Author Philippa Gregory, best-known for her historical novel The Other Boleyn Girl, turns her attention back two generations in The Red Queen, giving the spotlight to Margaret Beaufort, a devout Christian who dedicated her life to putting her son, Henry VII, on the throne. Narrator Bianca Amato takes Margaret from her girlhood as an aspiring nun through her lifelong obsession with regaining the English crown for the house of Lancaster with leisurely pacing and a steady tone. Meanwhile Graeme Malcolm, who takes on narration rights for a few chapters that take place on the battlefield, offers a straightforward look at the real, human toll of medieval power plays.
Margaret was the sole heir to the house of Lancaster, which waged a 30-year war the War of the Roses against the house of York for control of England. Married at 13 to Edmund Tudor, she had one son and spent the rest of her days praying that son would become king (and, certain that she was following the will of God, making calculated moves to get him there). While the book doesn’t have the romance and scandal that characterized the reign of Margaret’s grandson, Henry VIII, it offers a sweeping look at the complicated political moves of the day and the women who wielded more influence than history would give them credit for. Gregory’s Margaret is a committed mother, a devoted Lancastrian, and a passionate Catholic, and Amato performs her story with all the requisite emotions: pain at being taken from Henry; fury at the successes of the house of York; righteous, single-minded conviction of God’s will. Amato’s voice soothing and gentle makes Margaret’s ambition seem as innocent as a mother wanting her son to ace his math exam, and that makes the last-act reveal of the lengths she’ll go in the name of God and Lancaster that much more chilling. Blythe Copeland
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.
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"Nobody does the Tudors better than Gregory (The Other Boleyn Girl), so it should come as no surprise that her latest—the War of the Roses as seen through the eyes of Henry VII's mother —is confident, colorful, convincing, and full of conflict, betrayal, and political maneuvering....[L]ike Margaret Beaufort, Gregory puts her many imitators to shame by dint of unequalled energy, focus, and unwavering execution." (Publishers Weekly)
I have always thought Margaret Beaufort warranted an historical novel, her life cannot have been easy, she lived through some pretty interesting times and survived and saw her son become king . But I have to say that in this novel she is a most unlikeable character, rather whiney and clueless, my sympathies were not with her. There are in fact few likeable characters in this novel at all, none with much depth. Most of the players do not even get onto the stage, instead there is a lot of her bemoaning her fate. I did listen to the whole thing, and the narration was ok, but this is not what I had hoped.
The central character was so whiny I could barely stand it. Not much depth to the story or the characters. Move on there are so many other wonderful books out there.
I discovered the joy of audiobooks several years ago when I got a job which is a 45 min drive one way. It continued to keep me mostly sane.
I like a lot of what Gregory writes and I have really enjoyed the series, The Cousins War. The Red Queen answers many questions about Henry VII, his origins and his fight to take the crown of England. I found all of this very interesting and of course the narration is perfect.
Margaret Beaufort, the mother of Henry VII was single minded to the point of madness. Every move she made, every thought she had was to put her son on the thrown. What is hard to stomach is the hypocrisy in her belief that she was doing God's will and of course God's will always agreed with hers. She is so blind to everything but what she perceives as God's/her will, that she never sees her hypocrisy and her own sin. Her pride and her need to be recognized as "My Lady, the King's Mother" no matter who it hurts or what havoc it creates is truly breathtaking.
It makes her that rare main character that it is nearly impossible to like or sympathize with. It is a tribute to Phillipa Gregory that the story is still fascinating and very entertaining. Gregory does an immense amount of research and my own research agrees with much of hers. Many of the royal traditions in England today are a direct result of Margaret Beaufort's edicts in order to make her son's reign more legitimate than any other at that time. I highly recommend the book, but don't expect to love the main character.
I am glad i did not pay attention to some of the negative reviews that this book got. It was just as exciting as the first and I got a look at the story from a different point of view. I hated Lady Margret from beginning to end and I cant wait to find out what will become of her. Love this great series.
Definitely. The story was tight and the character was brilliant.
The White Queen, which is the story of Katherine Woodville, the other side of the cousin's war.
When it's pointed out to Margaret Beaufort that perhaps the reason that she is so close to God is because when she prays, God conveniently tells her to do whatever it is that she wanted to do in the first place.
Margaret Beaufort, the (pro?) tagonist.
What an unforgettable character! That the whole English speaking world was altered irrevocably by this force of nature is breathtaking. The ways that she convinces herself that she'd doing God's bidding is intriguing.
I am really not in to romance.. I like historic writing the are fiction but follow closely to historic time lines.
She was a wee bit insane.
Her second husband. Poor man, she was pushy
I think the White Queen was a better story but without the Red Queen it would lose its Rival.
The second in the series and my first thought is these women were not Red or White Queens but drama queens. Both women focus on their plight in life never realizing they are better off than most of the women of their time. That is not to agree things were nasty and rough but the dwelling on their hardships bogs the story. The Red Queen is sure she is serving God, even when husband #3 comments,"it is interesting God always wants the same thing you want.' The White Queen is the mother of Henry Tutor so the outcome of the story is not the question. The backbiting process of achieveing the historical result is the story. This is not one of those books where a reader can eagerly read the last chapter. Another interesting twist is parts of this listen echo the events from The White Queen only from the other woman's point of view. Philippa Gregory has dovetailed these 2 books and at the same time each could stand alone. Great writing!
i have read a lot her books and i usually love them but this character drove me crazy!! maybe that is the point...all i can say is that i only finished listening to it out of stubborness
Say something about yourself!
The narrator is beyond irritating. The book or rather the part I could suffer through was really bad. Granted I got through about the first hour and could take no more waspy, English accented talk of saints and praying.
I am a big Philippa Gregory fan. However, Margarette Beauford's endless whining about her own faith, entitlement and destiny was just annoying. I only wish audible had a fast forward, so I could skip through the main character's boring drone and get to what was in fact, an interesting story.
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