Philippa Gregory offers up another fascinating novel that combines the stories of three very different Queens and the complicated relationship between them.
Told through the eyes of Margaret Tudor, Henry VIII’s sister, Philippa Gregory offers a richly detailed account of her life and struggles being Queen of Scotland. Meanwhile entwined with this are letters from her sister-in-law Katherine of Aragon and younger sister Mary – together they are tied together in an age where women in powerful positions actually had very little influence.
In this novel, Gregory vividly brings these three very different personalities to life: Margaret who feels in constant competition with her other sisters and a sense of pride in her station, Mary who is extremely vain and takes nothing seriously and Katherine of Aragon who in comparison to the Constant Princess novel devoted to her is even more religious and self-righteous than previously thought.
As well as the rivalry between them all, the novel also highlights the political turmoil between England, France and Scotland and the delicate balance of power between all three countries, particularly concentrating on Margaret’s struggles to hold power in the light of the death of her husband James and then the betrayal of her second husband. It is a novel of conflicting emotions and is genuinely heartfelt and sincere from beginning to end.
With any Philippa Gregory novel, there is a vividness in detail and it is clear a lot of thought has gone into getting the historical details just right – even if certain events and conversations don’t exactly happen as the author imagines them, it is enough to get the reader interested in the background history and perhaps even encourages readers to look into it even more.
Essentially though, it is a story of complicated relationships that changed according to what was happening in the wider world, brought into sharp focus by the story of three very different women and how their misfortunes actually helped raise the fortune of the other sisters. A fascinating read.
Three Sisters Three Queens is available to buy through Amazon now.