Saturday, 27 September 2014

The King's Curse
by Philippa Gregory
Rating: 3/5


Pages - 608
Publisher: Simon & Schuster
Release Date: August 14th 2014
ISBN - 9780857207562

Summary (via Goodreads)

The final novel in the Cousins’ War series, the basis for the critically acclaimed Starz miniseries, The White Queen, by #1 New York Times bestselling author and “the queen of royal fiction” (USA TODAY) Philippa Gregory tells the fascinating story of Margaret Pole, cousin to the “White Princess,” Elizabeth of York, and lady-in-waiting to Katherine of Aragon.

Regarded as yet another threat to the volatile King Henry VII’s claim to the throne, Margaret Pole, cousin to Elizabeth of York (known as the White Princess) and daughter of George, Duke of Clarence, is married off to a steady and kind Lancaster supporter—Sir Richard Pole. For his loyalty, Sir Richard is entrusted with the governorship of Wales, but Margaret’s contented daily life is changed forever with the arrival of Arthur, the young Prince of Wales, and his beautiful bride, Katherine of Aragon. Margaret soon becomes a trusted advisor and friend to the honeymooning couple, hiding her own royal connections in service to the Tudors.

After the sudden death of Prince Arthur, Katherine leaves for London a widow, and fulfills her deathbed promise to her husband by marrying his brother, Henry VIII. Margaret’s world is turned upside down by the surprising summons to court, where she becomes the chief lady-in-waiting to Queen Katherine. But this charmed life of the wealthiest and “holiest” woman in England lasts only until the rise of Anne Boleyn, and the dramatic deterioration of the Tudor court. Margaret has to choose whether her allegiance is to the increasingly tyrannical king, or to her beloved queen; to the religion she loves or the theology which serves the new masters. Caught between the old world and the new, Margaret Pole has to find her own way as she carries the knowledge of an old curse on all the Tudors.


The last book in the Cousins War series, The King's Curse follows on from the White Princess. Told from the eyes of Lady Margaret Pole, cousin to Queen Elizabeth, daughter of George of Clarence and Isabelle Neville, the story follows the marriage of young Prince Arthur to Katherine of Aragon and the events that followed right through to Henry VIII reign.

Continuing with the reign of Henry VII the book shows the fear and uncertainty that the county felt, particularly anyone with Plantagenet blood, like Margaret. In the beginning of the book Margaret hides behind her married name and avoids bringing attention to herself or her children for fear of being accused of treason. Then as circumstances gradually change, she finds her self pride and, as a new reign begins, relishes in the freedom and favour that comes with it.

Through Margaret the reader gets insight into the merry young court of Henry VIII and his new Queen, his brother's widow, Katherine. Margaret becomes close friends with the queen helping her in all things, including the births of her children. The young King restores her to her wealth and family titles and she watches and others rise too, including the ambitious young man called Charles Brandon.

For anyone who watched the Tudors tv series like me here's a little treat =) ain't they cute!

 back to the review......

One thing that Gregory is good at is telling a story from all sides. For me I had always pictured the Tudor court of young Henry VIII as being rich and fun and full of life, but in this book Gregory shows how for the older, nobler families the young favourites of the King were seen as rebellious, rude and rather daft in their antics, something Margaret feels as she is gradually pushed from the King's inner circles. And as each year there is still no male heir, Henry becomes more and more dangerous....

Although I have to admit this wasn't my favourite book of the series I still really enjoyed reading about Margaret and her very large family and the events that followed the end of Henry VII's reign. I find the history behind these events and her possible involvement in them very interesting in terms of plots to overthrow Henry VIII, whether she intended to or not. I recommend this series to any history lover based on this if anything else.

I personally would love to know what happened to her grandson and the other many victims of the Tower who once they went in were never seen again, but unfortunately we will probably never know their fates.

Gregory has only enhanced my devotion to the Plantagenet's and the Tudors and I look forward eagerly to her next book. 




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