Saturday, August 27, 2016

Three Sisters, Three Queens by Philippa Gregory Review

Title: Three Sisters, Three Queens
Author: Philippa Gregory
Age Group: Adult
Genre: Historical Fiction
Series: The Tudor Court, book two
Star Rating: 5 out of 5 Stars

I borrowed this book from my local library and reviewed it.

I first read Philippa Gregory's books back in high school--I'd always enjoyed historical fiction up until that point, but when I read The Other Boleyn Girl, it really ignited my fierce love for history, especially British history. I've bought and borrowed some of her books since then, but I'd hadn't really read any recently until I heard about Three Sisters, Three Queens. I reserved it at my library immediately, hoping and praying that it delivered.

And I'm so happy to tell everyone that I didn't have a thing to worry about. With her usual meticulous research and exemplary writing skill, Gregory more than delivers--she packs over thirty years of history in this hefty novel, told from the point of view of Margaret Tudor, who grows up to be the famed 'Bloody' Mary, Queen of Scots. She is the primary focus of the novel, as well as her two sisters: the devout, pious Katherine of Aragon, and Margaret's little sister, Mary. The entire novel revolves around these three women, often so maligned by history that no one now really knows the truth about them. I really liked the way the story was told, through Mary's present-tense, first-person point of view, with letters from Katherine and Mary serving as a different take on the events of the book. Margaret's relationship with her sisters was totally captivating, loving and gentle at one turn and furious and cutthroat the next. And then there was Margaret herself--I was really sympathetic toward her throughout the novel, because she was always being overlooked, despite her fierce loyalty to her family. This book was thick with political intrigue--it was so exciting and informative, all at once!

The novel spans over three decades, from the time Mary is a child and meets Katherine, closing with Anne Boleyn's fierce and bloody ascent to the throne of England. Three Sisters, Three Queens was a sort of reminder to me, about how historical fiction is so important. I really, really enjoyed it. I loved the amount of research and care that was put into this book, though I'd expect nothing less from the woman who has made a rich, rewarding career from the genre. I didn't realize after I'd read it that it wasn't a standalone, but it wasn't a big deal--I really liked the story on its own. This book is definitely one of my favorites of this year, and I can't wait until I can start more of Gregory's work. I'm officially addicted. The bottom line: One of my favorite books of the summer, Philippa Gregory has woven another spellbinding, well-researched story about three women who are often overlooked or besmirched by history--absolutely amazing! Next on deck: Huntress by Malinda Lo!

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