I was really looking forward to reading this book,   I finished The White Queen, the previous book to this one and had enjoyed it, even if I did find some of the airy fairy witchcraftery a bit repetitive... but I am a Philippa Gregory fan on the whole, the relaxed historical fiction usually has enough historical fact and attention to detail as well as just enough fiction to make it enjoyable.

But I have to admit The Red Queen was a struggle for me,  it's not Ms Gregory's writing... or maybe it is but I found the main character Margaret Beaufort really hard work.  The story follows exactly the same events of history as The White Queen but from the other side of the battle and that part of the idea was really interesting, seeing just how "right" both sides think they were and how actually they both claimed to be fighting for exactly the same thing and both claiming that it was "gods will".  

For me the big question there is... who is to say what exactly God's will is and how do they know???    It must be a very comforting to be so convinced that you know what God wants.

The book follows Margaret Beauforts life from her earliest childhood where from the very earliest time in her life it is made clear to her that she is merely a pawn in the political games of others and that she in and of herself is of very little value apart from her station in life and her only task is to produce a male heir for the House of Lancaster. 

I don't suppose I should be surprised that this unwanted unloved child found her only comfort in her religious beliefs and being that pious should have made her likeable... but it doesn't. Throughout the book I found her bitter and jealous, vengeful and filled with venal pride, all of which she tries to say is God's will.  She spends most of her life on her knees praying and yet doesn't seem to recognise that the way she behaves and her vengence and jealousy are sinful! There were times that I found myself flinging the book down and muttering "what a hypocrite".

By the end of the book I actively disliked the woman, which is a shame as I didn't want to.  But in some ways that's not a bad thing, the whole point of a story is to get across the characters that are being written about and in this case Ms Gregory nailed it if what she intended was to make Margaret Beaufort out to be an angry, bitter, jealous, spite filled woman whose whole life was an endless stream of disappointments.


Erin said...

I didn't know that these books were out, but I'm deffinently interested in reading them. I love historical fact and fiction books written about British history. Your review is good and I can't wait to get the books so that I can form my own opinion :)

p.s. I love your blog's template!

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