From Publishers Weekly
While Gregory's The White Queen told a story of the War of the Roses from the viewpoint of the House of York, her latest takes the perspective from the House of Lancaster, where Margaret Beaufort, a descendant of King Edward III, accepts her duty to marry whoever the current king chooses, bear a male child, a potential heir to the throne, and to mastermind his path to power. Bianca Amato reads with quiet earnestness and carries Margaret from the fantasies of childhood to becoming a mature woman of experience and arrogance. As in her reading of The White Queen, Amato refrains from dramatic extremes or flourishes in favor of a spare, serene, and engrossing narration. A Touchstone hardcover (Reviews, May 3). (Aug.)
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Having fictionalized Elizabeth Woodville in The White Queen (2009), royal chronicler Gregory now turns to Henry VIII's other indomitable grandmother. The opposite of her alluring Yorkist rival, plain Lancastrian heiress Margaret Beaufort grows up knowing women are useful only for bearing sons, but divine visions grant her an unwavering conviction about her future greatness. At age 12, she weds Lancastrian warrior Edmund Tudor and pours her ambition into his posthumous son, Henry. Constantly separated from her beloved child after her second marriage to a pacifist knight, her frustrations are palpably felt; she later brokers her own union with a crafty turncoat who may be the key to her hopes. While England seethes with discord during the turbulent Wars of the Roses, Margaret's transformation from powerless innocent to political mastermind progresses believably as rival heirs to England's throne are killed in battle, executed, or deliberately eliminated. With constant pronouncements about Margaret's God-given destiny, the approach isn't exactly subtle, but Gregory's vivid, confident storytelling makes this devout and ruthlessly determined woman a worthy heroine for her time. --Sarah Johnson