Tuesday, July 8, 2014
The King's Curse
Really well written story of Margaret Pole, ill fated cousin to Henry VIII's mother Elizabeth. Caught in the Cousin's war, or as it is known today as The War of the Roses, Margaret is the daughter of George Duke of Clarence, brother to the king and granddaughter of Warwick the Kingmaker. She and her brother are in line for the throne and seen as rivals by the victorious Henry Tudor. Her brother is imprisoned despite his simple nature, and eventually beheaded to prove to the Spanish that there is no threat to their daughter, Princess Catherine of Aragon's way to the throne, as the wife of Henry and Elizabeth's son Arthur. Confusing, yes, fascinating, without a doubt. Margaret is married off to an unimportant knight, thus leaving her buried and destitute in the country. Gregory takes the story from Margaret's lowest time to her rise under the new monarch Henry the VIII. Despite the fact that Catherine of Aragon's arrival caused the death of her brother, Margaret aligns herself with the princess becoming both friend and confidant. She makes a powerful enemy of Henry's VII 's mother , Margaret Beaufort when she colludes with Catherine, helping her in her quest to marry Henry the VIII. The story weaves through her precarious position in court, where a careless remark or an accident of birth can cause not only a person's downfall, but death. Gregory has a unique way of bringing Tudor England alive, letting us get familiar with the players, whether they were considered key or not. A reader is able to put faces to the names that have haunted history, the information of their existence so dim, their role seemingly unimportant, yet they lived and died for the politics of their country. I liked this book. Margaret Pole was a survivor, a thorny rose in the history of England. Someone who tried to grow under catastrophic circumstances, playing the courtiers game where the outcome of losers meant certain death. This is not a flowery book about living in Tudor England, yet Gregory imbues a real sense of the time, the terror of disease, the horrors of childbirth, a woman's helpless role in society. The King's Curse is allegedly the curse made by Elizabeth the queen in response to the death of her brothers, the princes in the tower. It was in essence the downfall for her own house. In the case of Margaret Pole, the King's horrible curse reflected right back to her, including anyone with Plantagenet blood as well in its carnage.
I received a copy of this book for an honest review.
Carole P. Roman