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The Red Queen By Ms. Gregory

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Divia
Bibliomaniac
Location: Always Cloudy, Central New York

The Red Queen By Ms. Gregory

Postby Divia » Fri August 13th, 2010, 6:41 pm

This is the second book in the series The Cousin's War. One doesn't need to read The White Queen(first in the series) to understand what happens in this novel. This is good, because I'm guessing you can read the third novel in the series without reading the second one, which I strongly suggest.

Margaret Beaufort is obsessed with Joan of Arc and religion. The reader is introduced to this in the first few pages of the novel. And then they are heavily beaten over the head with this information for the next 100 pages and then only moderately beaten over the head with it for the rest of the book.

I got it. Margaret wants to be another Joan of Arc. I also understand that Margaret is on a mission from God to put her son, Henry, on the throne. Her obsession makes her a very unlikable character and the only time I felt sorry for her is when she had to marry her first husband at a very young age.

The story that unfolds is about an uptight Margaret(who became really annoying towards the end) who is constantly praying, scheming and telling everyone she comes across she is on a mission from God. She's chaste, she's dull, and she's mean as a wet hornet.

Margaret's husbands were more entertaining than she was. I think my favorite was Lord Stanley, Margaret's last husband. He marries her only for political reasons, agrees never to have sex with her and loves to be on the winning side. He also has a knack for making her angry. For example(and I'm paraphrasing) he mocks her mission from God saying of course God would want her to become wealthy and powerful, not poor and help those who are less fortunate.

The story limps along at an unusually slow pace. The beginning had promise and then we get to the second half of the book which is dull, talks about battles, fighting, and I just don't care. There was nothing to grab my attention in this novel. But I think its the character. I didn't feel anything towards her, except dislike.

In this book Philippa Gregory manages to do what some YA historical fiction authors do, and that is leave out the details of the time period. Nothing puts my knickers in a knot faster than no historical details. There was no explanations of food, clothing..nothing. I hate that.

This is a book to be missed for all of the reasons stated above. If you are a Ms. Gregory fan and need to read the book I would loan it from the library.
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Manda Scott
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Location: Shropshire, UK
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Postby Manda Scott » Sun July 10th, 2011, 11:24 am

Yep, fully agree with the above and greatly relieved that I'm not the only person to find this book supremely dull. I've never read a Philippa Gregory before, but thought I ought to, for completeness sake. And having read "A Sunne in Splendour" many years ago, I had some idea of the opposite view point and was expecting great things - which were not delivered. There's a basic rule in writing fiction which says, 'Show, don't tell,' - it's one of several means by which a narrative can be kept lively. Having decided to tell this one in first person from a woman who spent most of her time on her knees cajoling her god into making her great, there was precious little showing a lot of telling (all the battles, all the interesting events are told to her in a rush by some passing man, usually one of her several husbands). There was no historical colour, no bite, no texture. Even her suggestion that Margaret was responsible for the deaths of the two princes in the tower, which should have been a core point of the book (and did seem very plausible) is rushed through with no emotion. Given the phenomenal list of reading at the end, I truly expected better things. It's a sad and sorry effort by someone who seems to have reached the point where she doesn't care any more what she delivers.

One to be avoided.

Manda
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Bestselling author of
Boudica: Dreaming. INTO THE FIRE out in June 2015: Forget what you thought you knew, this changes everything.

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