Friday, November 02, 2012

The Red Queen

The Red Queen. Philippa Gregory. 2010. Touchstone. 432 pages.

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

It has been a few years since I read the White Queen by Philippa Gregory, and while I remember enjoying it, I don't remember loving it. At least not enthusiastically. I found The Red Queen to be compelling and fascinating, a surprisingly quick read! The heroine of this one is Margaret Beaufort (aka Margaret Tudor, Margaret Stafford, Margaret Stanley); she may perhaps be better known simply as the mother of Henry VII, and the grandmother of Henry VIII. Like the White Queen, The Red Queen is set during the mid-fifteenth century during the War of Roses. Margaret is loyal to Lancaster. And her first marriage--arranged when she was just a child and consummated when she was still so very young--resulted in the birth of a son, the male heir in the House of Lancaster. That is if Henry VI and Margaret of Anjou's own son Prince Edward, died, Henry Tudor would be the next Lancaster heir to the throne. But when the Yorks prevail and take the throne, Margaret's dreams are put on hold indefinitely--though never, ever forgotten. She will have her son on the throne, she will if it's the last thing she ever does, she'll see her son established on the throne of England. 

The Red Queen is told almost exclusively from the Lancaster side of the war. Readers meet Margaret, her two Tudor husbands Edmund and Jasper, her son Henry, her next two husbands Henry Stafford and Thomas Stanley. In addition to briefly meeting other historical figures like Elizabeth Woodville, Elizabeth of York, etc. Of course, Richard III enters into the picture, but, perhaps with the exception of the big, big battle scene, he's more someone the other characters talk about, gossip about, plot against, etc. This is without a doubt the Lancaster side of the story. 

I definitely found this one fascinating. I just could not put it down!!! True, the first chapter or two were slow for me, but, things quickly changed. I would definitely recommend this one to those who love historical fiction.

Read The Red Queen
  • If you enjoy historical fiction
  • If you enjoy reading about royals
  • If you enjoy this time period, the War of Roses

© 2012 Becky Laney of Becky's Book Reviews


Brittany said...

I am currently reading one of Philippa's novels called 'The Boleyn Inheritance' and its really really good and I saw the Red Queen but I was going to get done with the others that I have so I can review them

Abigail@The Story Factory Reading Zone said...

I recently came across a review I once did of The White Queen. I seem to have enjoyed it a lot, but don't really remember reading it now. Maybe I should try The Red Queen, as I seem to have had a similar experience to you.