The Red Queen: Book summary and reviews of The Red Queen by Philippa Gregory

The Red Queen

A Novel

By Philippa Gregory

The Red Queen
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  • Published in USA  Aug 2010,
    400 pages.

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Book Summary

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.

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Reviews

Media Reviews

"Nobody does the Tudors better than Gregory... Gregory puts her many imitators to shame by dint of unequalled energy, focus, and unwavering execution." - Publishers Weekly

"Like Gregory's other historicals, excellent characterization and a well-researched story will hold the interest of readers, especially fans of the Tudor dynasty." - Library Journal

"With constant pronouncements about Margaret’s God-given destiny, the approach isn’t exactly subtle, but Gregory’s vivid, confident storytelling makes this devout and ruthlessly determined woman a worthy heroine for her time." - Booklist

"Gregory once again demonstrates her flair for dramatizing history." - Kirkus

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Author Information

Philippa Gregory Author Biography

Philippa Gregory was an established historian and writer when she discovered her interest in the Tudor period and wrote the novel The Other Boleyn Girl, which was made into a TV drama, and a major film. Now, six novels later, she is looking at the family that preceded the Tudors: the magnificent Plantaganets, a family of complex rivalries, loves, and hatreds. She lives with her family on a small farm in Yorkshire where she keeps horses, hens and ducks.

Her other great interest is the charity that she founded nearly twenty years ago: Gardens for The Gambia. She has raised funds and paid for 140 wells in the primary schools of this very dry and poor African country, and thousands of school children have been able to learn market gardening in the school gardens watered by the wells. The ...

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