Book Review: The Red Queen by Phillipa Gregory

January 3, 2014 Uncategorized 4

Book Review: The Red Queen by Phillipa GregoryThe Red Queen by Philippa Gregory
Series: The Cousins War #2
Published by Touchstone on August 3rd 2010
Genres: Historical, Romance
Pages: 382
Source: Purchase
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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.

my thoughts done

A bit easier for me to read than the first, The White Queen. The plot wasn’t as filled with conflict. And thank goodness for that! I had to put the first down to take a bit of a breather but this one I flew through!

I was on the fence about this Queen, however. At first I was thinking I would like her more than Queen Elizabeth but as the story moved forward I became more confused with her motivation. Well, not her motivation, because that was always to put her son on the throne. But to the God aspect of her motivation. I feel like later on she was blaming everyone except herself for all the horrors in the world and she really should have been looking in the mirror instead of casting stones. She believed so fervently that God was backing her and her family that she would literally do anything that made that so!

Even with that though, I really enjoyed how this one ended. There were questions that I had about the ending of the first and this one filled those in. There are still questions of course but I feel as if the next book in line, which is about The White Queen’s mother, does not sound as interesting to me as The White Princess which is #5 in this series! I just can’t wait that long!!

the author

Philippa Gregory was an established historian and writer when she discovered her interest in the Tudor period and wrote the novel The Other Boleyn Girl, which was made into a TV drama and a major film. Published in 2009, the bestselling The White Queen, the story of Elizabeth Woodville, ushered in a new series involving The Cousins’ War (now known as The War of the Roses) and a new era for the acclaimed author.Gregory lives with her family on a small farm in Yorkshire, where she keeps horses, hens and ducks. Visitors to her site, become addicted to the updates of historical research, as well as the progress of her ducklings.Her other great interest is the charity she founded nearly twenty years ago; Gardens for The Gambia. She has raised funds and paid for 140 wells in the primary schools of the dry, poverty stricken African country. Thousands of school children have learned market gardening, and drunk the fresh water in the school gardens around the wells.

A former student of Sussex University, and a PhD and Alumna of the Year 2009 of Edinburgh University, her love for history and her commitment to historical accuracy are the hallmarks of her writing. She also reviews for US and UK newspapers, and is a regular broadcaster on television, radio, and webcasts from her website.

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4 Responses to “Book Review: The Red Queen by Phillipa Gregory”

  1. Annie

    I haven’t read Philippa Gregory but I did see the first episode of the television adaption of the White Queen (although the costuming was good I didn’t like the storyline very much… maybe it comes across better in the book? The main character got married to the chap who’d tried to rape her, and thought she loved him. Yet she was an experienced widow with 2 kids… I just didn’t get it!). Anyway, I’m happy there were some aspects of this which you enjoyed, if not the religious zealotry! 🙂

    • Christina

      I’ve actually only seen the first episode also. I wanted to read them before getting into the show but the intensity is a bit much sometimes. And yes the religious zealotry! I think I could deal with it if all of Margaret’s choices made sense but she chooses to do things that are totally against her faith. Frustrated me! The books are intriguing though. There’s so much in them!

      • Annie

        People keep telling me to try Wolf Hall – and something tells me I might get to that before PG. But I’m just not a big historical fiction buff, the exception being funny historical romances by people like Lyndsay Sands. 🙂

        • Christina

          Funny thing, I have Wolf Hall sitting here! Tudor politics is my absolute fav though. Sooner or later I’ll get to it… I haven’t heard of Lyndsay Sands, I’ll have to look her up! I love historical romance. Besides after PG I need a break from the politics. Whew!