Series: The Cousin's War,
Published by Simon and Schuster on April 7th 2015
Genres: Fiction, Historical, Romance
Buy on: Amazon, Barnes & Noble, iBooks
From the #1 New York Times bestselling author behind the acclaimed Starz series The White Queen comes the story of lady-in-waiting Margaret Pole and her unique view of King Henry VIII’s stratospheric rise to power in Tudor England.As an heir to the Plantagenets, Margaret is seen by the King’s mother, the Red Queen, as a rival to the Tudor claim to the throne. She is buried in marriage to a Tudor supporter—Sir Richard Pole, governor of Wales—and becomes guardian to Arthur, the young Prince of Wales, and his beautiful bride, Katherine of Aragon. But Margaret’s destiny, as cousin to the White Princess, is not for a life in the shadows. Tragedy throws her into poverty, yet a royal death restores her to her place at young Henry VIII’s court where she becomes chief lady-in-waiting to Queen Katherine. There she watches the dominance of the Spanish queen over her husband and her tragic decline. Amid the rapid deterioration of the Tudor court, Margaret must choose whether her allegiance is to the increasingly tyrannical Henry VIII or to her beloved queen. Caught between the old and the new, Margaret must find her own way, concealing her knowledge that an old curse cast upon all the Tudors is slowly coming true...
Philippa Gregory returns to her acclaimed The Cousins’ War series with the sixth installment, The King’s Curse. This novel tells the fascinating story of Margaret Pole, Henry VIII’s cousin, and lady-in-waiting to Katherine of Aragon. Picking up years after the previous novel, The White Princess, left off, we find Margaret Pole, daughter of George, Duke of Clarence, learning of the curse her Cousin Elizabeth of York (“The White Princess”) and aunt Elizabeth Woodville placed on the murderers of the family’s missing heirs from the Tower of London. We follow Margaret through her return to power under King Henry VIII, and her family’s eventual downfall towards the end of Henry’s reign.
I found The King’s Curse to be a far superior book than The White Queen. Part of this may be due to the novel being quite short on Margaret Beaufort than the last book, but also because if focused on a character that was just a child in the previous book, and therefore just used as window-dressing. In this novel, Margaret is a great narrator who takes us through her struggles to remain under the King’s radar, but her desire to also bring her family back to their former glory. We watch her get tested time and time again as she slowly begins to lose everything (and everyone) she loves, while trying to stay one step ahead of a tyrannical king. A king she helped care for, who ended up being her most dangerous enemy. Margaret’s thirst for life carried her throughout her life as a young girl who watched her family get nearly decimated by the victorious Tudors, until her incredibly tragic end. Gregory really thought out this book, and painted Margaret as a woman who would do anything for her family, including her spoiled cousin, King Henry VIII.
This is the review for the seventeenth book I’ve read for the 2014 Historical Fiction Challenge.