- I’m a huge Philippa Gregory fan.
- The War of the Roses is a fascinating time period to me.
Summary from GoodReads:
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.
In Philippa Gregory’s The White Queen, we are introduced to Elizabeth Woodville – and as I read the book I grew hugely sympathetic to her. While I didn’t find the story as easy of a read as some of Gregory’s other novels, my interest was still captured by this seemingly “common” woman who became queen, bore child after child and lived through so much tragedy.
Enter now The Red Queen and Margaret Beaufort. Everything Elizabeth was, Margaret was not. Kind, compassionate, loving – none of these things, but who could blame her, honestly? She was married away for the first time at age 12 despite expressing a desire to join the church. She was forced to bear a child at the tender age of 13 and lived through a horrific birth to do so. Then..married away again after the death of her first husband, she was forced to leave her son behind. This was the life of a woman in these days and it’s no wonder that Margaret turned to a female as her inspiration – specifically Joan of Arc.
Throughout this book I tried to sympathize with her, and I think I did so when she was younger. But as she aged, as she matured, she became this horrible, bitter person and all I felt was a growing disgust at what I was reading. Just when I’d go to put the book down, feeling the urge to wash my hands or.. something cleansing, I’d ask myself: What would I have done?
After all, this is a woman who’s son was denied his birthright, who lived through husband after husband, was denied what she desired most and spent her entire life in a world of intrigue, betrayal and pain.
Like The White Queen, this book isn’t as easy to read as Gregory’s other novels, but it’s stuffed full of information on battles, on betrayals and on the politics between the two battling families, the Yorks and the Lancasters.
Check out these review(s):