Philippa Gregory

All posts tagged Philippa Gregory

The King’s Curse – Philippa Gregory

Published October 2, 2017 by bibliobeth

What’s it all about?:

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.

What did I think?:

I’ve got such fond memories of when I first became aware of Philippa Gregory. A friend introduced me to her Wideacre trilogy consisting of the books Wideacre, The Favoured Child and Meridon all of which I adored and then my sister introduced me to her Tudor books and this is when I fell in love with her as an author. I haven’t been reading her as prolifically as I once did as unfortunately I feel like her last few novels in the Cousins’ War series haven’t been as brilliant as I know she can write but I still hugely enjoy both her writing and her intense focus on the women that history hasn’t given an adequate voice.

Margaret Pole is one of those women and The King’s Curse tells her story. She is daughter of the Duke of Clarence, cousin to Elizabeth of York (Henry VIII’s mother) and in this novel, becomes lady in waiting to Henry VIII’s first wife, Katherine of Aragon and then warden to her first daughter, Princess Mary. You may all be aware of what happens to poor Queen Katherine so this story is a fascinating insight into Margaret’s feelings and loyalties to both her King and to the woman she adores like a sister. Margaret comes across as a strong, sensible woman whose own family’s safety and well-being is paramount in her mind but she also demonstrates a steadfast faith and respect for those that she binds herself to both in duty and in friendship. She doesn’t have an easy life and her morals and values are tested in the worst ways imaginable but by the end, she remains true to herself and those close to her and earns the reader’s instant respect and admiration.

As I mentioned before, I love how Philippa Gregory takes a forgotten woman of history and suggests how important they may actually have been in the grand scheme of things. I loved learning more about her and was especially intrigued by her fragile relationship with King Henry VIII as he views her and her family as an obvious threat to his throne. Even though Margaret is our main protagonist, we still hear a lot about what is happening at the Tudor court at that period of history i.e. the divorce of Henry and Katherine, the rule of Anne Boleyn and the dissolution of the Catholic church with Henry VIII attempting to replace the Pope as the supreme ruler in England. It’s obvious the author has done some meticulous research as she forged this story and although parts of it have already been told before, for example in The Constant Princess and arguably her most famous novel, The Other Boleyn Girl, it never feels tired, old or re-hashed as we hear about events from a completely different point of view. I don’t think I’ll ever get weary of reading about the Tudor dynasty, a period of our past where the characters are just so incredibly effervescent and fascinating and I’m looking forward to getting to her next novel: The Taming Of The Queen.

Would I recommend it?:

But of course!

Star rating (out of 5):

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February 2016 – Real Book Month

Published February 7, 2016 by bibliobeth

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Every other month I set myself a little challenge to complete which alternates depending on the month from Chrissi Cupboard Month and Real Book Month to Kindle/NetGalley/Review Copy Month. This February it is the turn for real books, which is one of my favourite months. I have a HUGE backlog of books just itching to be read and its a way of trying to get that pesky TBR and my own book collection down to er…more manageable levels, if at all possible! This February I shall mostly be reading : –

The Sparrow – Mary Doria Russell

A Little Life – Hanya Yanagihara

Heart-Shaped Box – Joe Hill

Wolf Winter – Cecilia Ekbäck

The Paying Guests – Sarah Waters

The Shut Eye – Belinda Bauer

Hollow City (Miss Peregrine’s Peculiar Children #2) – Ransom Riggs

The Farm – Tom Rob Smith

Broken Monsters – Lauren Beukes

The King’s Curse (The Cousins’ War #6) – Philippa Gregory

I think this must be one of my most exciting real books months to date. I literally cannot wait to read ALL of these books. Some have been languishing on the TBR pile for far too long, like Heart-Shaped Box, the debut novel from Stephen King’s son Joe Hill. Others are relatively newer additions, like The Sparrow which was recommended to me from one of my favourite podcasts, Books On The Nightstand. I have heard so many great things (also from BOTN) about the Man Booker short-listed novel A Little Life and having loved her debut novel The People In The Trees, I’m so so excited to get to this one, hence why it’s nearer the top of the list.

