Review: The Red Queen, The Cousins' War Book Two by Philippa Gregory
Title: The Red Queen
Author: Philippa Gregory
Publisher: Touchstone, Simon and Schuster June 2011
Labels: British Monarchy, British History, The Red Rose of the Lancaster's, 15th Century, England, Historical Fiction
Rating: 4 Stars
The main character and narrator of the story is Margaret Beaufort, born 1441 or 1443 and died 1509.
When the book begins Margaret Beaufort is nine years old. Her infamous father is dead. Her unaffectionate mother arranges a marriage between Margaret and an older Edmund Tudor. The Tudor brothers Edmund and Jasper live in remote Wales. When Margaret is twelve she is sent to live with Edmund. Marriage is difficult for pious Margaret, she would have rather lived in an Abbey. The sex act is atrocious and painful for her. The horrifying act does produce a son, the future Henry VII. From the beginning of The Red Queen, even at a young age Margaret felt she was destined for something great. She felt God had called her to something special. The Red Queen tells not only the story of Margaret Beaufort, but of the Lancaster and York families, the War of the Roses, Henry Tudor's early years, the self-serving political scandals and intrigue, the young prince's in the tower, Sir Henry Stafford, Thomas Stanley the 1st Earl of Derby, Earl of Warwick and his daughter's, the role of women, childbirth, and barbarism of war.
1. As a young girl Margaret was annoying in her presumptuous, haughty-type attitude. Maybe this was a common attitude for a royal heir. I did have pity for her. Her mother was not compassionate or loving. She was icy toward her daughter. Maybe this was a motivation in Margaret spending so much time praying to God, she needed to love and be loved by someone. She needed to be heard. She needed to have a mission, and to feel valid.
2. I felt the author Philippa Gregory gave an accurate voice to Margaret. As Margaret grew, the author was able to follow through with her from childhood, to youth, to young adult, to older woman. The transition was fluid.
3. Margaret was a dimensional character. She was hard-headed, single-minded, pious, haughty, intelligent, perceptive, despite her own mother and childhood--she was capable and had great love to give, responsible. She could also be calculating, deceptive, and temperamental.
4. I enjoyed (through Margaret's eyes) the history that was unfolding around her and England.
5. I'd read little information about Edmund and Jasper Tudor. I feel I understand a bit more about these close brothers.
6. I gave The Red Queen 4 stars because I felt the story was interesting, enticing, and told me (even through historical fiction) clues to the history of England before Henry VII "took" the throne.
Link @ Amazon:
I bought my copy at Barnes and Nobles on the sale table for $6.98
The White Queen, The Cousins' War is Book One