16 of 17 people found the following review helpful
Has there ever been a stupider heroine?,
This review is from: The Red Queen: A Novel (Cousins' War) (Hardcover)
"The Red Queen" falls far short of Philippa Gregory's usual. Normally, although historically debatable, her books provide a new interpretation on an old story. A different viewpoint, a way things might have possibly gone - although there is little historical proof, there is often little proof that it DIDN'T go the way she writes it either.
I'm appalled at the lack of time spent on Margaret Beaufort's story. While the idea that Margaret is inspired by the story of Joan of Arc is an interesting idea, this character's incredible stupidity makes entirely implausible for her to run a successful rebellion. She dreams of being Joan... and that's it. Her character shuttles back and forth between hating her family for using her as breeding stock and nagging her husband to fight for her family's rights. She wants to be an abbess... she lusts after her brother-in-law and then later after King Edward. She's enraged that the Lancasters line has been overtaken by the Yorks and that her husband didn't fight for the "true and rightful king", and then twenty pages later is wishing that she could have married Edward the King in order to "end the wars". Her character makes no sense and apparently has no grounding or political acumen. Her husband tries to teach her, but she never listens to a word he says.
I'm on page 212 and I'm so disgusted I'm not sure I'm going to be able to finish the book. Two thirds of it have been spent making her out to be a... well a nothing. She's passive and then suddenly aggressive. She hates her family... she's desperately loyal to her family. She wants to be an abbess... she's happy as a wife. She finally sees the results of battle, compares it to her imagination, realizes that her imagination was wrong... but then still judges her husband to be a coward for not wanting war. She's all about war and fighting for her family... but then suddenly starts wishing that she could marry Edward York and "make peace".
This character does not have the political acumen or intelligence of the real Margaret Beaufort, and I'm starting to think it's not just a travesty of historical-fiction, but also a travesty if this is the way Philippa Gregory's books are going to go from now on.