The Red Queen by Philippa Gregory
My rating: 4 of 5 stars
Philippa Gregory has done it again! She never ceases to amaze me with her historical interpretation of the English monarchy. It is apparent that she has researched well her subjects, yet rather than reading like a history book, her novels read like fiction, full of intrigue, betrayals, mystery, and colorful characters both to like and dislike.
I listened to this book on audio while making a fairly long trip. Some worried it might put me to sleep as I listened and drove, but it did quite the opposite. It kept me on the edge of my seat anxious for what would come next, even knowing what happens in the end from basic world history classes. I'm fascinated with Gregory's ability to make each heroine beloved to the reader, so while the reader may dislike a character when reading one book, when written from the much-maligned character's point of view, the reader has turned her coat for the new hero or heroine. I wasn't sure I wanted to read this book as I read The White Queen and The White Princess skipping over this and two other books. I am thankful I was able to read this one, and the fact that I read them out of order did not make it any less exciting.
Margaret Beaufort, heiress to the House of Lancaster, an overly pious woman, is the central character of The Red Queen. With dreams of following the path of Joan of Arc, she finds at a young age that her role in the history of the world is not to be martyrdom, but to be the mother of the first Tudor King, the one who can unite the Houses of York and Lancaster. She never gives up her belief that her only son, Henry, is the true heir to the throne, a throne that will give her more power than even the King himself. I found myself cheering for her.
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