Friday, November 14, 2014

THE KING'S CURSE by Philippa Gregory

Philippa Gregory

            The King’s Curse is a historical fiction account of Tudor England as seen through the eyes of Margaret Pole, a Plantagenet princess who had been married to Sir Richard Pole, a Tudor supporter. Lady Margaret and her husband are given the care of Arthur, the Tudor heir and Prince of Wales, and his Spanish bride, Katherine of Aragon.

            We learn about the rise and reign of Henry VII – and later follow the rise and reign of his son, Henry VIII – from Lady Margaret’s point of view. We follow her own family and her life throughout her sixty-seven years. We learn of her close relationship with Queen Katherine and her care of Princess Mary. We are privy to the ins and outs – and ups and downs – of Henry VIII’s Tudor England through this loyal subject, herself a White Rose royal. Lady Margaret enjoys many flourishing years of favor, as well as very trying times out of favor. She is a woman of great courage and intelligence, and she does not falter in the face of adversity.

            When I began reading The King’s Curse, book six in Gregory’s The Cousins’ War series, I also started listening to the audiobook of The Constant Princess, the first in Gregory’s The Tudor Court Novels series. I was disappointed to find that what I was reading and what I was listening to seemed to be the same book from two different perspectives. I liked what I was reading, but I did not love it. However, as I neared the end of The King’s Curse, I found that I was enjoying it more – and, I was very touched and saddened by the end of this novel.

            I find that I am still touched by Gregory’s story about Lady Margaret Pole. According to Gregory’s portrayal, she was a remarkable and courageous woman who never lost her dignity and aplomb. Viewing Tudor England through this Plantagenet princess has been eye opening for me. I only wish that I could get a better sense of which parts of the novel are historically accurate and which are purely fiction.

            When I reached the end of the book, I found that I had really liked The King’s Curse. The book left me feeling bereft – and wistful that I will never be able to meet this remarkable woman.


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