Monday, October 11, 2010

philippa gregory's red queen

I do love reading about the Tudors and when I found Philippa Gregory's latest book about the families that immediately preceded the Tudors to the throne of England, I knew I would be entertained.  The War of the Roses was an interesting period in English history. Related by blood, marriage and political alliances, these factions fought on all fronts for the ultimate prize.  Margaret Beaufort, a Lancaster by birth and a Tudor by her first marriage, gives birth to a son. The culmination of two lines and an obvious choice for the throne, Henry must wait for the perfect situation to present itself.  His mother helps that situation become reality. Gregory takes some poetic license in the novel and lays the blame for the Two Princes death in the Tower at Beaufort's doorstep. To this day no one knows for sure who killed the two boys.

It is difficult to create a protagonist who isn't easy to like and who isn't even sympathetic. She does a great job with Beaufort. The coldness of political marriage, the icy ambition, the calculation and scheming, are all supported by the wonderful character development she does with Margaret. She has Margaret fancy herself as an English Joan of Arc who is tasked by God to bring about the monarchy of her son, Henry. 

Gregory is one of the current masters at creating very readable and entertaining historical fiction and she does it yet again in "The Red Queen."

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