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One problem was the sheer repetition. This seems to be a consistent problem throughout many of Gregory's books — Elizabeth Woodville has her legend of Melusina, Mary Queen of Scots has her "I am three times a queen", Catherine Howard has her "Let me see, what do I have now" Margaret Beaufort has an obsession with Joan of Arc.
Margaret Beaufort was a pious woman, we know this from history. Gregory feels the inexplicable need to demonstrate this by giving her character an obsession with Joan of Arc, and then repeatedly drumming this into us throughout the book.
Give your readers a little credit and stop repeating things like this. Moreover, the Joan of Arc stuff isn't the only repetition you'll encounter in the book.
Characters who should be on close terms with one another call each by full name and title, just in case we've forgotten who they are for the past pages or so.
Occasionally some spelling and grammatical errors have crept in - which wouldn't be worth mentioning except they unfortunately change the meaning of the whole sentence - and here and there I stumbled across some strange sentences which just sounded clunky and poorly constructed, though this is not the first time I've noticed this in Philippa Gregory's works.
I felt like Gregory should have chosen a perspective and stuck with it all the way through. Personally I think third person works best for historical fiction, since it covers so many events that one person alone is rarely present at for all.
However, probably my biggest gripe with this book was the fact that Gregory never comes to grips with the real meat of the history.
This is actually a complaint about all of her books as this is another feature which plagues her writing consistently. The historical events feel glossed over with a broad brush and largely trivialised, reduced to a ten person cast and all the social complexity of who is friends with whom, ignoring the wider picture and the larger issues behind conflicts.
Many of the momentous events which make up the most exciting happenings of whichever period Gregory is writing about are related in past tense and they occur offstage, and we are told about them in a sentence or two.
This is a huge let down as a reader, as these moments are the turning points of their day, exciting events of truly huge significance.
This first example comes from page of the edition I read no spoilers, this is known historical fact : "Amazingly, Edward gets to London without a single obstacle in his path, the gates are thrown open for him by the adoring citizens, and he is reunited with his wife, as if he had never been chased from his own land, running for his life.
Yet, Gregory summarises them in a single sentence which glosses over all this, and worse it all occurs offstage and we never get to see any of these thrilling events!
The following quote comes from page of the edition I was reading: "News comes in snippets from the outside world, carried by housemaids as gossip from the market.
Richard declares that the marriage between the queen, Elizabeth Woodville, and King Edward was never valid as Edward was pre-contracted to another lady before he married Elizabeth in secret.
He declares all their children bastards and himself as the only York heir. What do we get? A summary that greatly simplifies and glosses over events.
The biggest disappointment of all is the Battle of Bosworth Field. Here Gregory finally has to bite the bullet and write it in real time in order to give her story some sort of climax What I felt was overwhelmingly disappointment that such a great historical moment, on which virtually everything hinged for the two opposing leaders, could be so thoroughly screwed up.
How can you screw up writing the Battle of Bosworth Field? I so wanted to give this book 3 stars out of 5, as there were a number of things about it which I did like and enjoy, but I have to concede that the number of problems outweighs the good points, meaning I can't in all honesty give it more than 2 stars If there was an option to award half stars I might well be using it right now.
Even though I so wanted this novel to be better than it was, let's face it, in the end this is lightweight historical fiction, this is the Wars of the Roses Lite.
Nov 16, Robin rated it it was ok Shelves: historical-fiction. I have no idea if Margaret Beaufort was as she is depicted by Gregory, but her fictional alter ego is the most unlikeable person that I have come across in a novel in years.
The first-person narrative gave little escape from this fanatical and self-absorbed woman. Henry Tudor's ascension to the throne as Henry VII is a a fascinating and unlikely story, but neither mother, the true believer in his destiny despite its apparent impossibility, nor Henry VII whom I am more familiar with historically I have no idea if Margaret Beaufort was as she is depicted by Gregory, but her fictional alter ego is the most unlikeable person that I have come across in a novel in years.
Henry Tudor's ascension to the throne as Henry VII is a a fascinating and unlikely story, but neither mother, the true believer in his destiny despite its apparent impossibility, nor Henry VII whom I am more familiar with historically are going to win any warmth of personality awards.
