In the original dustsheet. Navy cloth binding with silver title on the spine.
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‘There is only one bond that I trust: between a woman and her sisters. We never take our eyes off each other. In love and in rivalry, we always think of each other.’
When Katherine of Aragon is brought to the Tudor court as a young bride, the oldest princess, Margaret, takes her measure. With one look, each knows the other for a rival, an ally, a pawn, destined – with Margaret’s younger sister Mary – to a sisterhood unique in all the world. The three sisters will become the queens of England, Scotland and France.
United by family loyalties and affections, the three queens find themselves set against each other. Katherine commands an army against Margaret and kills her husband James IV of Scotland. But Margaret’s boy becomes heir to the Tudor throne when Katherine loses her son. Mary steals the widowed Margaret’s proposed husband, but when Mary is widowed it is her secret marriage for love that is the envy of the others. As they experience betrayals, dangers, loss and passion, the three sisters find that the only constant in their perilous lives is their special bond, more powerful than any man, even a king.
Reviews – for Philippa Gregory:
———- ‘Meticulously researched and deeply entertaining, this story of betrayal and divided loyalties is Gregory on top form’ Good Housekeeping
———— ‘Gregory has popularised Tudor history perhaps more than any other living fiction writer…all of her books feature strong, complex women, doing their best to improve their lives in worlds dominated by men’ Sunday Times
—————- ‘Engrossing’ Sunday Express
———— ‘Popular historical fiction at its finest, immaculately researched and superbly told’ The Times
Review: Once again, Philippa Gregory brings to stunning life the complex and fascinating Tudor era in this novel featuring the three young girls who first met when Katherine of Aragon came to marry Henry the Seventh’s fragile heir, Prince Arthur. Her sisters in law are the Tudor princesses Margaret and Mary. Katherine is widowed within a few months of her glorious wedding, Margaret goes to Scotland at 14 to marry James the Fourth, and little Mary is similarly sent as a teenage bride to wed the aging King of France. Early widowhood shapes all their futures: Katherine enduring years of obscurity at the English Court until Henry the Eighth comes to the throne and chooses her as his wife; Mary throwing off her widows weeds and marrying Charles Brandon with indecent haste following the French king’s demise, and Margaret widowed at the battle of Flodden and accepting a marriage to a Scottish nobleman which she thinks is for love, but is really about power politics, the feeling being that no woman could be an effective ruler without a man in overall control.
Gregory has chosen to narrate their stories using Margaret of Scotland’s voice and employs the clever device of letters between the three women exchanged over the years which put the dramatic politics of the era into more personal terms and show the unique pressures that fell upon noblewomen, particularly royal women, who had to tread the thin line between the personal and the political. Margaret Tudor, mother of James the Fifth of Scotland, is the least known of the three and in this narrative is shown as developing from a vain, silly and rather shallow princess, very much on her dignity and alive to any loss of prestige, into a woman able to face the challenges of a bad second marriage and a difficult regency. The actions of powerful men, the pressures to produce male heirs, the personal tragedies and the fake glamour of royalty are beautifully captured and these three sister queens are the ones who pick up the pieces time and again.
It’s a very good book, which takes the action through several decades at a good pace, whilst giving the story the time it needs to develop and mature.
Philippa Gregory CBE (born 9 January 1954) is an English historical novelist who has been publishing since 1987. The best known of her works is The Other Boleyn Girl (2001), which in 2002 won the Romantic Novel of the Year Award from the Romantic Novelists’ Association and has been adapted into two films. AudioFile magazine has called Gregory “the queen of British historical fiction”.
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