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  • Daisy Paterson

The Red Queen review

Second in the famous Philippa Gregory's series, this book interested me from the start. It led me to see the other side of the wars of the roses clearly and captivatingly. It was incredibly interesting whilst remaining gripping and a book I didn't wan't to stop reading!

The novel is based on Margaret Beaufort, Heiress to the red rose of Lancaster. She has her child, Henry VI, who, from his birth, she believes that the will of God is that he will be King and restore the Lancastrian line, against what she believed, is the wrongly royal house of York (which is what the White queen, the first novel in the series, is more focused on)


The plot of this book is based on the true events and lives of the tudors and Margaret Beaufort herself, but obviously events are exaggerated to enhance the reader even more, however, this didn't make it lose its sophistication in the plot and I felt I did retain important information about the lives of both Henry VI and his mother Margaret Beaufort, along with Edward IV and Richard III, who follows Edwards reign after he dies. The plot largely focused on how religious Margaret Beaufort was, which exaggerated the power of ambition through religion, specially in the Tudor times. What I also found interesting about interesting through the novel, which Gregory portrayed incredibly well, was the lack of trust anyone had for anyone, rightly so, due to the expansive lengths of betrayal that occurred regularly. It was clever in the way that portrayed all the characters frames of mind, without giving too much individual detail, but keeping the reader easily understanding what each characters motives were and their individual reasoning behind it.


The book was mostly in first person, narrated by Margaret Beaufort. This exaggerated Beauforts dedication to religion due to her frequent mention of following God's will, whatever it takes, to get her son, Henry VI on the thrown. The vocabulary was both not too advanced while remaining sophisticated, but anyone over 13 could read this novel with not much trouble. The writing style was captivating and never boring, keeping me as a reader enhanced as to what will happen next.


Like the first novel of the series, 'The White Queen', this series is a great introduction to both people and life of the tudor times. I feel understanding of both sides of the wars of the roses is more than before reading this novel, learning about reasoning for both the house of York and the house of Lancaster's desire to take the thrown and restore the country. The constant lack of peace and constant hovering tension is something I took away from the novel, with also reasons as to why this was the case. It is a must-read for anyone interested in the tudors, however I do recommend reading The White Queen first, in order for the reader to see both sides of the battle to take the thrown, as each novel is very biased towards their own side, which is incredibly clever, as once you've read both, you can assure your own judgement on the justification of both sides in the battle to overthrow the other.


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