Thursday, December 14

Book Review: The Red Queen by Philippa Gregory

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The Red Queen by Philippa Gregory is the story of Margaret Beaufort, a woman who believes herself to be a Plantegenet-era Joan of Arc. Of royal blood, Margaret’s only goal is to see her son, Henry Tudor, on the throne of England.

Margaret Beaufort: The Red Queen

But Margaret has a problem. Her cousins, of the House of York, believe that the have the rightful claim to the throne. The Red Queen is the second in Gregory’s Cousins’ War series and tells of the struggle for power between the House of Lancaster and the House of York, all from Margaret’s religious viewpoint.

With The Red Queen, Gregory runs into a problem, once again, that she has had with several of her other recent books, including The White Queen, the first in the Cousins’ War series, andThe Other Queen. Gregory’s pacing is off in this book. It’s boring. It totally drags. As someone who usually enjoys Gregory’s books and historical fiction, this one was a struggle to finish.

Mother of Henry Tudor: Margaret Beaufort

Margaret is perhaps the most unlikable main character I’ve come across in any of Gregory’s books. Margaret believes herself to be doing the work of God, but conveniently, Margaret never hears God say anything except what she wants him to say. The religious nature of Margaret is irritating and less-than endearing. Her ambitious nature certainly doesn’t help.

In addition, nothing ever really happens to Margaret in this book, another trap Gregory seems to have fallen into as of late. Margaret lives most of the book in the countryside gathering correspondence from exiled relatives. She doesn’t really do anything; she doesn’t really go anywhere. It certainly makes it difficult for the reader to empathize and relate.

The Red Queen was published by Touchstone in 2010. ISBN: 1416563725

Read about the first book in the Cousins’ War series: The White Queen

Read about other Novels by Philippa Gregory:

The Virgin’s Lover

A Respectable Trade

The Boleyn Inheritance

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