Philippa Gregory’s The Red Queen.


Heiress to the red rose of Lancaster, Margaret Beaufort never surrenders her belief that her house is the true ruler of England and that she has a great destiny before her. Her ambitions are disappointed when her sainted cousin Henry VI fails to recognize her as a kindred spirit, and she is even more dismayed when he sinks into madness. Her mother mocks her plans, revealing that Margaret will always be burdened with the reputation of her father, one of the most famously incompetent English commanders in France. But worst of all for Margaret is when she discovers that her mother is sending her to a loveless marriage in remote Wales.

Married to a man twice her age, quickly widowed, and a mother at only fourteen, Margaret is determined to turn her lonely life into a triumph. She sets her heart on putting her son on the throne of England regardless of the cost to herself, to England, and even to the little boy. Disregarding rival heirs and the overwhelming power of the York dynasty, she names him Henry, like the king; sends him into exile; and pledges him in marriage to her enemy Elizabeth of York’s daughter. As the political tides constantly move and shift, Margaret charts her own way through another loveless marriage, treacherous alliances, and secret plots. She feigns loyalty to the usurper Richard III and even carries his wife’s train at her coronation.

 Widowed a second time, Margaret marries the ruthless, deceitful Thomas, Lord Stanley, and her fate stands on the knife-edge of his will. Gambling her life that he will support her, she then masterminds one of the greatest rebellions of the time—all the while knowing that her son has grown to manhood, recruited an army, and now waits for his opportunity to win the greatest prize.  

In a novel of conspiracy, passion, and cold-hearted ambition, number one bestselling author Philippa Gregory has brought to life the story of a proud and determined woman who believes that she alone is destined, by her piety and lineage, to shape the course of history.

Philippa Gregory is moving up to list to becoming one of my favorite authors. It’s hard not to enjoy her attention to historical detail mixed with just enough fiction that keeps you hanging on and wanting more.

Margaret Beaufort is a character that is easily hated, but overlooking her flaws for the actions she’s taken for the love of her child came easily for me. The relationship between her and her only child was nothing short of extraordinary. She’s a headstrong individual, on a destined path of purpose—at least in her mind, that changes a nation.

I have to say as one who is not a fan of historical stories, this reader has definitely had a change in heart with reading Ms. Gregory’s Red Queen. It is a story filled with battle scenes, and great history all while showing what a young mother dedicated to her son’s future, would do to make him king.   

The Red Queen is a fast-moving read giving another take at the War of the Roses and the rise of the Tudors.

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