Wednesday, April 6, 2011

The Red Queen by Philippa Gregory

From the flap: 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 fails to recognize her as a kindred spirit, and she is even more dismayed when he sinks into madness. Her mother mocks her plans, revealing that Margaret will always be burdened with the reputation of her father, one of the most famously incompetent English commanders in France. But 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, quickly widowed, 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 on the throne of England regardless of the cost to herself, to England, and even to the little boy. Disregarding rival heirs and the overwhelming power of the York dynasty, she names him Henry, like the king; sends him into exile; and pledges him in marriage to her enemy Elizabeth of York’s daughter. As the political tides constantly move and shift, Margaret charts her own way through another loveless marriage, treacherous alliances, and secret plots. She feigns loyalty to the usurper Richard III and even carries his wife’s train at her coronation. Widowed a second time, Margaret marries the ruthless, deceitful Thomas, Lord Stanley, and her fate stands on the knife edge of his will. Gambling her life that he will support her, she then masterminds one of the greatest rebellions of the time—all the while knowing that her son has grown to manhood, recruited an army, and now waits for his opportunity to win the greatest prize. In a novel of conspiracy, passion, and cold hearted ambition, number one bestselling author Philippa Gregory has brought to life the story of a proud and determined woman who believes that she alone is destined, by her piety and lineage, to shape the course of history.

First line: The light of the open sky is brilliant after the darkness of the inner rooms.

My thoughts: I read The White Queen so I just had to read The Red Queen. I have to admit here that I am not a student of this time period so I don't know much about these people. I have to say that Gregory brought this bit of history to life for me, I am an official fan. I found Lady Margaret Beaufort as fascinating as she was self absorbed and unlikeable. It was interesting following her through decades of scheming and lying as she worked and plotted to get her son on the throne. I had to laugh a couple of times as she ranted against people counting out their sins but was unable to see these very same things could be said of her. My favorite character was Henry Stafford, Margaret's sardonic, careful, and wise second husband. The book was a little confusing for me. If you like historical fiction and/or Philippa Gregory's work, I think you'll like this one.

Rating: B+

Quote:"Yes, because you think God wants your son to be King of England. I don't think your God has ever advised you otherwise. You hear only what you want. He only ever commands your preferences. He always tells you to strive for power and wealth. Are you quite sure it is not your own voice that you hear, speaking through the earthquake, wind and fire?"

Philippa Gregory Lady Margaret Beaufort


Teddyree said...

Glad you enjoyed this one, I did too despite finding Margaret Beaufort completely unlikeable!

samantha.1020 said...

I read The White Queen last year and really enjoyed it. I've been meaning to read more by this author and it sounds like I should just continue on with this series. Great review!