Thursday, June 05, 2008

Mini-Review: The Red Queen by Ruth S. Perot

Recently, in a book-buying spree at Amazon, I picked up copies of two historical novels about Margaret of Anjou. The first is best left unnamed. Though the writing in itself wasn't bad, its plot consisted mainly of Margaret of Anjou having sex with men, boys, and women from all classes in all sorts of settings. (This may be the only historical novel written where Elizabeth Woodville and Margaret of Anjou have a lesbian relationship. Hopefully, it will be the last.) On the plus side, the author appears to have done a fair amount of research, so at least Margaret was having sex with people with whom she was known to be in the same geographical area as at the relevant time.

The second Margaret of Anjou novel is The Red Queen by Ruth S. Perot, which apparently was self-published in 2000. Unlike the first book mentioned here, which reads like a schoolboy fantasy run amok, The Red Queen is a rather sedate telling of Margaret's story, reminiscent of Jean Plaidy's The Red Rose of Anjou. It's a sympathetic look at Margaret, though it doesn't gloss over her faults either. The writing is solid, as is the research.

This novel could stand to be longer. In less than 300 pages, The Red Queen covers 40 years, and the period from 1460-71 seems to have been given rather short shrift. I would have especially liked to have seen more interaction between Margaret and her maturing son, between her and the Earl of Warwick, and between her and Anne Neville. It was nice, however, to see some familiar faces from the Wars of the Roses without the stereotypes that mar so many novels set during this period. For telling the story of a woman who's too often been reduced to a mere caricature, Perot deserves high marks.

8 comments:

Carla said...

"This may be the only historical novel written where Elizabeth Woodville and Margaret of Anjou have a lesbian relationship"
Words fail me.

The Perot novel sounds worth a read, though.

Susan Higginbotham said...

Could have been worse--could have been Margaret Beaufort.

Actually, the author missed a perfect opportunity for one last encounter--by having Richard, Duke of Gloucester come to the Tower to kill Henry VI and to bonk Margaret, in whichever order you please. I was disappointed that he exercised restraint in this regard.

Susan A. said...

Are you talking about the Alan Savage book? All his historical books are like that (one long orgy)Check out the reviews of his Eleanor of Aquitaine books on Amazon.com
Susan

Carole said...

Just out of interest, who does the author of this bed-hopping epic have as the father of Margaret's son?

Susan Higginbotham said...

Susan A--yup, that's the one! Loved the Eleanor of Aquitaine review--the Margaret one is very similar, it seems.

Carole, the Savage book has Edmund, Duke of Somerset as the father. Margaret consoles herself with Elizabeth Woodville (her lady in waiting) while the Duke is incarcerated.

Susan A said...

He wrote one on Queen Joanna I of Naples as well. Queen of the Night" Very much like the others.

Gabriele C. said...

Well, I'm all for a scene where Richard visits Henry in the Tower, but not to kill him. *naughty grin*

Brian said...

The Alan Savage books are good for a grin. I think his idea was to pack in as much sex as possible, no matter how unlikely. As a Unique Selling Point I'm not sure that isn't a good strategy to sell books! Not that I would do anything like that, of course...