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.
©2010 Philippa Gregory Limited. All rights reserved. (P)2010 Simon & Schuster, Inc. All rights reserved.
"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)
The main characters unbelievable faith ,every turn was a sign including the eclipse of the sun was a sign from Her God that Henry would become the King.I wanted to shake her at times but she is very reminiscent of late night TV of the arrogance of the Born Again Christains have today,it seems they never went away.
I do t know as this is my first historical drama novel
When she met Henry Tudor after hearing about Richards death and her companion congratulated her and she rebuked her and told her to call her Margaret Regina I have just finished the Kingmakers dtr so I may have got that wrong one was in the church and one was on the battle field after Richards defeat.
Absolutely it would be good.if they had more of Henry assuming his role and what happened to Margaret and to him.i believe she died soon after he became king.It would be interesting to find out what happened to the White Queen and her elizabeth did marry Henry Vii just as she dreamed,.
I know phillipa Gregory can do what she wants with her novels but I was really surprised how many small and big facts were different in all three books that went into making the white queen Mini series.if I had the chance of a redo I would especially make amends with the actual facts.Just my simple and honest opinion.
Not sure - writing is good, but I find myself HATING the protagonist and weary of her. The only reason I am continuing is because I don't want to miss details that will be important to the other Cousins War books...hoping the next few are better...
Tell it from someone else's point of view. Margaret is annoying, and I just don't relate to or care about her. In fact, I find myself wishing her dead. Most unlike my enjoyment of Jacquetta's story. In fact the best part of the book so far was the bit told from Stafford's POV!
Lisette Lecat. My enjoyment of this book was not improved by the fact I am not enjoying Bianca Amato's narration. I find her voice and articulation difficult to understand at times.
I like the take on the historical characters and their interactions. The story is interesting, I just so hate hearing it from Margaret's foolish, self-centered POV. If her childish selfishness is the point of this book, I wish Ms. gregory had been able to accomplish that understanding using another literary tool. It's tough to enjoy a book when you HATE the stupid, stupid protagonist.
I probably would, I liked The White Queen and The Other Boleyn Girl. This book features a main character who is difficult to like or root for.
The main character, Margaret, whines, complains, connives, and conspires to get her son on the throne. She just isn't very likeable.
The narrator was okay.
I like historical fiction and liked the first book in the series. This one left me cold. I couldn't wait for it to end.
Yes. I am certain now that when I am done with the series, I will listen to it all over again. I have never had an interest in royalty of any era but The White Queen sparked my interest. I know this is fictional history but details of how people thought and lived during that era are fascinating.
Margaret Beaufort was a compelling character in The White Queen, easily disliked and villianous. Still compelling, The Red Queen provided so much insight into her character, insight that made her a more sympathetic figure than first revealed in The White Queen. In The White Queen, she was simply a religious zealot with a singular driving mission to make her son the king at all costs. She saw God's hand and blessings all along the way. She would ask God to do something highly unlikely and, when it didn't happen, she would see this as evidence of God's blessings and assurances of her son's destiny...and hers. In The Red Queen, she remains a religious zealot but her history is explained. I suspect when I listen to the Lady of the Rivers, the next installment, there will be further clarity of other characters.
The White Queen. The narration was excellent in both performances.
I think the fact that "Margaret R" was the grandmother of Henry VIII is interesting. The first two books of the series do not go that far in history and don't mention this and I'm not sure I would have them do so. However, the character of Margaret Regina as portrayed, her attitude and absolute belief in her son's destiny and God's role, lends itself to understanding how someone like Henry VIII could come to be the man he became.
Working mom (HRMgr/healthcare) in western Michigan. INTJ. Red Vines. Disneyfreak.
Admittedly, this was wonderful as far as bringing history to life.
But the main character was so unappealing, that it was not as enjoyable as I had hoped. Philippa's writing style is also a bit trying from time to time.
I'm sure that's part of the message - the fanaticism of this character - but it came off as tired and gratuitous.
I loved other books in this series better, but I do love the glimpse into this side of the whole story.
i feel the need to write a review for this because it has mostly negative feedback. i am not a religious person, in saying so, i understood that the religion in this book was based around the character's obsession with it. i thought it added to her persona and therefore it works. it did not bother me at all.
jasper and margaret's embrace in whales prior to his exile.
it did not. i did enjoy the psychological aspect of it.
great book if given a chance.
This is the first book ever in which I not only root for the main character, I found myself wishing her ill. Unfortunately she follows you through out the series and only gets worse with the power she manages to get. To my surprise there were times I would have liked to admire Margaret's drive for her son to become King however her tendency for hateful jealousy and overall bitterness is too much to take more often than not. She was so awful that I almost couldn't finish listening but then again I'm sure Philippa Gregory didn't write this story expecting to make Margaret a heroine. Just proving once again what a passionate writer Ms. Gregory is. I won't say this book is a must for the series reader, since it's not an easy listening book, but one does get the whole experience with it.
I love learning about English history and how the characters might have lived and felt. It is so much harder for me to 'like' the Red Queen, but I'm sure that is the point. She is so religiously deceived and whiney! I'm only half way through the first part so I may form another opinion by the time I am finished with the entire book. She is an integral part of this series and in the Cousins War so I am very curious to see how this all plays out. She does have the heir to the throne after all so it should get very interesting!
I love her style of first-person story telling. This is an excellent story about a very turbulent time in English history and gives great insight to the challenging roles women had in those days, what life was like, beliefs, and how dangerous political liaisons were. The final battle between Richard III and Henry Tudor was gripping. I highly recommend this book.
The White Queen. It tells the same basic story through the eyes of another of the women connected in the same story- York vs Lancaster, and the mystery of what really happened to the young princes in the tower.
The main character, Margaret herself. What a strong and politically save person developed from the frightened child who was used to secure powerful alliances by marriage! Times and treatment of women were so different! It makes one grateful to be living in the present.
Listening to an exciting story being well read and presented has added a very pleasurable dimension to my enjoyment of reading. The dramatic narration does not in any way diminish the use of imagination to participate in the story. I love that I can take it with me anywhere on my iPhone!
If you are really into history, this is OK. But Margaret Beaufort is so nasty and self-centered that it is very hard to work up any sympathy for her. I was tempted often to root against the central character. kind of like the red queen in Alice in Wonderland, but not so amusing.
Of all the Phillipa Gregory books, this is my least favorite.
Ms. Amato is a great narrator.
Report Inappropriate Content