Saturday, September 4, 2010

Show Me 5 Saturday: The Red Queen by Philippa Gregory (The Cousins' War #2)

The Red Queen: A Novel (The Cousins' War)From That's A Novel Idea and Find Your Next Book Here



1 book I read: The Red Queen (The Cousins' War #2)

2 words that describe the book: Historical fiction

3 settings where it took place or characters you met:

Setting: England

Margaret Beaufort - Henry VIII's grandmother knows that she has one main purpose in life: To bear a son to assume the throne of England. And, she's not letting anyone or anything stand in the way of her ultimate goal. Although much of the book is fabricated, Gregory did a lot of research into Margaret and her court, and you can almost see the hunger in her eyes as she preens her son for the throne.

Henry VII - Margaret's son who is (If other competitors can be eliminated) next in line for the throne of England. He's young when the main battles start, but with the help of his uncle, he steps ably into the role of military commander.

4 Things you liked and/or disliked about it:

I liked Gregory's writing and everything that goes into it. Not just is her writing mechanically fabulous and easy-to-read, but she so thoroughly researches her subjects that you can't imagine that they lived any other way. She really knows how to re-create historical periods and figures.

I liked that Gregory is filling a need, of sorts, in historical fiction with this new series. She and many authors like her have tackled the Tudors and the Elizabethan era, but it's nice to see some historical fiction about this family's predecessors (Yes, I know there's other historical fiction about the Yorks and Lancasters out there, I just haven't seen as much of it as Tudor and Elizabethan historical fiction).

I didn't like that I didn't like Margaret. This is, however, a credit to Gregory's skill. Even though I found Margaret conniving and cold-hearted for the vast majority of the book (I liked Elizabeth Woodville from The White Queen much better), I still overall loved this book. That she was able to make such a repellent character the center of her novel and still make the novel enjoyable on the whole is an achievement.

I liked that, even though a lot of it is fabricated, we get to see some of the more minor, but still crucial, players in history. I'm thinking mostly about Jasper Tudor, Margaret's brother-in-law and Henry's uncle. I knew he was part of the real events, but have never looked closely enough at him as a person. Now, I want to do more research on him!

5 Stars or less for your rating?

I'm giving the book 5 stars. As always, Gregory pulls out a fabulous work of historical fiction.

The Whys and Wheres: Library

Challenges: Read 'n' Review Challenge


Mystica said...

This book is all over the blogosphere with good reviews as well. Thanks for this post.

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