Saturday, November 27, 2010

184 (2010 #49). The Red Queen

by Philippa Gregory,
read by Bianca Amato and Graeme Malcolm

This is the second book in the Cousins War series, and is about Margaret Beaufort, from spring 1453, when Margaret is ten, to August 1485, when her son Henry VII won the Battle of  Bosworth Field to become King of England.  Margaret is the heiress of the House of Lancaster, whose emblem was the red rose; thus the title.  The book is about Margaret's efforts to put her son on the throne and become Queen Mother at least.

Gregory paints a picture of a zealously pious woman who is not above sin when it is to her or her son's advantage--and who manages to justify whatever she does as "God's will."  The book opens with an amusing scene of Margaret dreaming she is Joan of Arc, and there are many references to that saint throughout the book.  She also looks forward to signing her name as "Margaret R.," Margaret Regina, regina being the Latin word for queen.

Margaret often refers (usually with disdain) to commoner Elizabeth Woodville, wife of Edward IV of the House of York (the white roses).  It's interesting to compare Margaret's perception of Elizabeth with the presentation of the latter in The White Queen, and vice versa - see how Margaret is presented in this book as compared to Elizabeth's perception of her in the other book.

Most of the story is told in first-person by Margaret, voiced by South African actress and audiobook veteran Bianca Amato, who gives Margaret the right air of haughtiness.  Scottish actor Graeme Malcolm reads the third-person accounts of battle scenes.

© Amanda Pape - 2010

[This audiobook and hardbound copy were borrowed from and returned to my local public library.]

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