Margaret Beaufort had a rough life in many ways, and maybe her single-minded devotion to see her son, a virtual stranger, on the English throne as the last of the Lancasters is admirable at times, but neither of these characters have personalities that make for good company page after page after page, and Gregory does little but give a superficial understanding of who they were or why Jasper Tudor or anyone else would love Margaret.
I found the character studies limited with no reward for my perseverance in finishing the novel. View all 12 comments.
Sep 26, BAM The Bibliomaniac rated it really liked it Shelves: british-historical-fiction , series-have-read , own.
Audiobook Nov 14, Sarah rated it really liked it. Historical fiction is a passion of mine and I personally think that Philippa Gregory is one of the masters of the genre.
I always find her books to be so well researched that as a reader you feel like you are experiencing that particular time first hand.
This is the second book in the new cousins war series and I did find this novel hard going at first but after the first 50 pages I found myself completely absorbed in this novel and felt like I was there watching events unfold in front of my eyes Historical fiction is a passion of mine and I personally think that Philippa Gregory is one of the masters of the genre.
This is the second book in the new cousins war series and I did find this novel hard going at first but after the first 50 pages I found myself completely absorbed in this novel and felt like I was there watching events unfold in front of my eyes.
The same time frame of The White Queen is used in this novel and at first I was skeptical and did not think it would work.
However I felt it worked well within the context of the novel and really seemed to link the first and second book in the Cousins was series.
Margaret Beaufort is not the easiest of characters to like and I did find in places that I wanted to escape from the first-person narrative in places.
However once I finished The Red Queen and I was reflecting the character of Margaret Beaufort I actually found myself liking the character and I think the harshness of her characters adds a lot of charm and authenticity to the novel.
Overall I found The Red Queen to be a well researched novel that took you into the heart of the beginning of Tudor England. It is not my favourite Philippa Gregory novel however it does show why she is considered one of the masters of the genre.
May 03, Andrea rated it it was amazing Shelves: world-book-night-books. This is the second book from this author I've read.
I got it cheap with the Daily Mail in duty free and I see why. I was shocked at Gregory's choice of using the same time frame as The White Queen, although she included the story of Magaret from when she was 7 the main story line was the same, revolving around the same events.
Since you knew what was going to happen next and who was true and who wasn't Gregory destroyed her best assesst, intrigue. You could skip chapters I wouldn't but the I got it cheap with the Daily Mail in duty free and I see why.
You could skip chapters I wouldn't but the possibility is there and still understand what was going on. As to narrative Gregory stuck to repeating the same things 1 How much of a whore, witch and beautiful Elizabeth Woodville was 2 It is God's will that her son be King 3 She is destined to be Joan of Arc like This got really reaaaaallllllllyyy boring after a while, I kept going because I thought it would get better, sadly mistaken.
Magaret was a stuffy, over-religeous, greedy,patronising,obsessed woman and as much as Gregory tried to make her slightly positive with her comparision of the inspiration of Joan of Arc she couldn't disguise it.
I didn't, in fact couldn't like her and therefore didn't enjoy the book. If you don't like the main character you are gonna be hearing a lot about somone you hate and where's the fun in that?
As ever it was well-written, but this is now expected from Gregory so overall, worth a read if you are going to keep going with the series but otherwise not worth it really.
View 1 comment. He dies soon after that but manages to get her pregnant before that. After her son Henry is born, Margaret devotes her life to get him on the throne.
By page 60 I just wanted to stab her. I read that way many times. I think the book suffer from first person narrative.
Margaret spends most of her time in the countryside and much of the happenings must be told in letters. Dec 12, Kelly rated it it was ok Shelves: never-read-again.
Margaret Beaufort is a horrible, selfish woman who thinks of no one but herself. God she angered me so much!!
I've never read a character who I have wanted to punch more than her. It is all about her, her rise, her power because she was destined for greatness and she doesn't care who gets hurt along the way.
She's made me so angry!! The story was pretty decent but the best bit was the battle description at the end. I loved Henry Stafford her 2nd husband who was obviously treated like crap and th Margaret Beaufort is a horrible, selfish woman who thinks of no one but herself.
I loved Henry Stafford her 2nd husband who was obviously treated like crap and the relationship with her last husband was basically what she deserved; cold, calculating and simply for personal gain.
In all I think it's got to be 2 stars because she's such an awful, selfish cow. Sep 23, Sara rated it really liked it Shelves: borrowed-from-library , historical-fiction.
