The second book in Philippa's stunning new trilogy, The Cousins War, brings to life the story of Margaret Beaufort, a shadowy and mysterious character in the first book of the series - The White Queen - but who now takes centre stage in the bitter struggle of The War of the Roses.
The Red Queen tells the story of the child-bride of Edmund Tudor, who, although widowed in her early teens, uses her determination of character and wily plotting to infiltrate the house of York under the guise of loyal friend and servant, undermine the support for Richard III and ultimately ensure that her only son, Henry Tudor, triumphs as King of England. Through collaboration with the dowager Queen Elizabeth Woodville, Margaret agrees a betrothal between Henry and Elizabeth's daughter, thereby uniting the families and resolving the Cousins War once and for all by founding of the Tudor dynasty.
©2010 Philippa Gregory (P)2010 Simon & Schuster
For Gregory fans, this was a new departure: a less loveable main character and a harder historical period to relate to. I enjoyed getting a new perspective on an era that, as a History teacher, I still find confusing. The author really brings to life the difficult position women were in at that time and the amazing strength the Red Queen had, in order to achieve what she did.
Would definitely recommend to friends - well written and read, exciting, interesting and truly amazing, knowing that most of it actually happened.
In the early parts of the book, the true horror of what her marriage as a child-bride to a much older man must have been like are amazingly effective and haunt you for the rest of the book. Not exactly a favourite scene but a memorable few chapters that make you glad to be living in the 21st century!
"Fiction based on history"
Brilliant, thoroughly enjoyed it. I love fiction based on an actual historical character. It doesnt have to be factually accurate for me. Besides, we can only see what life was like then by the documents that survive and the only ones writing then were the upper classes, from both sides. I fully appreciate Philippa Gregorys imagination for adding a story to go with the facts.
"A wicked woman wins!"
Unusually the "heroine" of the story is obnoxious: self-righteous, full of pride and scheming, all the time believing that God is on her side and that she has been chosen for great things. But it's a crackingly good story even when one knows how it will finally end. I thought the book got better and better as the pace of history quickened. I don't know how accurate some of the details are regarding Richard Third's culpability over the presumed murders of the Prices in the Tower. I don't think anybody is sure, but this book gives a plausible alternative to Shakepeare's version the latter coloured by a Tudor queen being on the throne.
The female reader does a great job of dramatizing the narrative by her ability to create different voices for the characters.
It's not often that one reads (listens to) a book where one so dislikes the lead character. Self-righteous and self-centred, obsessed with class priviledge to the point of disbelief.....I could go on. A very different character to Ms Gregory's White Queen. I read The White Queen quite a while before listening to The Red Queen, so I didn't find the repetition of the history lesson too tiresome (some reviewers of the book on Amazon are quite critical of this). What was most intriguing was the way this character is portrayed - she really isn't likeable at all. The story is well told, and in typical Philippa Gregory style. If you are a fan of her work, and if you are happy to listen to the same period of history just told from the opposite side of the war, then you won't be disappointed.
Probably only deserving of four stars, but have opted for five as I enjoy good historical novels, and I always come away from a Philippa Gregory novel feeling as though I have learned something.
"Tudor history brought to life"
This is a well written story but does not make you like or sympathise with any of the characters although this may be an accurate historical depiction of the people involved
"True Philippa Gregory style"
The mirror story to the White Queen this book gives another perspective to the same events. However, this book can also stand alone with its interesting characters whose plots and scheming leaving you wondering who is supporting who. Personally I found the main character a little naive which simply adds to the self centred nature of the character. Written very much in Philippa Gregory's style and if you liked her other books you will certainly enjoy this one.
"Phenomenal Story Teller!"
Philippa Gregory's ability to tell a tale is incredible. I read a lot of historical fiction - and Philippa would have to be one of my two favourite authors, if not my favourite. When I've read such books by some other authors, the content can be a little dry. That is never the case with Philippa Gregory's story telling. I live and breathe every single moment, along with the characters. So glad two of my friends recommended her books, and I then found them on Audible! I've read about five PG books now and have not once been disappointed. This one was no exception.
How personal it was, through delving into the thoughts and feelings of each of the characters, and that you get to learn so much about the era and the historical events of the time, and relationships between each character. Gripping read.
Ooh - I read this a little while ago now. I'd have to dip back in to refresh my memory of each of the characters. I am sure I had a favourite.
Ditto the above.
Thoroughly loved this book and the narration.
"I just didn't like her"
This was the second Philippa Gregory novel I had read, having already read and loved Gregory's, The White Queen which is a sister book to The Red Queen (TRQ). There are many similarities between the two books and there is much about TRQ which is done just as well as it's sister novel.
The Narration - this is very good, the main character is particularly well voiced and I never fell into confusion wondering who is supposed to be speaking at what point -but in truth excellent narration is what I expect should come as standard in any book I have paid somebody to read to me.
Phillipa Gregory's writing is just as crisp as it is in The White Queen, and of course the arc of the story is similar to it's sister novel as the two stories overlap in part the same period of time. However what makes me rate this a three star read and The White Queen, a five star read is simple, I simply preferred the main character in The White Queen, she was more likeable, I preferred to spend my time in her company reading about her life than I did TRQ. My dislike of The Red Queen's personality does not make TRQ a bad book, all in all I would advise you to read The White Queen first and if like me you really like it you may feel compelled to read TRQ next. TRQ is a well written and very well narrated book about an uninspiring, pretentious woman with a childish, self-centered, self belief. Yes, I would say that listening to this book was time well spent but I think I will I enjoy Gregory's other novels more.
Enjoyable and informative. Margaret comes across as both sympathetic at least in her girlhood and obsessive/very cold.
Really wish the White Queen was available unabridged to listen to next to hear the other side of the story.
"Great personal insight"
A great view of events from my favourite period. Love the way it fits with other books inn the series.
"The Red Queen"
No I don't think so because Margaret irritated me.
I liked Jasper because of his loyalty to the Queen and to his charge Henry but her husband Stafford had to be admired as he was such a peace-loving gentle man who deserved a better wife.
Probably her wedding night with Stafford when he treated Margaret with respect and affection.
It was a sad story as everyone (apart from Stafford) were were ambitious, cruel, power-hungry and greedy.
It gives insight to the difficulties women endured in the royal ranks.
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