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The Red Queen  By  cover art

The Red Queen

By: Philippa Gregory
Narrated by: Bianca Amato
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Publisher's Summary

Heiress to the red rose of Lancaster, Margaret Beaufort never surrenders her belief that her house is the true ruler of England and that she has a great destiny before her. Her ambitions are disappointed when her sainted cousin, Henry VI, fails to recognize her as a kindred spirit, and she is even more dismayed when he sinks into madness. Her mother mocks her plans, revealing that Margaret will always be burdened with the reputation of her father, one of the most famously incompetent English commanders in France. But worst of all for Margaret is when she discovers that her mother is sending her to a loveless marriage in remote Wales.

©2010 Philippa Gregory Limited. All rights reserved. (P)2010 Simon & Schuster, Inc. All rights reserved.

Critic Reviews

"Nobody does the Tudors better than Gregory ( The Other Boleyn Girl), so it should come as no surprise that her latest—the War of the Roses as seen through the eyes of Henry VII's mother —is confident, colorful, convincing, and full of conflict, betrayal, and political maneuvering....[L]ike Margaret Beaufort, Gregory puts her many imitators to shame by dint of unequalled energy, focus, and unwavering execution." ( Publishers Weekly)

What listeners say about The Red Queen

Average Customer Ratings
Overall
  • 4.5 out of 5 stars
  • 5 Stars
    1,656
  • 4 Stars
    822
  • 3 Stars
    362
  • 2 Stars
    86
  • 1 Stars
    34
Performance
  • 4.5 out of 5 stars
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    1,625
  • 4 Stars
    552
  • 3 Stars
    149
  • 2 Stars
    29
  • 1 Stars
    12
Story
  • 4.5 out of 5 stars
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    1,378
  • 4 Stars
    615
  • 3 Stars
    287
  • 2 Stars
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  • 1 Stars
    30

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  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars

Good book, unsympathetic heroine

Fluidly written and wonderfully narrated, THE RED QUEEN provides an engrossing portrait of Margaret Beaufort, the mother of Henry VII, first of the Tudor rulers. From early childhood, Margaret is enthralled by the story of Joan of Arc, and longs to emulate her in a life of piety and heroic deeds. Instead, she's married off at the age of twelve to a much older man, and gives birth at age thirteen. As she endures these tribulations, she hardens in her conviction that God has chosen her for a special destiny, and focuses all her will on the Lancaster cause and her son Henry, taken from her at an early age and awarded to a series of guardians. Unfortunately for the reader, the sorrows and tragedies of her life harden Margaret into a narrow-minded fanatic, who has little compassion or empathy for those around her. Her second husband, Henry Stafford, is a kind, gentle, and wise man who adores her and treats her with kindness and consideration, but blinded by ambition and with a heart turned to stone, she does not return his love, choosing time and again to betray him politically in favor of her Lancaster relations. The book is very interesting, and I really like the narrator, but I'm afraid I have little sympathy for Margaret, who is hopelessly self-centered, priggish, and narrow-minded. It's a compelling glimpse into a period of history that I'm not that familiar with, and Philippa Gregory's interpretation of Margaret Beaufort's character does explain many of Margaret's real-life deeds, but she is not nearly as sympathetic as the protagonist of THE WHITE QUEEN, Elizabeth Woodville. Well worth a listen if you're interested in the War of the Roses, but don't expect to like Margaret very much.

41 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • mm
  • 08-06-10

Really enjoyed

Very entertaining historical novel. Loved the narrator. Will look for more by this author.

21 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    1 out of 5 stars

AWFUL, AWFUL, AWFUL!!!!!

