Saturday, November 19, 2016

695 (2016 #50). Three Sisters, Three Queens

by Philippa Gregory

The women of the title are Henry VIII's first wife, Katharine of Aragon, and her sisters-in-law, his two sisters, Margaret Tudor Stewart Douglas Stewart and Mary Tudor Valois Brandon.  Each woman was a queen, of England, Scotland, and France respectively.

The main character in the book, though, is Margaret - she tells their story in first person present tense.  Katharine's and Mary's stories primarily come through (fictional) letters they write to Margaret.

There is little in the historical record about Margaret, so Philippa Gregory has lots of leeway in this novel.  She's an interesting woman, married three times and divorced once (before her brother divorced Katherine).

However, much of the book is spent with Margaret waffling (especially about her awful second husband Archibald Douglas), or being envious of her two sisters.  I think the book could have been around 400 pages (instead of 544!) and still told Margaret's story well.  Gregory includes five pages worth of bibliography at the end of the book.

© Amanda Pape - 2016

[This book was borrowed from and returned to my local public library.]

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