Other novels I’ve been meaning to get to is Hollow City, the second in the fabulous Miss Peregrine’s Peculiar Children series – please see my review for the first book HERE. Lauren Beukes novel, The Shining Girls was one of my top reads for 2013 and I cannot wait to read her most recent novel, Broken Monsters which has been staring at me from my bookshelves for quite a while now! The Paying Guests will be my first novel by Sarah Waters and I’ve heard amazing things. I know my blogger friend Cleo over at Cleopatra Loves Books loved it and it will be quite exciting to compare thoughts with her once I’m done. Finally, I’m looking forward to a bit of historical fiction and one of my favourite authors, Philippa Gregory with the final book in her Cousins’ War series.

This is going to be a great month, I just know it!

My Lovely Bookshelves

Published June 6, 2015 by bibliobeth

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Hello everyone, I’m here to introduce my lovely bookshelves. I was inspired to write this post after seeing Cleo’s bookshelves on her blog – please see her post here and she in turn, was inspired by the post on Snazzy Books site. Thanks girls!

How do I organise my books?

I’ve got quite a few places for books to live despite having these two bookshelves which as you can see, are full to the brim. Despite the chaos that you can see, it is organised honest! I have a shelf which is mainly review books by Book Bridgr, lovely authors who send me books etc. I have another shelf for crime/horror/thriller which holds authors such as James Herbert, Dean Koontz, James Patterson, Lee Child, Tess Gerritsen.

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The shelf in the middle of the picture are my little Agatha Christie hardbacks which look beautiful and I absolutely love but somehow need to get round to reading!

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Favourite authors that appear on my shelf?

Philippa Gregory, Alison Weir, Victoria Hislop, Irvine Welsh, John Grisham, Haruki Murakami, Ben Elton and Ian McEwan amongst many, many others. I even have an entire shelf devoted to the king that is Stephen King.

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What books do I have that I want to read soon but haven’t yet got around to?

Ah, these cover a range of shelves! The Quick by Lauren Owen, The Teleportation Accident by Ned Beauman, All The Light We Cannot See by Anthony Doerr, The Dice Man by Luke Rhinehart, Heart-Shaped Box by Joe Hill, Sacred Hearts by Sarah Dunant and The Ruby Slippers by Keir Alexander…to name a few.

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Which books do I wish that were on my bookshelf but aren’t?

This is a tough one. I already feel that I could give The British Library a run for its money. I would love to have first editions of my all-time favourite books like It by Stephen King, Gone With The Wind by Margaret Mitchell and The Wind-Up Bird Chronicle by Haruki Murakami.

Which books on my shelf are borrowed?

I’ve got Chinese Whispers by Ben Chu, Beyond Black by Hilary Mantel and the recent Baileys Women’s Prize for fiction winner 2015 How To Be Both by Ali Smith which I’ve borrowed from the local library.

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Is there anything I dislike about my bookshelves?

That there isn’t enough room! Just look at all the books I’ve had to stack up against the bookshelves on the floor. And then there’s under my bed where I’ve managed to squeeze a few (ok… around thirty/forty). I’ve got some amazing books here that I’m a little afraid that I’m going to forget about because I can’t see them properly in all their glory. At the moment I’m on a book banning buy so that I can try and get on top of my TBR and get the books on the floor and under the bed in the shelves where they belong. It’s hard though, when books come a calling, I want to go a buying!

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So there’s a quick gander at my bookish life. Yes, it’s messy and a bit complicated, but I love it and never get bored of rummaging in my shelves. Thanks again to Cleopatra Loves Books and Snazzy Books for the idea for this post and Happy Reading to everyone!

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The White Princess – Philippa Gregory

Published April 20, 2014 by bibliobeth

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What’s it all about?:

The haunting story of the mother of the Tudors, Elizabeth of York, wife to Henry VII.

Beautiful eldest daughter of Edward IV and Elizabeth Woodville – the White Queen – the young princess Elizabeth faces a conflict of loyalties between the red rose and the white. Forced into marriage with Henry VII, she must reconcile her slowly growing love for him with her loyalty to the House of York, and choose between her mother’s rebellion and her husband’s tyranny. Then she has to meet the Pretender, whose claim denies the House of Tudor itself.

