The Red Queen

A Novel
Narrated by: Bianca Amato
Length: 12 hrs and 24 mins
4.5 out of 5 stars (2,470 ratings)

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Publisher's Summary

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.

Critic Reviews

"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)

What listeners say about The Red Queen

Average Customer Ratings
Overall
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  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars

Good book, unsympathetic heroine

Fluidly written and wonderfully narrated, THE RED QUEEN provides an engrossing portrait of Margaret Beaufort, the mother of Henry VII, first of the Tudor 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.

36 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    3 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    3 out of 5 stars

You Gotta Read It...Resign Yourself

What did you love best about The Red Queen?

It's hard to say. It wasn't a book I loved. It was -- on one hand -- KIND OF interesting to read the story from Margaret Beaufort's perspective, but on the other, it isn't a particularly sympathetic one. Because it's part of a series, you really should read it, but it's not the best of them so far.

What was your reaction to the ending? (No spoilers please!)

Check it off the list. Since you know how it ends, there was no real climax.

What did you like about the performance? What did you dislike?

Bianca Amato does a great job of reading a rather unimpressive book. Great affect, great interpretation...just not fantastic material.

If you could take any character from The Red Queen out to dinner, who would it be and why?

Elizabeth Woodville!! HA HA!! Sorry, but the white queen SO outshines the red one...

Any additional comments?

I love Philippa Gregory! But I have to admit that this wasn't one of her better books. I have to agree with other reviewers I read (before purchasing the book) that the events have been recounted in her other books and the perspective of Margaret Beaufort is singular (her divine duty and/or right) and uninteresting. And yet, I still assert that you have to read it as part of her Cousins War series! But don't let the worst of the reviews dissuade you...you can't NOT read it!

13 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    3 out of 5 stars

the red queen

I have read and loved all of Philippa Gregory's other books, but not this one. The main character, Lady Margaret, was a cold, whiney, bitter woman who was obcessed with regaining the throne for her son. She was so unpleasant you had no sympathy for her or her efforts.

11 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    2 out of 5 stars

Slow listen

Unsympathetic lead makes this a slow listen. I really can't recommend it. I have liked other books by the author.

5 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • mm
  • 08-06-10

Really enjoyed

Very entertaining historical novel. Loved the narrator. Will look for more by this author.

21 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    4 out of 5 stars

Great Story, Can't Like the Main Character

I like a lot of what Gregory writes and I have really enjoyed the series, The Cousins War. The Red Queen answers many questions about Henry VII, his origins and his fight to take the crown of England. I found all of this very interesting and of course the narration is perfect.

Margaret Beaufort, the mother of Henry VII was single minded to the point of madness. Every move she made, every thought she had was to put her son on the thrown. What is hard to stomach is the hypocrisy in her belief that she was doing God's will and of course God's will always agreed with hers. She is so blind to everything but what she perceives as God's/her will, that she never sees her hypocrisy and her own sin. Her pride and her need to be recognized as "My Lady, the King's Mother" no matter who it hurts or what havoc it creates is truly breathtaking.

It makes her that rare main character that it is nearly impossible to like or sympathize with. It is a tribute to Phillipa Gregory that the story is still fascinating and very entertaining. Gregory does an immense amount of research and my own research agrees with much of hers. Many of the royal traditions in England today are a direct result of Margaret Beaufort's edicts in order to make her son's reign more legitimate than any other at that time. I highly recommend the book, but don't expect to love the main character.

3 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars

Dropped into a viper pit!

It was interesting to see the conflict from the viewpoint of both sides after also reading The White Queen. Margaret definitely comes across as a cold, cunning, conniving, self-absorbed woman. Reading about British royalty is rather like being thrown into a pit of vipers!!
The story was well told and very well narrated.

3 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    1 out of 5 stars

The Red Queen: A Novel

I wish I'd read some of the reviews before purchasing this book. I too found Margaret unbearingly priggish and whiney. This was not Gregory's best effort--perhaps because she didn't have much to work with in Margaret Beaufort. I do think it interesting that Margaret's son, Henry VII was in no hurry to marry Elizabeh of York once he became king and not only delayed marrying her but delayed crowning her queen as well...perhaps due to his mother's influence.

7 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    2 out of 5 stars

boringly repetitive

The author seems to have run out of energy and now feels it's ok to make a novel out of one sentence: "This is my destiny, to mother a king." Waste of time & money.

10 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    2 out of 5 stars
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    3 out of 5 stars
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    3 out of 5 stars

love gregory but...

What would have made The Red Queen better?

i have read a lot her books and i usually love them but this character drove me crazy!! maybe that is the point...all i can say is that i only finished listening to it out of stubborness

2 people found this helpful