The second book in Philippa’s stunning new trilogy, The Cousins War, brings to life the story of Margaret Beaufort, a shadowy and mysterious character in the first book of the series – The White Queen – but who now takes centre stage in the bitter struggle of The War of the Roses. The Red Queen tells the story of the child-bride of Edmund Tudor, who, although widowed in her early teens, uses her determination of character and wily plotting to infiltrate the house of York under the guise of loyal friend and servant, undermine the support for Richard III and ultimately ensure that her only son, Henry Tudor, triumphs as King of England. Through collaboration with the dowager Queen Elizabeth Woodville, Margaret agrees a betrothal between Henry and Elizabeth’s daughter, thereby uniting the families and resolving the Cousins War once and for all by founding of the Tudor dynasty.
Historical fiction is a passion of mine and I personally think that Philippa Gregory is one of the masters of the genre. I always find her books to be so well researched that as a reader you feel like you are experiencing that particular time first hand.
This is the second book in the new cousins war series and I did find this novel hard going at first but after the first 50 pages I found myself completely absorbed in this novel and felt like I was there watching events unfold in front of my eyes.
The same time frame of The White Queen is used in this novel and at first I was skeptical and did not think it would work. However I felt it worked well within the context of the novel and really seemed to link the first and second book in the Cousins was series.
Margaret Beaufort is not the easiest of characters to like and I did find in places that I wanted to escape from the first-person narrative in places. However once I finished The Red Queen and I was reflecting the character of Margaret Beaufort I actually found myself liking the character and I think the harshness of her characters adds a lot of charm and authenticity to the novel.
Overall I found The Red Queen to be a well researched novel that took you into the heart of the beginning of Tudor England. It is not my favourite Philippa Gregory novel however it does show why she is considered one of the masters of the genre.