Sunday, November 14, 2010

Review: The Red Queen - Philippa Gregory

Nobody does the Tudors better than Gregory (The Other Boleyn Girl), so it should come as no surprise that her latest–the War of the Roses as seen through the eyes of Henry VII’s mother –is confident, colorful, convincing, and full of conflict, betrayal, and political maneuvering. Gregory gives readers Margaret Beaufort in her own words, from innocent nine-year-old to conspiring courtier who stops at nothing to see her son on England’s throne. Gregory devotees will note the difference between the supernaturally gifted Yorkist White Queen and Lancastrian Margaret, who, despite saintly aspirations, grows worldly through three marriages; a powerless widow at 13, remarried and separated from her only son by 15, it is not until she’s 29 that Margaret is ready to realize her most audacious ambitions. Gregory clones have made historical novels from a woman’s perspective far too familiar to make this seem as fresh as her earlier works. Yet, like Margaret Beaufort, Gregory puts her many imitators to shame by dint of unequaled energy, focus, and unwavering execution. - Publishers Weekly
I enjoyed this book of Philippa's latest series better than The White Queen.  Both books cover the same time period, but tell the story from different perspective.  I didn't relate to Elizabeth Woodville at all.  I wasn't sympathetic towards Margaret Beaufort, but I could relate.  I was surprised that this book also lacked the court drama and intrigue and really focused on the battles and relationships made outside of the court.

I was able to read this book faster than the first book in the series as well.  I'm not sure if it was because I "knew" the basics of the story already and didn't have to follow closely the relationships of the characters. I am curious what the next perspective that Philippa might write about.


  1. I've heard from a few bloggers who felt The White Queen was a little colder, hard to get into. I might try The Red Queen first because more of the bloggers I read preferred it (although maybe I'll regret not starting the other way around?).

  2. @Audra - I don't think you would regret reading The Red Queen first. Both books cover the same story - just from different perspectives

  3. Thanks, Janel -- I think I will start with TRQ.