The Well-Read Historian: The Red Queen by Philippa Gregory

Review by Carla Charter

Although I am a curious and voracious historical non-fiction reader when summer rolls around, I sometimes take a break by falling into a historical fiction novel as an escape and did I ever find an escape this summer.

The escape started when one night, I found myself watching the Spanish Princess with my older son, an adaption of one of Philippa Gregory’s books.  Earlier in the summer I had coincidentally picked up one of her other novels, The Red Queen, at a used book sale.  It sat on my to be read bookshelf just waiting to be opened. Having finished my latest read and curious if this book was as good as the television show I had just watched, I picked up the Red Queen and began to read.

Within the first several pages I found myself tumbling head first into the 1400’s as seen through the eyes of Margaret Beaufort, a religiously devout royal, who believed that her life aligned with the life of Joan of Arc. Beaufort during her first marriage gives birth to a son, Henry the heir to the Lancaster line. Through the book, Mary’s life story, through her marriages and her determination tells of the larger battles of the Cousins war and her personal battle to bring Henry to the throne.

The words on these pages quickly turning into scenes in your mind. This book, through battles, spies and turncoats will leave you turning pages until late into the night.  If you are looking for a summer read and want to time travel back to the days of the beginning of the Tudor reign, I strongly recommend The Red Queen. I promise it will be a read that is difficult to put down.