved. I also like the letter format of writing, so may have to see if my library has a copy. Thanks for the recommendation!

The Bookworm said...

I used to read and enjoy several of Philippa Gregory's Tudor books and this one sounds good. I'll have to keep this in mind.