I was very happy to accept a copy of The Queen of Last Hopes by Susan Higginbotham at no charge for my honest review.
About the Queen of Last Hopes:
Award-winning author Susan Higginbotham will once again have readers questioning what they know about right and wrong, motivations and morals, as they come to feel compassion and hope for Margaret, Last Red Rose of England, in The Queen of Last Hopes: The Story of Margaret of Anjou. Margaret of Anjou, Queen of England, cannot give up on her husband-even when he goes insane. And as mother to the House of Lancaster’s last hope, she cannot give up on her son-even when all of England turns against them. This gripping tale of a queen is at its heart a tender tale of love: passionate, for her husband, and motherly, for her only son. It would be called the Wars of the Roses, but it all began with one woman’s fury.
About the Author:
Susan Higginbotham is the author of seven historical novels, including Hanging Mary, The Stolen Crown, and The Queen of Last Hopes. The Traitor’s Wife, her first novel, was the winner of ForeWord Magazine’s 2005 Silver Award for historical fiction and was a Gold Medalist, Historical/Military Fiction, 2008 Independent Publisher Book wards. She writes her own historical fiction blog, History Refreshed. Higginbotham has worked as an editor and an attorney, and lives in Maryland with her family.
As it was so often in history, a young woman of nobility is sent to marry a King in hopes of securing one thing or another. In the case of Margaret of Anjou and Henry VII it was peace. Women who yielded power and lost have quite frequently been portrayed as witches, whores or any number of other colorful epithets. Margaret of Anjou was written as a “she wolf” thanks to Shakespeare.
Susan Higgenbotham has done a marvelous job of researching Margaret and the War of the Roses to present the often confusing York/Lancaster battles for the crown in this well written new book. I have to admit to a certain confusion over all the back and forth in this time period; it is not a favorite of mine but it does ultimately lead up to those Tudors. In The Queen of Last Hopes Ms. Higgenbotham presents Margaret not as a woman fighting just for the sake of fighting but rather as a mother fighting for the rights of her son. Her son’s claim to that throne was as strong (in her eyes) as the Yorkist claim and she was going to do whatever she could to fight for him and for her country.
The book is hard to put down once started. Each chapter is written in the voice of an important figure of the time so it is not one sided at all. While it IS Margaret’s story other voices do get heard. Ms. Higgenbotham takes some liberties with history for the sake of her novel but she explains them clearly in the notes at the end. It is after all a NOVEL and entertainment is part of the package. And I was entertained as well as educated. What more could one ask from a historical novel?
History is written by the victors and often propaganda is passed as fact. Presenting another side of a story backed by detailed research can open your eyes to rethinking rumors of great historical women.
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