Thursday, November 8, 2012

Book Review: The Queen of Last Hopes by Susan Higginbotham

Title: The Queen of Last Hopes
Author: Susan Higginbotham
Publisher: Sourcebooks Landmark
Publication Date: January 1, 2011
Paperback: 368 pages
ISBN: 978-1402242816
Genre: Historical Fiction
From the Publisher:

A man other than my husband sits on England’s throne today.
What would happen if this king suddenly went mad? What would his queen do? Would she make the same mistakes I did, or would she learn from mine?
Margaret of Anjou, queen of England, cannot give up on her husband—even when he slips into insanity. And as mother to the House of Lancaster’s last hope, she cannot give up on her son—even when England turns against them. This gripping tale of a queen forced to stand strong in the face of overwhelming odds is at its heart a tender tale of love.
Award-winning author Susan Higginbotham will once again ask readers to question everything they know about right and wrong, compassion and hope, duty to one’s country and the desire of one’s own heart.
My Review:
The Queen of Last Hopes by Susan Higginbotham is a stunningly beautiful portrayal of Marguerite of Anjou and a refreshing look at her life, which is usually told through the Yorkist viewpoint, but not this time. Higginbotham gives Marguerite, who becomes Margaret when she became the Queen of England, her own voice telling the events of 1444-1509 as she lived them. The narration is not solely through Margaret’s voice, several chapters alternate with the voices of key players during the turbulent years King Henry VI was on the throne and beyond. Most heart-breaking to me were the chapters told through the voice of Suffolk, a strong man who did his best to serve the crown. Higginbotham gives historical fiction fans a fresh look at the House of Lancaster and the strength of Margaret, a woman who has often been portrayed in a rather unflattering light, and yet in The Queen of Last Hopes, the reader will see a loving daughter, wife, friend, and mother. Higginbotham cleverly sets the scene during the War of the Roses, shedding an entirely vivid light on the Lancastrian’s side of the War and how one woman fought with tenacity not only for the thrown for her husband Henry, when even he wanted to give up, but also for their son Edward, Prince of Wales. The Queen of Last Hopes is an astonishingly vivid, detailed, and brilliant account of the life of Margaret of Anjou and I was unable to set the book down, Higginbotham kept me engrossed from the very beginning to the last word and I anxiously await her next book. I highly recommend The Queen of Last Hopes to every reader who enjoys historical fiction and to those who have not yet tried a historical fiction book, this is the one to read.
Susan Higginbotham is the author of two historical fiction novels. The Traitor’s Wife, her first novel, is the winner of ForeWord Magazine’s 2005 Silver Award for historical fiction and is a Gold Medalist, Historical/Military Fiction, 2008 Independent Publisher Book Awards. She writes her own historical fiction blog and is a contributor to the blog Yesterday Revisited. Higginbotham has worked as an editor and an attorney, and lives in North Carolina with her family. For more information, please visit her website.
I received a complimentary ARC of The Queen of Last Hopes by Susan Higginbotham from Sourcebooks. Receiving a complimentary copy in no way reflected my review of aforementioned novel.


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