I love Philippa Gregory’s novels. While this was not one of her best novels, I have to say that it still kept my interest and I still ended up really enjoying the story, despite my dislike of Margaret Beaufort. I get the impression that she wasn’t well liked in life either. I have to say that even though I was not a fan of Margaret in her younger years – common now, a young girl who is convinced that she was the English Joan of Arc based on a few tales she heard from travelling soldiers and actually hoping to hear voices from God as Joan (supposedly) did, but I grew to like her in her adult years. The pious, meek young girl grew into malicious, callous woman with a wicked tongue – some of the best lines in the book came from this woman. I also really enjoyed Margaret’s third husband Sir Thomas Stanley – he was just as shrewd and cynical as Margaret was – and it was his character that really propelled the novel in the latter chapters. I found it very improbable that Margaret and the other characters would repeatedly exchange letters filled with details about their treasonous thoughts, schemes and beliefs as they do in the novel – they might as well have simply asked for their heads to be removed from the rest of their bodies.
Once again Gregory was able to bring to life another set of historical figures in a way that not many others can. The writing style, the details, the characters, the gripping battle scenes . . . Even though this is part of a series, it could just as easily stand on its own. Gregory once again weaves her magic around the existing historical facts and creates yet another fantastic work of fiction. Overall I found this to be a very enjoyable read about the woman who bound the Houses of Lancaster and York together and who founded the Tudor dynasty. I would recommend this novel to Gregory fans as well as any lover of historical fiction.