No line in any Phillipa Gregory novel rang more true to the very idea of what any of her books have been about than this one: "Your ambition will be y..Show More »our curse..." This was a line that comes later in the book and is uttered by one Elizabeth of York. I must say I thoroughly enjoyed this book and I do believe that any fan of Phillipa Gregory would enjoy it.
This book did take a number of liberties in the storyline if you ask me with the inclusion of a fair amount of mysticism and superstition. In fact at the end of the book Phillipa Gregory warns us herself that due to the very time in which the novel took place and the scarcity of some facts she did assume quite a bit where some things were concerned. With all that being said though and with me being a bit of a fan of fantasy literature as well, the addition was welcomed. It also was done in such a good way that even though it is noticeable it is not an overpowering aspect in the story.
Typical fans of Phillipa Gregory can expect the same combination of treachery, back dealing, plotting, romanticism, historical facts and above all else excellent writing. The best thing and the most appreciative thing about Phillipa Gregory works is the strong writing which makes the novel flow. You follow Elizabeth Woodville's rise to power, subsequent fall from grace and her constant plotting throughout the book. The book is set in a time where everyone and their uncle with a speck of royal blood (literally) are plotting a way to ascend the throne of England. The battle between the Yorkist brothers and also the introduction of the Tudors comes apparent in this book as well.
Excellent book and it leaves you wanting to continue to the next one. If you are into no so historical, tipped with some but not overbearing romance, a little bit of mysticism topped off with really awesome narrative and writing in general.... you'll love this book.
Fluidly written and wonderfully narrated, THE RED QUEEN provides an engrossing portrait of Margaret Beaufort, the mother of Henry VII, first of the Tu..Show More »dor rulers. From early childhood, Margaret is enthralled by the story of Joan of Arc, and longs to emulate her in a life of piety and heroic deeds. Instead, she's married off at the age of twelve to a much older man, and gives birth at age thirteen. As she endures these tribulations, she hardens in her conviction that God has chosen her for a special destiny, and focuses all her will on the Lancaster cause and her son Henry, taken from her at an early age and awarded to a series of guardians. Unfortunately for the reader, the sorrows and tragedies of her life harden Margaret into a narrow-minded fanatic, who has little compassion or empathy for those around her. Her second husband, Henry Stafford, is a kind, gentle, and wise man who adores her and treats her with kindness and consideration, but blinded by ambition and with a heart turned to stone, she does not return his love, choosing time and again to betray him politically in favor of her Lancaster relations. The book is very interesting, and I really like the narrator, but I'm afraid I have little sympathy for Margaret, who is hopelessly self-centered, priggish, and narrow-minded. It's a compelling glimpse into a period of history that I'm not that familiar with, and Philippa Gregory's interpretation of Margaret Beaufort's character does explain many of Margaret's real-life deeds, but she is not nearly as sympathetic as the protagonist of THE WHITE QUEEN, Elizabeth Woodville. Well worth a listen if you're interested in the War of the Roses, but don't expect to like Margaret very much.
I was reluctant to download this book and devote time to it. Ms. Gregory's last book, The Red Queen, was weak both in story and in substance. I felt..Show More » vested in the author's continuing telling of the War of the Roses characters and I knew I had some listening time so I committed the credit.
SO glad that I did ! The story of Jacquetta, Dowager Duchess of Bedford and mother to Elizabeth Wydville of "The White Queen," is fascinating in the extreme. This is, naturally, a novelization of her life, but Ms. Gregory fills in period details, politics and sociology in a beautiful blending of fact and fiction. The society's fixation on the unexplained as "witchcraft" is a theme of the novel which travels from Joan of Arc to the rise of King Edward IV (The Duke of York). It is a prequel to The Red and White Queen stories and both characters from the prior novels are re-introduced as children.
The narrator was outstanding. Her voice was extremely fluid and melodic. As I listened, I felt soothed while still being wholly entrapped in the story. It was like not being able to put a book down; I quite literally had my earbuds in my ears around the clock. Since I usually knit while listening, I got a LOT of work on my Christmas projects done. My sole criticism of the book is that, as with the Red Queen, there are a few too many repetitive passages -- I understood almost immediately that Jacquetta knew she shouldn't be telling fortunes with tarot cards; Ms. Gregory did NOT need to repeat the same passage of writing fifteen or twenty times.
All in all, a great read of a very good story. Good choice for fans of Philippa and also for those who want to learn about pre-Tudor English history without reading Allison Weir's non-fiction epics (which I also read).