Today’s review is on Three Sisters, Three Queens – the newest of the Plantagenet and Tudor books from Philippa Gregory.
TITLE: Three Sisters, Three Queens
AUTHOR: Philippa Gregory
INFO: Hardcover, Fiction, 577 pages
PUBLISHED: Touchstone, 2016
SOURCE: Purchased for my own use (while waiting at the airport)
FROM GOODREADS: As sisters they share an everlasting bond; As queens they can break each other’s hearts.
“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.
MY TAKE: I have to admit that I really did have higher hopes for this book. Philippa Gregory is one of my favorite authors who takes up a large amount of acreage on my keeper shelves. While Three Sisters, Three Queens is similar to the many other books in the Plantagenet and Tudor series, I felt it just didn’t quite live up to the legacy.
Before this story, I really hadn’t given much thought to Henry VIII’s older sister Margaret. Because I read a lot about the Tudors I was familiar with her, but she’d never really been the main focus in anything I’d covered. This book is written from her perspective and is mostly her story, even though the title might make you think different.
Her sister Mary and sister-in-law Katherine are the other two sisters/queens from the title. The fact that they were more on the sidelines of the story than “title” characters was one of the things that I didn’t care for. At times it appears as if the author is forcing herself to inject them into Margaret’s story instead of there being a natural flow to their interactions.
As for the character of Margaret, she comes across as extremely unlikable. I know it can be difficult for an author to write a protagonist who the readers will instantly dislike. It is also hard to tell if the real Queen Margaret was as awful as Ms. Gregory portrayed her.
On the same token, were Mary and Katherine also as bad as they were perceived by Margaret? Ms. Gregory is quite skilled at bringing these actual figures of history to life in her novels. She brings you into what their world might have been on a daily basis, not just the pomp and circumstance that historians preferred to record. This is one of the reasons I enjoy historical fiction so much, authors like PG pull you into history’s day-to-day activities.
So. While this wasn’t one of my favorites of Philippa Gregory’s books, it is an interesting read. I would recommend it to her fans and those that are interested in that particular time period. I bought it while on a layover at the Portland airport and read it while on a short road trip with my own sister. Thankfully we get along better than these three women, most of the time.
I’m interested in hearing from those of you that have already read this book (or will be soon). What are your thoughts on it?
Coming August 8th…….The Last Tudor