What did I think?:

I’m a huge fan of Philippa Gregory, especially her Tudor series, but her new Cousins War adventures have a lot to recommend for themselves also. They focus on the Plantagenet dynasty (the family before the Tudors) which I did not know much about before reading these books yet the author has as with all her historical fiction, brought the period alive in a new and exciting way. The White Princess is the fifth book in the series, each novel focusing on a different female lead and the subject of this one is the mother of the notorious Henry VIII – Elizabeth of York. When the story opens, Henry VII has just defeated Richard III, King of England in battle and seized the crown for himself, as his mother Margaret has always predicted he would. Elizabeth is obliged to enter into a contract of marriage with the victor to bring peace to an England fractured and almost destroyed by the effects the continuous wars between the Lancasters and the Yorks have had on the land.

The marriage has multiple issues that Elizabeth must contend with, the main one being that Richard III was Elizabeth’s lover and she must now wed and bed the man that killed him. Furthermore, there is still the mystery of the disappearance of the princes in the Tower (Elizabeth’s brothers) and Elizabeth and her mother are no closer to understanding what has happened to them, and indeed if they are still alive. The plot thickens considerably when news of a young boy claiming to be one of the young Princes arises, and there are fears that he may take the throne back from the first Tudor king. This is particularly poignant news for Elizabeth and the rest of the York family as even though this man may be her lost brother and have a stronger claim to the throne than Henry, Elizabeth must remain loyal to her husband first and foremost.

As I mentioned before I have loved the books in the Cousins War series, and while I don’t think this is one of the strongest, Gregory still wove her magical spell and I still thoroughly enjoyed it. It is true that we do not know all the historical facts of this family with one hundred percent certainty, but it is obvious that the author carries out meticulous research into all her books being a historian primarily, and I enjoy the blend of fact and fiction that results from her study. I have also relished reading about another family besides the Tudors and believe that the Plantagenets have a large variety of interesting and independent women that we can both learn about and learn from. I felt incredibly sorry for Elizabeth as a character having to marry a man that she didn’t love through duty and suffering the agonies of a loveless marriage. The only slight criticism I would have of this particular novel is that when compared to the rest of the series, not much seemed to happen and everything revolved around the potential “Pretender” to the throne. However it was very illustrative and important to show how Henry VII’s paranoia increased with every challenge he was faced with and a good portrait of the beginning of the Tudor regime.

Would I recommend it?:

But of course!

Star rating (out of 5):

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WWW Wednesday #36

Published April 9, 2014 by bibliobeth

WWW Wednesdays is hosted by MizB at Should Be Reading. Click on the image to get to her blog!

 

Welcome to another WWW Wednesday, and thanks as ever to MizB for hosting. I’ve got a great batch of books this week and can’t wait to tell you all about them!

To join in you need to answer 3 questions..

•What are you currently reading?

•What did you recently finish reading?

•What do you think you’ll read next?

Click on the book covers to take you to a link to find out more!

What are you currently reading?:

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My sister and fellow blogger Chrissi Reads has been begging me to read this one for a while, she said that it “totally messed with her head” and that she needed to talk to me about it. So, here we go!

What did you recently finish reading?

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Philippa Gregory is one of my all-time favourite authors and I’ve just finished reading the latest in her Cousins War series which follows the royal family before the Tudors – the Plantagenets. I loved it, as expected so look out for my review coming soon!

What do you think you’ll read next?

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I’m making my way through all of Jojo Moyes books after loving Me Before You so much that I just had to read her back catalogue. This is her latest novel and I’m super excited to start it.

 

What are you reading this Wednesday? Please leave your link and I’ll come pay you a visit! Happy Reading Everyone!

WWW Wednesday #35

Published April 2, 2014 by bibliobeth

WWW Wednesdays is hosted by MizB at Should Be Reading. Click on the image to get to her blog!

 

Welcome to another WWW Wednesday, and thanks as ever to MizB for hosting.

To join in you need to answer 3 questions..

•What are you currently reading?

•What did you recently finish reading?

•What do you think you’ll read next?