Who knows what I would have thought of Margaret if I had known her, but I found her a bit unlikable. View all 4 comments. Aug 11, Anita added it Shelves: adult , romance , historical.
I am listening to this book via audio, and I can honestly say I'm not enjoying this as much as I usually enjoy Philippa Gregory's books.
This book is very political and while it involves the Court, it's not such a big part of the book. I don't think it's the writing that is bothering me though, I think it's Margaret, who is extremely arrogant and I would almost say selfish - except she does show some compassion now and then.
She is single minded, focused on her mission. I feel like the book is m I am listening to this book via audio, and I can honestly say I'm not enjoying this as much as I usually enjoy Philippa Gregory's books.
I feel like the book is mostly a monologue, Margaret droning on how things are unfair; it's unfair her son isn't King, and how she's in captivity, and things just never seem to work out her way Actually, I did find it amusing when her own husband questioned whether she could hear God's will, or whether she could only hear her own.
At least he's honest with himself, he knows he plays the fence. I really think that Margaret is completely oblivious to the fact that she is acting for her own purposes.
I found some of this book interesting, but for the most part, it dragged. It was way too repetitive, even by Gregory's previous theme-repeating standards.
Lancaster heir, blah blah I ended up skim-reading the second half of this b I found some of this book interesting, but for the most part, it dragged.
I ended up skim-reading the second half of this book as the persistent rants and rambles just wore me down. Philippa Gregory is such a hit and miss author.
This is my eighth book by her; my ratings range from two stars to five. Oct 20, Natasa rated it really liked it Shelves: elizabeth-of-york , from-book-to-film-tv-show , margaret-beaufort , owned-books , wars-of-the-roses , margaret-of-anjou , elizabeth-woodville , anne-neville , henry-vii.
In a time when women had little power or control in their lives, Margaret maneuvers through family situations and courtly infighting.
Jul 17, Aretha melina rated it it was amazing Shelves: favorites , historica-romance. And I am so appalled by others who gave this book only one star.
This book deserves more than one star. This book is about a magnificent woman who survives abusive parents, relationships, separation with her son and triumph against all odds.
Brought up by a mother who dislikes her and constantly thinks of her more as a nuisance and a misfortune to her than a daughter who deserves to be loved and cared for; young Margaret beauford grown to be a dev this is one of the best book by Philippa Gregory.
Brought up by a mother who dislikes her and constantly thinks of her more as a nuisance and a misfortune to her than a daughter who deserves to be loved and cared for; young Margaret beauford grown to be a devout christian woman.
She dreams to become a nun, however her unloving mother forced her to be married at the age of only 12 years old. Forced to be wedded to a man more than ten years older than she is, she becomes a vessel to provide an heir to him.
She is more like a means to an end. Nobody cares of her, nobody ever loves her and nobody believes that she could be more than just an ordinary woman.
As her mother keeps telling her she is a woman, that is why she could not choose her own destiny.
Pregnant at such a very young age, she gave birth to her one and only son Henry at the age of The birthing process was very terrible and difficult, added to that her own mother told the midwife to sacrifice her should there be any choices between her and that of the unborn child, only her child could be spared.
Her first husband was dead and she was forced to be married off for the second time. She was forced to endure a separation with her beloved child and left him under the care of his uncle.
Married off for the second time, she found solace and peace with her second husband. However, her peace was disturbed by the coming war against her house and royal family.
She was forced to put her loyalty to the other houses such as York. Born as a loyal lancaster, it was hard to do so. She was forced to give up her son under the care of loyalist york.
Many will think of her as a bitch and a wicked woman. However, I am not agree. She is loyal to her house , she fights for her son's right for the throne.
She was right to do so for her son has a royal claim. She did anything that a loyalist did, she fought with her smart mind and brilliant political attitude.
It is right that at time she could be annoying such as when she tried to force her second husband to join the war. However, it is hard to blame her to do so, because it is only right for the loyalist to fight for their king.
People often misrepresents her christian devout as narcissism attitude. But, this is not right, she just a girl and later a woman who has nothing but her faith to God.
She was robbed of her inheritance by the loyalist York, she was robbed of her son, she was robbed of her position and the most terrible of them all she was forced to endure the humiliation and the killing of her families.
