The King’s Curse by Philippa Gregory
Advanced Uncorrected Reader’s Copy provided by Touchstone, 688 pages
Published 9 September 2014, Touchstone (Simon&Schuster)
Philippa Gregory is one of my favourite authors. She successfully combines two of my favourite things: history and fiction. On second thought, three of my favourite things: history, fiction, and England. I’ve read and loved many of her books, but I must say my favourites have been in this series—The Cousins’ War. I was initially intrigued by her retelling of the famous mystery of the princes in the Tower. From there, I had to know about the life of those involved. I’ve found this series so captivating—even more so than her books about the Tudors.
Born with royal, Plantagenet blood in her veins, Margaret finds herself thrust into a shaky existence as the Tudors seize control of England. Her once precious lineage has now become a liability. Her father beheaded, her uncles killed, her cousins murdered, and her brother, while still a child, was imprisoned in the Tower—all because of their name. The Tudors strip Margaret of her family’s land and name, hiding her in marriage to a lowly knight in Wales. Margaret must find a way for the Plantagenets to survive and stay true to their royal blood.
This, the last instalment of The Cousins’ War series, chronicles the life of Lady Margaret Pole. It is the connecting link between the Cousins’ War series and the Tudor series, it tells of Margaret’s roller coaster ride of favour and suspicion among the Tudor family’s court.
Gregory once again breathes life into long dead characters and fills in the parts the history books left out. She seamlessly weaves together fact and inference to create a believable and poignant tale of the life of Lady Margaret Pole. I really enjoyed this book and often found myself filled with hope for Margaret’s success. Although I knew how history treated the Plantagenets, I couldn’t help but root for them to succeed! While reading it I really felt like they could beat the odds, even though deep down I knew they didn’t. I hoped that they would win, the king would restore the church, and that he would make Princess Mary his heir—and I was sad when things didn’t go as I wanted them to.
Philippa Gregory, who heralded as the queen of royal fiction, has created another hit! Loved it.
Beth is the founder and editor of Fuelled by Fiction. She is a twenty-something east coast Canadian girl who loves writing about books and feminism.