Click on the book covers to take you to a link to find out more!

What are you currently reading?:

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I’m reading this book from Icelandic Nobel Prize winner Halldor Laxness as part of a new review on my blog that is coming in a couple of months (I think!). It was quite peculiar at first but I’m getting into it now and quite enjoying it.

What did you recently finish reading?:

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I was lucky enough to get an ARC of James Dawson’s new book Say Her Name, due to be published in June. I loved it and will post a review nearer to the publication date.

What do you think you’ll read next?:

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I’m a huge fan of Philippa Gregory and have been waiting for so long for this book to come out in paperback (I have far too many hardbacks, it’s ridiculous). Can’t wait to start it!

What are you reading this Wednesday? Please leave your link and I’ll pay you a visit! Happy Reading Everyone.

Books Are My Bag – My Bookish Life So Far…

Published September 14, 2013 by bibliobeth

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Books Are My Bag is a nationwide celebration of bookshops, calling on all bookworms to purchase a book from their local bookshop on Saturday 14th September,especially as so many of our beloved shops are under threat. So now I am the proud owner of a Books Are My Bag tote bag courtesy of Waterstones Wimbledon branch, I thought it would be a good opportunity to reflect on My Bookish Life So Far in order to shout out about all things book-related.

Early childhood – Teddy, Timmy the dog, School stories and A Big, Friendly Giant

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This was my very first book! And as dear to me as when I first read it. My mum taught me to read at a very early age (Thanks Mum!) and she always tells the story of when I was at kindergarten and my teacher pulled my mum into a corner for a quiet word. Apparently, I had got a bunch of kids around me and was reading them a story. The teacher thought I was making the story up for the children as I was so young, yet she was shocked that I was reading the actual words. So she spoke to my mum saying: “Do you know your daughter can read?!” My mum replied: “Er…yes, I taught her!”

The books I loved as a child were mainly Enid Blyton and Roald Dahl based – I adored The Famous Five, The Secret Seven and The Malory Towers series from Blyton and The BFG and Charlie and The Chocolate Factory by Dahl. My all-time favourite book from this time though has to be House at The Corner by Enid Blyton. I read it so many times as a child that it was literally falling apart, but I would refuse to be parted from it.

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The Teenage Years – Horror, and some saucy stuff from Blume

As a teenager, I remember being absolutely obsessed with the Point Horror and Christopher Pike books, which were probably easing me in to my current obsession with my favourite author Stephen King. I had to have them all, and would devour them in a matter of hours.

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Another fond memory from my adolescent reading are novels from Judy Blume, whom I idolised. Other girls of my age must remember passing around “Forever” at school, and being delighted, horrified and curious at the same time?

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The Twenties – Thrills, chills, the King and Historical Fiction

Ah, I discover Stephen KIng! I have a whole shelf devoted to him, and he remains one of my favourite authors today.

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For anyone who has never read him, I highly recommend The Green Mile, The Shining, and It as fantastic reads and a great introduction to his works. During this time I was also reading a lot of thrillers, namely Dean Koontz and James Patterson, and discovered a love of historical fiction a la Philippa Gregory. Her Tudor novels are wonderfully written, and hey… you might even learn a little something?

The Early Thirties – I become a blogger, my reading tastes diversify and my books multiply!

My love for books has only got stronger through the years, and I now read a wide range of material, including non-fiction. I started a blog in January of this year, and I have loved submitting reviews, attending events like The Hay Festival, and “meeting” other bookworms like myself. I listen to a variety of podcasts to keep updated on all literary events, including Books On The Nightstand, A Good Read (Radio 4), Open Book (Radio 4) and Guardian Books. I also love my Kindle, which can store hundreds of books (without the added weight) and find it essential for any sort of commute.

Warning – book buying can turn obsessive and compulsive and you may end up with shelves like these:

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So, how do I see my bookish future? I hope to be still reading a range of material, and enjoying the printed word as much as I do at the moment. Even with the advances in technology, I strongly feel that there is nothing like going into a bookshop, enjoying the sight and smells, purchasing something that catches your eye, and enjoying the journey that it takes you on.

Support your local bookshop! Make books YOUR bag!