Tuesday, January 11, 2011

Book Review: The Red Queen

Image taken from here
As an avid reader of historical fiction, and royalty fiction (Tudors are my fave) in particular, I have always been a fan of Philippa Gregory's books.  I have read every book on the Tudor royal line she has written and now that she has begun writing about the War of the Roses or the Cousins' War, I have read the two books in the series thus far:  The White Queen and most recently, The Red Queen.  I devoured this entire book on my flight back from California a week ago.  It was that engrossing!

The Red Queen features a very strong woman in a time when men made most of the decisions.  Margaret of the House of Lancaster, with the few advantages at her disposal such as her wits, political savvy, marriage, friendship and motherhood, is able to position her son as a contender to be the next King of England.   The novel contains quite a bit of political maneuvering, intrigue and suspense, something that I as a political science major, enjoyed immensely. 

One of the reasons I like Philippa Gregory's books is because she gives voice to women who lived in a time where their voices were a lot weaker and less heard than they are today.  In reading, and in the process, reliving the struggles women at the time went through, I become much more grateful for the freedoms and opportunities I have today!

The Red Queen felt much more real in a historical sense than The White Queen, which could be attributed to the fact that the White Queen, Elizabeth, traces her familial roots to a water goddess and attributes some of the actions in the novel to that of the water goddess.  To be fair, I am much more of a fan of historical fiction than fantasy fiction, so others may not find the same faults in The White Queen as I did.

Subconsciously perhaps I enjoyed the Lancaster novel (The Red Queen) more because according to family legend, my mom's paternal grandfather and great-uncle Bishop John Lancaster Spalding (my great-great uncle) can trace their lineage back to the House of Lancaster and Richard III.  As evidenced by number 62 on my 130 list, I am really interested in genealogy and would love to discover more about my Lancaster (and other) connections!

Overall, both "Queens" are great historical novels.  I recommend reading them both as it was fun to read about the same political events during the War of the Roses as told from two very different perspectives! 

I would love to hear from any readers out there who have read The Red Queen or any of Philippa Gregory's books (I have not read her Wideacre trilogy yet).  Do you like her novels?  Which one is your favorite?


  1. I LOVE Philippa Gregory! I haven't read this one yet...it's on my list! My favorite is a toss up between The Queen's Fool and The Constant Princess.

  2. Poekitten: I love both of those! I am hoping/assuming you saw The Other Boleyn Girl...wasn't the book so much better than the movie? Thanks for stopping by!


Thanks for finding my blog and taking the time to leave a comment!

I try to respond to everyone's comments either below your comment itself or through email. Please be sure to link your email address to your account so we can chat!