The Red Queen

Title:  The Red Queen
Author:  Philippa Gregory
Genre:  Historical Fiction
400 pages
ISBN:  978-1416563723
Source:  Copy provided by publisher
Grade:  C+

Author Philippa Gregory (The Boleyn Girl, The White Queen) is rapidly becoming the Danielle Steel of historical fiction.  Her latest novel, The Red Queen, revives her same tried and true formula, this time featuring Margaret Beaufort, mother to England's King Henry VII.

Margaret's story picks up during her childhood and, in the now trademark Gregory fashion, follows her life via a first person narrative as Margaret schemes and intrigues her way through the Wars of the Roses.  The major highlights of this turbulent period of British history are all covered here, even if Gregory's historical accuracy misses the mark at times. 

Gregory's formulamatic approach has a distinct positive side to it:  readers know exactly what to expect.  No surprise writing style that disappoints fans of her previous novels.  And truthfully, this is a rather smart move on Gregory's part.  Not only does it keep her fans coming back for more, but it makes for easy-peasy writing.  Just take the same basic outline (her "formula") and fill in the blanks with a different setting and different characters.  When the writing becomes easier, the books start coming off the presses at a faster rate....the publisher makes more money, the author makes more money, and the fans keep flocking in.  What's not to love?

The downside is that writers like Gregory and Steel, while prolific, are never going to win a Pulitzer.  These books don't present any new information or have anything profound at their core.  Readers looking for a unique or controversial take on historical figures need not apply here.

But if it's a Gregory book you're of a mind to read, this one won't disappoint.  The novel was released in the U.S. today and is available in bookstores everywhere.


  1. I think I have the Sunne in Splendor somewhere! Sounds like a good one, thanks for the recommendation!

  2. aheem!! I have not read her... so maybe I will like her.


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