Elizabeth Woodville a strong, ambitious commoner marries Plantagent King Edward for love. The York family featured in this book is part of Gregory’s ..Show More »“Cousins War” series exploring the War of the Roses from different sides. This was my first book in the series and while I enjoyed learning a little history while being entertained, I won’t read any of the others immediately; maybe at a later date. All Philippa Gregory books I’ve read are interesting, a little fact mixed with fiction, drama, intrigue, and love interests blended in a standard formula. You can enjoy and multitask simultaneously. Narrator delivers a solid performance with strong voice for Elizabeth and moves seamlessly between other characters.
Starz miniseries “The White Queen” airs in August exploring the stories of Elizabeth, Margaret Beaufort, and Anne Neville. Listening has given me enough background to prep and hopefully enjoy the new series. Reports thus far give the drama good marks and name Rebecca Ferguson as a possible breakout star. This book was worth my credit.
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.
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 perspe..Show More »ctive 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.
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).
Patience. This is, without doubt, the most repetitive book I've read, including cookbooks. I dare you to take a sip of wine every time "the boy" is me..Show More »ntioned in the latter half of this book and try to finish a chapter before passing out. Truly, this story (don't confuse it with history) could have been told in one-third the length.
Nearly every one of Elizabeth's thoughts, and her conversations with Maggie, with Henry, with Margaret, with her mother (notice a pattern?), are repeated almost verbatim and/or paraphrased multiple times -- some ad nauseam. Entire chapters consist of repetitions, with only one new minor point plot offered. Describing being drawn and quartered once in excruciating detail will suffice, thanks. Just write "drawn and quartered" after that, we're smart enough to know what you mean. We don't need to be lectured in almost identical detail twice, and partially a third time . . . maybe more. I confess I drifted off a number of times, but I doubt I missed anything I hadn't heard previously several times.
If I hadn't liked The White Queen so much, I wouldn't have persevered to finish, hoping for more and better. It's hard to swallow the premise that the calm, poised, wise-beyond-her-years Elizabeth of The White Queen would develop a grand passion for her uncle, who betrayed a promise to her father, imprisoned and potentially murdered her dear brothers. Cultivating his interest for strategic reasons to protect the Woodvilles may make have made sense. The main characters are static over a near 15-year time span, never growing or learning from their mistakes. If Henry VII was as incapable, cowardly, sniveling, and mother-dominated as depicted here, his uncle would have made a deal with the Yorks to knock him off as soon as there was an heir and a spare, putting the York-Tudor hybrid Arthur on the throne. In reality, history suggests Henry VII had no mistress after marriage to Elizabeth, that Elizabeth and Henry had a successful perhaps loving marriage, that Margaret Beaufort was not an ogre, that Henry's reign was more successful, etc.
This books ranks somewhere in the middle of all the audiobooks I have listened to, and that is probably because I have been listening to great books a..Show More »nd wonderful audio performances as of late, so the middle is not bad at all. When listening/reading, It is very important to give Philippa Gregory her due as a writer, with an excellent grasp of York/Tudor history, and a wonderful imagination that she expertly uses to weave fiction through established historical facts. Philippa is a very effective writer....so effective that she keeps those of us who already know the end of her stories, reading until the last page. My somewhat tepid reception of this book probably has to do with the fact that I was too eager to get my Tudor fix and was expecting this to be one of the best books of the Cousin's War Series and (in my opinion) it was not.