Follow my blog!

Sunday, August 22, 2010

My review of The Red Queen by Phillipa Gregory - with bonus GIVEAWAY!

To enter for a chance to win a copy of this book simply post a comment regarding why you want to read this book. Do you enjoy reading about the different English dynasties and the struggles for the throne? I find that subject fascinating. So post a comment and when I get twenty individual comments I will pick a winner. So don't waste any time. :) Tell your friends, too.

The Red Queen: A Novel (The Cousins' War)

About the book:

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 center 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 to 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.

My review:

The Red Queen by Ms. Gregory was very well done in that the characters felt real to me and the setting pulled me into the past. While the story was a bit long, the novelization of the struggle between the Yorks and Lancasters was necessarily drawn out. The number of times the throne switched hands, or important people were at risk of being killed because they were on the wrong side at the moment, was staggering. I enjoyed the way the author pulled history into this book and made it come alive.

I found the details of Margaret's three marriages fascinating and incredibly sad. I hurt for her and wished that somehow she could have found happiness, but it wasn't meant to be. Over time she just became more bitter. She wasn't taken seriously and was seen as a means to an end, nothing more. I found the way her first husband was portrayed as a child rapist (though he was begrudgingly fulfilling his duty to have an heir,) the second as a coward, and the third as a scheming two-timer quite compelling. Each marriage had a purpose, and while Margaret suffered during each union, she learned a lot in the process.

I appreciated that the battle scenes were not overly gross. There were plenty of disgusting details of war without being over the top. I felt bad for all of the people getting their heads chopped off as it was. I loved how the author portrayed Lady Margaret's firm conviction that it was God's will that her son Henry become king. Based on her painful life up to that point, it made sense that she would put everything she had into seeing him fulfill his destiny (which she believed was the reason he was born,) and then her suffering would be for a good reason and not just cruel luck. I found her religious zeal interesting, too. She really believed she was favored by God because she prayed all the time. It caused her to be too proud of herself, and quite arrogant.

Of course, the Yorks felt that they were destined for the throne as well. Since King Henry had lost his mind the author made a compelling case for why fear overruled loyalty. I just felt bad for the common English person who fought for either side and the many lives lost over the right of one family or the other to rule England. This was the first book by Ms. Gregory that I've read and it won't be the last. I have The White Queen and plan to read it in the next year.

This novel was provided for me to review by Touchstone Fireside (A division of Simon and Schuster, a CBS company.) I was given no compensation other than receiving the book to review for free. The Red Queen was released on August 3, 2010.


Compelling read

22 comments:

Barbara E Brink said...

I read so many books about Queens and England when I was a teenager that I think I started talking with an accent. I still have a fondness for the genre, although I haven't read any lately. I loved the movies about Queen Elizabeth that Cate Blanchett starred in. I've been looking at this book online at B&N, thinking about getting it on my Nook, but haven't yet. I guess I'll just cross my fingers and see if I win it instead:)

Anonymous said...

I read The Innocent Traitor by her a couple years ago and really enjoyed it. This one sounds interesting and I enjoyed your review. -Rinda Hahn

Tracy Krauss said...

I would definitely love a chance to win this book. I was actually looking at it just yesterday while in a book store (I was about to do a book signing) and then decided I needed to curb my book buying for a bit.

Tracy Krauss said...

I would definitely love a chance to win this book. I was actually looking at it just yesterday while in a book store (I was about to do a book signing) and then decided I needed to curb my book buying for a bit.

Anonymous said...

I would love to win this book! I love stories about royalty.

prov3111 @ ymail.com

Charlotte Schofield

Debra E. Marvin said...

I've never read a Phillipa Gregory that I did not like. Dramatizing real people and actual events takes a strong writer and she always delivers. I'm glad you reminded me this is the second of this series. I haven't read the previous one either.

I've been eying this one at the Kindle store. Thanks, Debra

debraemarvin (at) yahoo

Trish Perry said...

Oh, honey, you KNOW I'd love to win this book. Phillipa Gregory is one of my favorites. I read your review with one eye open, Michelle, because I hate knowing too much about a story before I read it. Thanks for not giving too much away.

windycindy said...

What a fabulous book giveaway!
I enjoy reading about the time
period, royalty and the lifestyle
of the English dynasties!
Many thanks, Cindi
jchoppes[at]hotmail[dot]com

Carol M said...

I've heard that Phillipa Gregory's books are very good. I'd love to read this one. I'm just now starting to get interested in all the books that are being written about the English dynasties.
mittens0831 at aol dot com

karenk said...

i've read many positive reviews re: this novel...even one in the sunday paper. thanks for the chance to read this novel.

karenk
kmkuka at yahoo dot com

Anonymous said...

I just bought the White Queen (for half price and it was the one copy left.) so I definitely want to read the Red Queen. The only books on English Royality were from the library. I am not familiar with the history behind either book except for what I have read on the internet.

Hoping............



CarolNWong(at)aol(dot)com

Anonymous said...

any good book l can get my dirty little paws on for free is a good book to read! Percy ;)

Karen said...

I appreciate that you stated that the battle scenes were not overly gross. I too enjoy books and movies about this era, yet all too often the blood and gore are too much for me to handle. This will be added to my wishlist;)

Martha Lawson said...

I love Miss Gregory's books. I have been wanting this one for awile now!! Please put my name in the hat for it.. Thaks for the great giveaway.

mlawson17 at hotmail dot com

Lee Smith said...

I'm interested in and enjoy learning about this time period and have heard good things about the series so I'd love to be entered in this contest. {Plus - no book budget lol}

leesmithwriting at yahoo dot com

Bobbie said...

I was looking at this book the other day. Since my daughter was in a hurry I passed on buying. Thanks for the wonderful giveaway.

Michelle V said...

Oh I have really been wanting to read this book! I love reading about all different Kings and Queens of the past. It is fascinating to me!

Blessings
Michelle V
michellevasquez2001[at]yahoo[dot]com

Kelly McCann said...

Well written review--I will put it on my list!_
Kelly McCann

sherryd said...

I love the English Dynasties!!!

Stumbeline said...

Great review, Michelle. I'd love to read this book. I've always been intrigued by struggles for the throne.

Thanks for offering a giveaway. iamstumbeline(at)yahoo(dot)com

Molly(Buukluvr81) said...

I would love to enter this please! I love this era and the feeling I get of traveling back in time and feeling apart of the dynasties! Please consider this my entry!

Thanks!
Molly
Mollydedwards AT yahoo DOT com

Michelle Sutton said...

and the winner is...

Rinda Hahn!!!

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...

Share this post

Bookmark and Share