This is the worst book I've ever read by Gregory. Did she write it grade school?! I enjoy novels based on historical fact, even those where a lot of "literary license" has been used. But this book is a hot mess. No where in history has Lady Margaret Beaufort ever been depicted as a whiny, vain, selfish, spiteful, narcissistic, hateful, self-righteous, delusional, bi-polar, homicidal maniac. Gregory sets the tone that Beaufort is inspired by the martyr Joan of Arc. This makes no sense because it's apparent that Margaret knows very little about the saint's life and struggles. The only difficult thing Margaret did her entire life is have a baby. All she does is "playa-hates" on the beautiful Elizabeth Woodville, calling her a slut and power-hungry whore, yet SHE's the one who is guilty of doing whatever she can to advance the son she barely even knows. She plots the downfall of others to put him on English throne, even the murder of two children, stating that it's OK "because God sanctioned it". She claims that God speaks to her personally and can't understand why she nor her son, the future King Henry VII, aren't treated like celebs since she's basically His BFF. Her hatred against and obsession with Elizabeth is pathological. Vanity, hate, and spite don't get you a sainthood, Margie! The writing is repetitive - the author will tell you the same thing 10 times as if it were the first time she said it. Gregory took what could have been a very interesting plot twist about a minor historical figure and turned it into something that's nonsensical and painful to listen to with all of the hateful whining. The narrator's delivery of this "cow patty" adds nothing positive since she sounds like she's about to burst into tears any moment. You can get a better perspective of the beginning of the Tudor dynasty from Wikipedia! Save your credit/money!

17 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    3 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    3 out of 5 stars

You Gotta Read It...Resign Yourself

What did you love best about The Red Queen?

It's hard to say. It wasn't a book I loved. It was -- on one hand -- KIND OF interesting to read the story from Margaret Beaufort's perspective, but on the other, it isn't a particularly sympathetic one. Because it's part of a series, you really should read it, but it's not the best of them so far.

What was your reaction to the ending? (No spoilers please!)

Check it off the list. Since you know how it ends, there was no real climax.

What did you like about the performance? What did you dislike?

Bianca Amato does a great job of reading a rather unimpressive book. Great affect, great interpretation...just not fantastic material.

If you could take any character from The Red Queen out to dinner, who would it be and why?

Elizabeth Woodville!! HA HA!! Sorry, but the white queen SO outshines the red one...

Any additional comments?

I love Philippa Gregory! But I have to admit that this wasn't one of her better books. I have to agree with other reviewers I read (before purchasing the book) that the events have been recounted in her other books and the perspective of Margaret Beaufort is singular (her divine duty and/or right) and uninteresting. And yet, I still assert that you have to read it as part of her Cousins War series! But don't let the worst of the reviews dissuade you...you can't NOT read it!

14 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    3 out of 5 stars

the red queen

I have read and loved all of Philippa Gregory's other books, but not this one. The main character, Lady Margaret, was a cold, whiney, bitter woman who was obcessed with regaining the throne for her son. She was so unpleasant you had no sympathy for her or her efforts.

13 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    1 out of 5 stars

Boring, Boring Boring

I have previously really enjoyed Philippa Gregory's novels but this lead character was so boring and unhappy that I couldn't listen to her whine for more than 3 chapters. She was the mother of Henry Tudor and her life was right in the middle of the War of the Roses so I thought the period would be made interesting... wrong. I really cannot recommend this book.

11 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    2 out of 5 stars

boringly repetitive

The author seems to have run out of energy and now feels it's ok to make a novel out of one sentence: "This is my destiny, to mother a king." Waste of time & money.

10 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    1 out of 5 stars

Terrible!

The central character was so whiny I could barely stand it. Not much depth to the story or the characters. Move on there are so many other wonderful books out there.

10 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    2 out of 5 stars

Not an appealing character to be found

I have always thought Margaret Beaufort warranted an historical novel, her life cannot have been easy, she lived through some pretty interesting times and survived and saw her son become king . But I have to say that in this novel she is a most unlikeable character, rather whiney and clueless, my sympathies were not with her. There are in fact few likeable characters in this novel at all, none with much depth. Most of the players do not even get onto the stage, instead there is a lot of her bemoaning her fate. I did listen to the whole thing, and the narration was ok, but this is not what I had hoped.

9 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    2 out of 5 stars

Slow listen

Unsympathetic lead makes this a slow listen. I really can't recommend it. I have liked other books by the author.

7 people found this helpful