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)
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.
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.
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!
Boston Book Lover
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.
We are given some insights into the mind of Margaret. The story of her life is well told skipping from crisis point to crisis point. This is not deep, but it can be enjoyable. It is true that none of the characters makes for a hero, but contemplate whether that is what is true in real life. The narrator does a fine reading. It is more fun having already heard the White Queen. My wife and I look forward to sharing another Philippa Gregory.
Yes, very interesting.
Gregory weaves romance and fiction in historical fact and makes history interesting.
Very good story
Of course, you have to have the English accent!
The main character...for her constant whining
The main character...for her constant whining
A good book, I mean it's Phillipa Gregory! But the whining...
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