Wednesday 18 August 2010

Review: The Red Queen - Philippa Gregory

The Cousins War, book 2

Genre: Historical Fiction
Published: August 19th 2010 Simon and Schuster UK
Pages: 432

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.

First, I seriously disliked this woman, That Beaufort woman as I called her in my head. Secondly, this was another great story by Gregory. She sure has an easy way of writing.

Margaret is pious, and as a child she is thrilled to have Saint's knees from kneeling so much. She wants to be like Joan of Arc, and lead her country to victory, she wants to be a nun and go to a convent. And she believes god put her on this earth to be queen. If anyone is hungry for power it is her. She longs to sign her name as Margaret R, for Regina, that is queen. How this goes together for her dream of becoming a nun I do not know. She is a power hungry woman who will kill children if they stand in her way. 

Even though I liked the book this was my problem. Her faith, she saw it that God wanted a Lancaster on the throne, she saw fault in all the Yorks cos of this. She saw fault in her own husband when he didn't want to fight for Lancaster and she called him a coward. Even though her beloved Jasper Tudor fled the country like a coward and left her and his nephew behind. But he was never a coward. She was cold, and I finished this book by a disliking her..a lot!

That being said, this was a good novel. The pages just flew by cos Gregory has this easy way of writing. Things move along (most of the time), and no concern for any dry facts. It's light fiction, and after reading The White Queen is was interesting to see the war of the roses from the Lancaster side.

And now to make my point clear, I may be over 500 years too late, but I do believe I find myself to be a Yorkist, lol. And to my horror, I doesn't dislike Richard III any more, he was barely in this book and still, yes I am a Yorkist. I even made my mind up as to who killed the princes in the tower.

This book had some good side characters, I liked Henry Stafford, her 2nd husband, but felt so sorry for him for being hazzled by her. Jasper Tudor, I want to read a book about him, and last Lord Stanley who she met her match in. He followed his path, and that was the winning path.

Blodeuedd's Cover Corner: Quite the different from the white queen and this suits her.
Reason for reading: From the publisher.
Final thoughts: I guess I am looking forward to Elizabeth of York's story then.
Grade: 3,5, would have given more if I hadn't disliked Margaret so much


  1. Excellent and fun review as usual! Now I really need to read the White Queen!

  2. Great review! This is a great time period to read about. You made good points about, especially on the bad side. You're a Yorkie then? Cool;)

  3. Thanks for the sounds like you had a love/hate relationship with this book! lol
    I've been hoping to read these books-I haven't read anything by Gregory yet.

  4. I think I should put Gregory's books on my reading list. They're historical fiction centering on female characters; I think I'd really like that - plus, one of the first Shakespeare plays I read was Richard III and I loved getting into the history behind it, of the War of the Roses.

    Thanks for this review!

  5. I agree with a lot of what you said!! Great review!!

    Poor Henry Stafford!! She was so mean to him!

  6. I really enjoyed The White Queen but I've heard some mixed reviews on this new one. I'll probably read it one day. Great review!

  7. I still haven't read anything by Gregory. At this point, I may never. Good review, though, and I dislike the Red Queen too, even without reading the story.

  8. "That Beaufort woman" That is now how I will think of her whenever I see her name! Love it. You are too funny. Thanks you for the wonderful review.

  9. Staci
    yes do! I liked Elizabeth Woodville and Edward, even though he fooled around, but he was just so lovable.

    I do like this period, everyone kept changing side, it was a bloody mess.
    And yes I am proud to say I would wear the white rose of York ;)

    I did, I liked the book, I disliked the person portrayed. But then I find it hard to believe that anyone would like her

  10. I'm counting myself Yorkist too, lol :) There's so few books about Margaret Beaufort that I have to read this because of that alone...

  11. HKatz
    That is sure what I like, to see history to the eyes of women, and not just the kings or noblemen around the kings. And the era is truly fascinating

    I know! At one time I just wanted to shout, stop being nice to her. She could be put into prison for her words and you're covering for her :(

    She was just so religious and that whole Joan thing..well, it was the same thing with the White queen so I am sure you'd like it

  12. Carol,
    yes she wasn't that nice.
    Come one, at least one Gregory novel ;)

    Lol, glad you liked it. And yes that Beaufort woman, haha.

  13. Elysium
    Wohoo, one more for the York cause :)
    So true, it should be read cos she doesn't have many books, and I do think that some might portray her in an ever worse light

  14. I enjoyed this book too. It was interesting to see the Lancaster side of the story, after reading about the York perspective in The White Queen. I also felt sorry for Henry Stafford. He deserved better than Margaret!

  15. this one sounds good. I need to read The White Queen, and this one too.
    great review! This author does have a wonderful way of weaving stories full of drama, romance, and betrayal.

  16. Helen,
    That it was sure, I do like two look at things from both points of view.
    And poor Henry, if I had lived then I would have loved to have a nice husband like he was

    Oh yes romance, drama, she does have a gift with all that. I really should read those Tudor novels too, but I am not so happy about the 16th century

    Lol, yes we are crazy!!

  17. Have you ever read the sunne in splendour by Sharon Penman? After that I sure was a yorkist for life.


  18. okay, Blodeuedd, give . . . who really killed the princes?? Inquiring minds want to know. I liked The White Queen, not loved it, but liked it a lot. Gregory tells a good story. Fantastic review!

  19. I'm going to recommend this book to a friend who enjoys historical novels.

    Nice review Yorkist!

  20. Mieke
    First, love the Royo pic you have :)
    Nope, never read Penman, but I guess I should.

    Now if I told you then the secret would be out ;) Anyway I am sure to show my mind later, but I do feel it was the lancaster side, it was...

    Lol, thanks, and yes do

  21. I don't know..I'm on the fence about this one. Thanks for the review.



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