I’m a huge admirer of some of Philippa Gregory’s books, as witnessed by my favourite authors page. I read the precursor to this book, The White Queen in the days following Freddie’s birth and death – and it only shows how shocked I must have been because at the time because it is full of births and longing for son’s and children dying and it didn’t register at all. And it says something that now I was able to read a book that goes on endlessly about “my son” without too much of a flinch. Because The Red Queen really DOES go on.
This is the story of Margaret Beaufort, mother of Henry VII, from her girlhood through to the crowning of her son. Historically it is a good and enlightening read and Gregory knows her stuff about the Tudors. It didn’t jar linguistically the way the Weir book I referred to previously did, which had some horrendously anachronistic elements to it and the structure was simple but easy to follow and detailed enough to learn something. Some odd things; Bosworth didn’t seem to be mentioned by name and the second ‘prince in the tower’ didn’t seem to get born, but maybe I’m picky 😆
The biggest problem with this book, aside from there not being quite enough subject matter to flesh out an entire novel without much bloody religious fervour going ons and weird obsessions with Joan of Arc, was that she wasn’t likeable. Gregory has done this to me before; the character in The Wise Woman was also fairly unlike-able. So, although I’d say read the book if you want to know that era from a slightly new perspective, I’d also warn you that by the end I was so sick of Margaret’s company that frankly…. I wanted Henry to lose!