She did what any woman in her position would do. It is not wrong of her to despise elizabeth woodville, for she is represents the very thing that has been unfairly taken from her: honor, position, properties and the most important thing is the happiness of being a mother.
Elizabeth did not have to endure terrible marriage, she came from common background yet she secured the position that of a queen, she could live with her children.
This book is a story of a mother who long for her son. Who fights for her son's right, and a woman who fights to find happiness.
It is a story of survival in a harsh world Jun 02, Julia rated it really liked it Shelves: literature-fiction. This one I really could not put down--primarily because Margaret Beaufort is one of the most appalling characters I have ever met.
Next to her, Elizabeth Woodville seems like a true queen. In her defense, Margaret is given in marriage to Edmund Tudor at the young age of 12; he simply wants a son and treats her brutally.
Edmund's b WOW. Edmund's brother Jasper is kind to her, and throughout the book, he remains the man she could have loved, if her own distorted piety and lust for power had not formed her character.
The description of the birth of her son, when she is only 13, makes it clear what victims women were in these times--indeed, Henry Tudor was the only child she had.
Margaret, who idolizeds Joan of Arc, transfers her holy obsessions to her son, claiming that "God" has decided Henry will be King of England.
I don't think your God has ever advised you otherwise. You hear only what you want. He only ever commands your preferences.
And of course, as such egomaniacs do, she chooses to blame others. At one point she says: "Elizabeth Woodville is to blame for everything.
Since "history" offers conjectures on all this, she has the right to select which possibility she will choose. She has chosen to have a more sympathetic view of Richard III, but we can never know the truth.
I'm not sure why this book drew me, since I'm usually only interested in books that have characters with whom I can empathize.
Perhaps a part of me sympathizes with a young girl who just wanted to go to a convent and lead a holy life--but instead was forced to become a child bride and mother.
Jul 04, Angelc rated it really liked it Shelves: already-own-read. Margaret Beaufort isn't really a likable heroine. She was so stiff and unemotional, it was hard for me to relate to her.
This criticism isn't against the author, it's just what you have to deal with in historical fiction based on real life.
When Margaret was a child, her prickliness was actually cute. And how can you not laugh when she rejoices at her knees being callused from kneeling in prayer, calling them 'Saint's Knees.
And the scene where she has her baby, Henry Tudor, is heartbreaking because her own mother tells the midwife to save the baby at the expense of Margaret.
So, I do understand that she has had a hard life and has felt unloved. However, it seemed like she only cared about her son for what he could do for her-make her the mother of a King.
Some of the interaction between Margaret and her brother-in-law Jasper Tudor was really romantic, but neither of them really went the extra mile to be together.
I really started to get frustrated with Margaret at her careless treatment of her second husband, Henry Stafford.
He was never anything but nice to her and gave her a very comfortable life. But she was always mean to him and acted like she was disappointed in him because he lacked her all-consuming ambition.
The story was fast and intriguing. I was surprised I stayed so interested because I had just finished reading The White Queen-which dealt with the same time period and events from a different perspective.
I think readers will be fascinated by Margaret's story even if she isn't the most endearing heroine. View all 5 comments.
Nov 26, Misfit rated it liked it Shelves: get-it-from-the-library. View all 51 comments. Nov 14, Brian rated it it was ok. This showed up in the local library, so I thought I'd give it a whirl.
I wonder if it was Ms Gregory's deliberate intention to portray a 'heroine' so unlikeable that I could not find a single redeeming feature in her?
I mean, I am not exactly Margaret Beaufort's leading fan, not by a very long way, but if someone paid me a substantial sum to write a novel about her, I am pretty sure I could find some positive aspects to her character.
In fact, I know I could. This novel almost made me feel This showed up in the local library, so I thought I'd give it a whirl.
This novel almost made me feel sorry for the poor woman - not as a result of the characterisation, but because I felt her 'case' could have been made much more attractive.
It's good to bring religion in - it was a religious age - but I'm not sure Margaret was in any way 'odd' in this regard.
Touching on this, I was bewildered by her apparent admiration for Joan of Arc. That was what her religious superiors would have told her Joan was, and it would also have been a matter of absolute orthodoxy among the English secular nobility, if only for political reasons.
So where did Margaret get her dissenting opinion from - Private Eye? Now, a bit of pedant stuff. She retained this title through her subsequent marriages because it was the highest ranking.
