I have been reading ‘The Red Queen’ by Phillipa Gregory. It is about Margaret Beaufort, King Henry VII’s mother and the more famous King Henry VII of England’s grandmother.
She was an extremely pious. In the book, she is shown as wanting to become a nun, from a very young age, but is married off for political reasons. For all her piousness, she believes that The House of Lancaster has been ordained by God to rule England. Her absolute faith, unwavering belief that God has sanctioned them as rulers make her justify wars and killing.
No, this is no review. It just makes me think how religion can make us blind to so many things. How a stamp of ‘God’ can so easily justify injustice, discrimination, wars.
And the saddest part is that it happens even now albeit, in different ways. Religious sanction for so many injustices. Religious sanction to oppress the less powerful. I guess it is not said without reason that most wars in history has been fought over religion – in one form or the other.
I haven’t completed the book, but just had to jot these down.
The White Queen
By Philippa Gregory
The first Philippa Gregory I read, was The Other Boleyn Girl and I was hooked for good. I read all her other books, mainly on the Tudors. They were all fascinating reads and the best part was that the books were always written from the point of view of a woman. It gave a rare insight into what might have gone on, with the women, behind the scenes. The women who were responsible(in a way) for the formation of the Church of England. It also piqued my interest in the history and I read up a lot of history, in an effort to understand what was fiction and what was fact.What fascinated me was that most of what Gregory wrote was based on facts. And the dimensions she adds to her characters are wonderful.
When I saw The White Queen in the library, I just had to pick it up. In this book, she moves on from the Tudors to the dynasty before them – the Plantaganets. The book starts off with Elizabeth Woodville, a Lancastarian widow who stops the King Edward on his way, to ask for justice and for her lands to be returned to her. It turns out that Edward falls in love with her and marries her in secret. In the backdrop, there is also the suggestion of witchcraft. Elizabeth and her mother are shown indulging in witchcraft. Soon, she is accepted as the Queen of England, but not without her share of enemies who believe that she tricked the King to marry her. It does not help matters that her family is given a lot of important positions by the king.
As the story develops, with treason, treachery and conquests, it is fascinating to read it from the queen’s point of view. Of her ambitions and hopes for her children.The choices that she makes, the life that she lives. I especially love the fact that she shows all the blacks and the greys as well as vulnerable parts of the queen’s character. As I said earlier, it shows the important role the women played in aspects of governing even in those days. I have not read up the history yet, but I definitely found it very interesting.
My recommendation is that if you like historical fiction, go for it, otherwise keep away.