Sunday, August 5, 2012

Book Review: The Red Queen

Title: The Red Queen
Author: Philippa Gregory
Genre: Historical fiction

First sentence reads: the light of the open sky is brilliant after the darkness of the inner rooms.

Rating: 4.5/5

Now I know the reason behind Phillipa Gregory's bestsellers, history comes alive in her writing. It was an engrossing read and it took me two days to finish the book.

Margaret Beaufort is a pious child born into the House of Lancaster. The house that was ruling England at that time under Kind Henry IV. A child who thinks she is born to fulfill a certain destiny, a calling and that is to be the queen of England and to sign her name as Margaret Regina.

She is sent off by her mother to be married to the Tudor house, with Edmund of Wales. She gives birth to a son, whom she names Henry after the King. Good times were fast changing for the Lancaster house when the King falls into a long spell of madness and the queen Margaret of Anjou is threatened by the presence of  the house of York. Margaret falls further into troubled times when her husband and guardian Edmund dies in battle, leaving her with her son and protective brother-in-law jasper. 

Praying hard to know that there's more to her life than just re-marrying, she determines to put her son on the throne. Guided by the believe that her house is the sole true ruler of England and her religiousness Margaret plans the plot to guide her son to the throne regardless of any obstacles. 

I found Margaret determinations and ambition fascinating. She is a courageous woman, a woman who knows she is on the  path of righteousness and glory for herself and her house. Her numerous failures were humorous at times and just proves that this is one woman who waits for the right time to shine. It was a brilliant story and though Margaret may not be right all the time, the readers would tend to stick with her cause and see how far she would go to make her dream come true. The other characters in the novel were equally fascinating to read about, the cowardly second husband, Margaret's 3rd husband, nicknamed the fox, who's loyalty is nonexistent and pledges his support to the winning side always and also Jasper the battle hardened brother-in-law.

Favourite quotes

~ I am not yet ten years old; but I have saints' knees. This has got to count for something, whatever my old lady governess may say to my mother about excessive and theatrical devotion. I have saints' knees. ~

~ She raises her eyebrows at my ringing emphasis. 'They wont like it', she says, and she goes out of the room to tell my brother-in-law Jasper that the girl is being stuborn and will not name her son for her dead husband, but has chosen her own name for him and will not be dissuaded. 
I lie back against the pillows again and close my eyes. my boy will be Henry Tudor, whatever anyone says.

~ 'King Richard may appear to be my master, but don't forget your son and his ambitions, and he is only one step from the throne this morning, and my beloved stepson as always.'
'But which side are you on?' I demand in frustration, as his men mount their horses and raise his banner.
'The winning side,' he says with a short laugh, and thumps his chest in a salute to me, like a soldier and is gone. ~

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