Yet in this novel which is written first-person she does not, instead referring to herself by such unlikely titles as 'Lady Margaret Stanley'.
Sorry, to many people this will not matter, but to me it grated like hell, especially as Margaret the character was so damned up herself about her rank and who she was.
Mar 14, Virag rated it liked it. Read a while ago, and I loved it at the time, but if I read it again I'd probably not like it as much.
I don't remember much of the story, besides the fact that Margaret was quite bitchy, but I kind of enjoyed that because my middle-school self couldn't quite grasp that cruelty does not equal amusing.
So if you're reading my review and thinking "Wtf is wrong with her, this book is freaking horrible! Much slower than Gregory's other books that I have read, in part because you are revisiting many of the same events from the last book, The White Queen.
Read much like a memoir of a pompous, cold woman with ambition being her nucleus and what she loved above all else. Having just read The White Queen and feeling attached to Elizabeth Woodville both mother and daughter , you feel like someone is picking a fight with one of your friends every time Margaret calls either a who 3 stars - It was good.
Having just read The White Queen and feeling attached to Elizabeth Woodville both mother and daughter , you feel like someone is picking a fight with one of your friends every time Margaret calls either a whore.
A sneak peak into her mind from Gregory's vision of course : God cannot really want these women to lead peaceful, happy lives while my son is in exile.
It cannot be His will. He must want justice, He must want to see them punished, He must want to see their downfall. He must long for the burning of the brand.
He must desire the scent of the smoke of their sacrifice. And, God knows, I would be His willing instrument if He would just put the weapon in my obedient hand.
It is no comfort to me that I despise the court, that I never loved my husband, and that my son was born only to fulfill my destiny, and if he cannot do that, I don't know what use we are to each other.
Of course, this is in part why I really enjoy Gregory's books. She makes historical figures come to life and feel more real than they ever do in textbooks.
In summary, from this point forward whenever I read about anything atrocious or cruel that was done by my favorite scandalous rascal, Henry VIII, I shall remember that he came by it honestly A vessel, for the bearing of sons, for one nobleman or another: it hardly matters who.
First Sentence: The light of the open sky is brilliant after the darkness of the inner rooms. It gives me a better understanding of the story. Basically, we follow the same events that took place in the second book The White Queen but in this book we look at the events from a different perspective.
From God's perspective and his will! Lol, of course not, God has nothing to do here but our heroine, Margaret Beaufort thinks that all her desires, wishes, and ambitions are god's well.
How convenient it is to use God's Rating: 4. How convenient it is to use God's name or will as an excuse to do all rights and wrongs. This is what our heroine Margaret was doing and many other people from our times still do like George W.
Bush when he was asked why he invaded Iraq he said: "because God told me to do so! I think most of the negative ratings for this book are because of the main protagonist and not because of the writing or the story.
I loved this book and the writing. I still think the main characters of the first and second books were more likable to the readers than this one.
I did not hate her, but I did not root for her. Yes, I have felt the hardships that she went through at young age, but I think one of the main reasons why Margaret turned up like this because of her mother.
Her mother was a lady with a mission and the daughter turned up like her unknowingly! I think the last 25 pages might not appeal to some readers as it focuses on the final battle between Richard and Henry Tudor.
I think those are the only pages we d0nt read things from Margaret's perspective until the end where she is informed about the battle result.
The book is really good. Reading them in this sequence gives you a much better understanding of the story.
Started reading this on Kindle on 9th September. Margaret was married at 12 and had her son at 13 yrs old. The horror of the high risk of dying in childbirth was relevant to all women as was a wife's position as a possession of her husband.
Well written from Margaret's point of view. A scary believer in 'God's will' as long as that coincided with her ambition for her son's destiny.
A good companion to T Started reading this on Kindle on 9th September. Re reading Dec to 12th January After challenging Hon. Subjected to killcraft training, exposed to numerous executions, and discouraged from becoming allies or lovers, the two find themselves engaged in a fatal competition but equally determined to fight corruption and cruelty.
The vivid and often violent action unfolds slowly, anchored in complex worldbuilding and propelled by political machinations and existential musings.
The futuristic post— MidMerican world is both dystopia and utopia, free of fear, unexpected death, and blatant racism—multiracial main characters discuss their diverse ethnic percentages rather than purity—but also lacking creativity, emotion, and purpose.
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