THE RED QUEEN: A NOVEL (Philippa Gregory)

cvr9781471128783_9781471128783_hrLet she who is without sin cast the first stone…Henry VII’s mother, and what a scheming mother she is. This poor soul was married thrice and had a son by the ripe old age of 14! But all that rape and ownership by cruel men didn’t crush her ruthless spirit. If you get in the way of this mean queen, she’ll have you pushing up daisies.

This is the second book in a trilogy. I have not read the first book, but I found myself immediately drawn into the story and feel that this is probably a good stand-alone novel. I like Gregory’s prose and enjoy her writing style. When reading a historical novel you have to remember the old saying “that nothing ruins a good story like the truth.” I’m assuming she has the correct historical data. Besides, most of us just want to get lost in a good story.

Onwards and upwards! This is the story of Margaret Beaufort, heiress to the red rose of Lancaster, who is obsessed from a very early age with placing her Lancaster son, Henry, on the throne of England. And when I say obsessed, I mean obsessed. Not only is this a power-hungry little bitch, but she is convinced she is God’s instrument on earth, and all that she does is guided by God. Margaret, (who boasts that she has the knees of a saint) is also obsessed with Joan D’ Arc to the point that she feels she was her at times. I felt the author probably rode that pony a little too hard throughout the novel. Just a minor annoyance.

Initially, the lady Margaret was a character to be pitied and one could even venture to say, relatable. But as the years go by, she stops being a pitiful girl who is devalued by society and unloved by her mother and husband. She turns into a bitter, delusional, arrogant, hypocritical woman. By the time she married Henry Stafford, the reader may want to punch her in the face. Frequently. Her many reflections on being favoured by God above all–even saying on more than one occasion that she is ‘without sin’–made me cringe.

I enjoyed the part where Stafford challenges her hypocrisy, saying (paraphrased), “It’s funny how God’s ‘will’ is all the things YOU want,” which causes her to fly off the handle at him. Every time she is held accountable for her actions, or when someone else gains a better predicament or situation than herself, she questions why someone as favoured and without fault as she, shouldn’t be granted all of her heart’s desires. If nothing else, this is a wonderful study in human selfishness.

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Comments

  1. This is a great review! I enjoyed reading your tone πŸ™‚

    Liked by 1 person

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