Monday, April 25, 2011

The Red Queen by Philippa Gregory

Having fictionalized Elizabeth Woodville in The White Queen (2009), royal chronicler Gregory now turns to Henry VIII's other indomitable grandmother. The opposite of her alluring Yorkist rival, plain Lancastrian heiress Margaret Beaufort grows up knowing women are useful only for bearing sons, but divine visions grant her an unwavering conviction about her future greatness. At age 12, she weds Lancastrian warrior Edmund Tudor and pours her ambition into his posthumous son, Henry. Constantly separated from her beloved child after her second marriage to a pacifist knight, her frustrations are palpably felt; she later brokers her own union with a crafty turncoat who may be the key to her hopes. While England seethes with discord during the turbulent Wars of the Roses, Margaret's transformation from powerless innocent to political mastermind progresses believably as rival heirs to England's throne are killed in battle, executed, or deliberately eliminated. With constant pronouncements about Margaret's God-given destiny, the approach isn't exactly subtle, but Gregory's vivid, confident storytelling makes this devout and ruthlessly determined woman a worthy heroine for her time.


Even though this book has been sitting on my shelf since its release I never got around to reading it. Last week while at the library I found the audio of it, so it came home with me. I so enjoyed listening to this book. It felt like Margaret Beaufort was sitting with me telling her story. The story was a good, though I did get tired of hearing Margaret's whinning, her 'woe is me' got to be a bit much.

All in all a good listen, and I am looking forward to next 2 in this series.


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