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.
Married to a man twice her age, quickly widowed, and a mother at only 14, Margaret is determined to turn her lonely life into a triumph. She sets her heart on putting her son on the throne of England regardless of the cost to herself, to England, and even to the little boy. Disregarding rival heirs and the overwhelming power of the York dynasty, she names him Henry, like the king; sends him into exile; and pledges him in marriage to her enemy Elizabeth of York's daughter.
As the political tides constantly move and shift, Margaret charts her own way through another loveless marriage, treacherous alliances, and secret plots. She feigns loyalty to the usurper Richard III and even carries his wife's train at her coronation.
Widowed a second time, Margaret marries the ruthless, deceitful Thomas, Lord Stanley, and her fate stands on the knife edge of his will. Gambling her life that he will support her, she then masterminds one of the greatest rebellions of the time—all the while knowing that her son has grown to manhood, recruited an army, and now waits for his opportunity to win the greatest prize.
In a novel of conspiracy, passion, and coldhearted ambition, number-one bestselling author Philippa Gregory has brought to life the story of a proud and determined woman who believes that she alone is destined, by her piety and lineage, to shape the course of history.
©2010 Philippa Gregory Limited (P)2010 Simon & Schuster
"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)
This novel is not my favorite of Gregory's stories, but I believe it is a wonderful accompaniment to her novels about the Cousins' War. I do think however that The Red Queen and The White Queen (possibly The Kingmaker's Daughter as well) could have easily been combined to produce a single compelling story, told from different facets. But alas that may not be as true to Gregory's style. I would strongly recommend reading The White Queen first, despite The Red Queen's storyline beginning slightly before. The latter book gives away too many elements of the other's unfolding plotline. Read this way, The Red Queen serves to answer questions that arise in The White Queen, filling in a few gaps and shedding light on some crucial but more obscure characters. All in all, a recommended read for anyone planning on reading/listening to the series. My only qualm with the audio version is the pronunciation of "Regina" which is completely wrong and distastefully close to a very very different word. This was a bit unexpected as the word is pronounced correctly in The White Queen. Made me wince a bit each time it was read!
Global citizen. Loves reading, but most of all traveling. If I cannot travel today, let me sit in sunshine and nature with a good book!
The rest of the series is better. Felt this one was mediocre. Love the series though and this was still good.
Outstanding story. I always wondered how we got the Tudor line on the English throne. It seems it was one single minded women and her courageous son. I guess tough times made for even tougher women. Well worth the listen or the read. Either way, Philippa Gregory never disappoints.
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