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)
Yes, her painting of life in the era is impeccable. She probably stays true to who Margaret was, but she was not someone I'd have as a friend or even a acquaintance. I think if you were to count the number of times she said that she was "called by God" or something to that effect, it would be several times per chapter.
That said, it was a fascinating listen, replete with the drama of the age and I didn't find myself wanting to walk away from the book. I was just annoyed with Margaret - a lot - during the entire book.
It was good. No spoilers - her son, Henry Tudor becomes Henry VII which is an historic fact.
I liked the battles, which were told and narrated from another point of view.
As long as Margaret didn't say she was "called by God" constantly.
It's looking like a great series. Very well written
I'm looking forward to the others
Great book. The red queen seemed very self righteous and falsely humble. I wonder how close that is to the way she really was
The headline pretty much sums this book up. Having read The White Queen i naturally had to pick this book (along with everyone in the series) up. I loved seeing the story from a different perspective. Gregory does an amazing job of making a not so likeable character at least relate-able. I really can't say enough about this story aside from BUY IT NOW!
The book was just as good as the tv series The White Queen. However the book did confirm that the princes were killed and where the bodies where hidden. I like Bianca Amato only as the Narrator. I did not care to have the others narrating as well.
Despite the fact that it is told in Margaret Beaufort's own voice, the book brings out the extent of her fanatic, narrow-minded character. Repeatedly she condemns acts by others which are less evil than her own. Her piety is completely based on self interest. Since this is a historic fiction novel we do not get a satisfactory comeuppance in the end, but this is life. The sarcasm is greater in Ms. Amato's sharp interpretation. There is a line in The Talented Mr. Ripley regarding one's view of oneself never being negative, never considering oneself as evil. It is so in this novel. Margaret Beaufort is the most evil character yet in Philippa Gregory's novels.
The princes in the tower.
Her factual enactment of a delusional, fanatic woman.
Margaret Beaufort, of course.
An intriguing novel about another female player on the stage of English history, Gregory's story of the mother of the Tudor monarchy is an important part of the Cousins War. The author allows you to "experience" history as it happens by placing you in the shoes of her characters. You forget you know the outcome of events, and instead anticipate how each moment will play out alongside the figures in each story. I believe that Gregory does an excellent job providing an explanation as to how the young Margaret Beaufort becomes "My Lady, the King's Mother," while simultaneously offering an explanation of how a young Henry Tudor developed into Henry the VII. (I refer to their personalities and bearings). As with her other novels, you find yourself siding with people that you may have viewed in less favorable terms previously. I found the narrator to be well suited to the task, and to deliver another excellent performance.
Entertaining and insightful perspective on the pre-Henry VIII story but unlikable heroine who fails to evoke mug sympathy. Look forward to reading about Elisabeth Woodville's marriage to Henry VII.
yes cuz not have the patient to read
The White Queen
the York Princess staying with the red Queen
the Red Queen's 2nd husband, Stratford. He was smart, kind, practical and humane, oh and decent
read the white queen, it was good to compare the two queens. Like the White Queen better, both the book and the character.
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