The Red Queen

Philippa Gregory, Author
Philippa Gregory, Touchstone, $25.99 (448p) ISBN 978-1-4165-6372-3
Reviewed on: 05/03/2010
Release date: 08/01/2010
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 unequalled energy, focus, and unwavering execution. (Aug.)
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