4.5 stars! This is my 4th Higginbotham novel, well 5th if you count The Prince Who Did Not Become King: Edward of Lancaster, 1453-1471 (a short biography) and once again I was not disappointed. As many reviewers have mentioned, most books we have read about The War of Roses are usually about The Yorks and very biased. This is the first book I have read about Margaret of Anjou. She is known historically as the "She Wolf" because how dare a mere woman fight for a cause. The author takes you throug...more
Margaret of Anjou is married to Henry VI with hopes of making peace between England and France. But Margaret won’t find her life easy in England; the peace doesn’t succeed, people won’t trust her because she’s French and her being unable to produce heir doesn’t help. When she finally gives birth to a boy after 8 years, rumours starts guessing who the father really is. Then there is Richard, Duke of York, who believes that he has stronger claim to the throne and when Henry goes mad, he believes h...more
I have a cursory knowledge of the time period many people refer to as The War of the Roses. Therefore, I cannot weigh in on how accurately Higgenbotham relates the details of this time period, aside from one of the best Author's Notes I've seen included in a historical fiction piece in a long time. What I can tell you is that Higgenbotham produces a work that leaves me anxious to conduct further research, wonderfully written from a novel standpoint, and aptly ties the tale to a more widely known...more
Great Book!! Susan Higginbotham did a great job in reviving history through the eyes of Margaret of Anjou. Her struggles and hopes for peace, as well as the future of her son and husband are born out beautifully through this novel. Royal history is sometimes a hard thing to fathom as the names, people and genealogies are a hard grasp for many, but Higginbotham manages to smooth sail over many of these anomalies and bring the reader not only a sense of what is going on, as the queen moves to rebu...more
I had just finished reading Higginbotham's The Stolen Crown and this book was perfect to read immediately afterward as it was from the point of view of Margaret of Anjou, the Queen Consort of mad Henry V whom Edward IV usurped the crown from in a fateful battle of the War of the Roses. Higginbotham brings life to Margaret, often portrayed as cold and shrewd as a woman who is fighting for her king's reign; fighting for her son's future when her king, although kind and gentle, is weak and not acco...more
When it comes to the Wars of the Roses, there are always a couple questions that come to mind: are you of a Yorkist or a Lancasterian opinion? Did Richard III kill the princes in the tower? Was Richard III a corrupt and merciless man? These questions are often the focus of many historical novels set during this time period, and it is not very often that a book is written with an emphasis of how it all began. The Queen of Last Hopes begins with Margaret of Anjou preparing to leave for England, wh...more
Fourteen year old Margaret of Anjou was England’s last hope for peace. Instead, her marriage to King Henry VI of England not only fails to end the 100 year war with France, it is the launching ground for one of England’s most famous civil wars: the War of the Roses. Little did chaste and devoutly Catholic Margaret and Henry know that their actions while on the throne of England would set off a chain of events that would end with the rise of the House of Tudor and the creation of a Protestant fai...more
First of all I have to confess that Susan Higginbotham's books are among my favorites in historical fiction. I am not associated with either the author or the publisher, Sourcebooks Landmark. I am just a happy reader!
This book follows the story of Margaret of Anjou - also known as the "mother" of the house of Lancaster- and her marriage to King Henry VI who, after 8 years of marriage descended into the oblivion of madness and religious obsession- leaving the rule of his country to Margaret . Mar...more
The War of the Roses, ok I will do my best. Margaret of Anjou was married to Henry VI from the house of Lancaster. Together they had a son Edward. Henry was mad, other people wanted power because they all descended from the same king. Warwick, the king-maker plotted with the Duke of York, and what follows is battles, the king being captured, Margaret plotting for her husband and son, more battles, people turning sides etc etc. King Edward IV. Exile, plotting, and then I will not even go int...more
In "The Queen of Last Hopes", Susan Higginbotham accomplishes what I am comfortable enough now to think of as a perfect War of the Roses historical novel.
Though the putative focus of the novel is Henry VI's queen, Margaret of Anjou, and much of the story is told from her perspective, Higginbotham fascinatingly interweaves Margaret's account with those of others close to her. The simplest and most obvious benefit of her doing so is that this saves the reader from the repetitive agony familiar to...more
We're all (okay may not all ... but many of us) are used to reading much history and historical fiction from the Yorkist point of view. So, it is hugely refreshing to hear from the Lancastrians and much overdue I must say! The fact that this point of view is largely from the female perspective is fascinating and also wonderful. So many people are maligned during this period leading up to and after the War of the Roses that it's a bit difficult to separate the wheat from the chaff. And it has alw...more
I very much wanted to like the book, and it does, indeed, have some nice qualities. It is full of interesting, historically accurate information, and it is obvious the author is passionate about her subject and tries very hard to leave an impression on the reader, to make him/her reflect on the story and to come to a decision regarding who is the villain in the Cousin's War - York or Lancaster. Unfortunately, this passion does the book more harm than good; all Yorks are painted as cartoon villai...more
This story was absolutely wonderful with vivid scenes that pop before your eyes. The characters shower you with feelings so raw that you can't help but feel as they do. This is a story that is very difficult to put down.
Margaret of Anjou is but a child when wed to King Henry and the House of Lancaster. A child who not only needs to grow up quickly but is pulled between loyalty to the man she marries and her Uncle, The King of France. She is a strong character that bears much for those she loves...more
So, having already read Sharon Kay Penman's excellent The Sunne in Splendour, I picked up this book, also about the War of the Roses, because I thought it would be cool to read about the same time period as seen through the eyes of Marguerite of Anjou. By 75 pages in, I realized the characters were all way too bland to hold my interest. Besides, Higginbotham's "rethinking" of Marguerite looked like it was going to boil down to "she did everything to protect the rights of her husband and son" and...more
In 1445, aged fifteen, Margaret of Anjou was married to King Henry VI of England, a marriage intended to restore peace between France and England. When Henry declined into madness eight years later, the heavily pregnant Margaret was drawn to the forefront of English politics. In stepping from her prescribed feminine role to oppose the claims of the Yorkist faction she became a target for enemy propaganda. Her fierce protection of her son, Edward of Lancaster, and her refusal to admit defeat did...more
A beautifully written reminder that history is written by the victors. And now for a ramble... For years now I've been reading novels about Richard III. There's been a recent surge in his popularity - unlike anything he experienced in life. Historians and readers have suddenly decided that poor old R3 was much maligned by Shakespeare and those nasty Tudors and that the TRUTH of it is that he would have, could have, been the best king England ever had. Don't get me wrong, I buy into that theory as m...more
I knew absolutely nothing about Margaret of Anjou so that was one of the reasons why I wanted to read this book. I didn't love this book, but I didn't hate it either. The writing came across like a textbook to me and I never felt that the characters were really fleshed out and brought to life. I honestly do not care whether I ever read another book about Margaret again...she bored me to tears. I was a bit intrigued by her "maybe" love interests and actually found the male characters more interes...more
This is the first book that I have read on the Wars of the Roses that has been from a Lancaster point of view and I was surprised how the author was able to turn my opinion to their side after reading this book (though I have to admit as I am writing this I am reading another WOTR book from the York side and now I am leaning back that way too!). I think that part of the draw was that the story is mostly narrated by Margaret of Anjou who has been victimized by history as a “she-wolf” and seen mos...more
Wow - what a story, what a life. . . my goodness . . coming into this story not knowing anything of Margaret of Anjou I was completely saddenend and heartbroken over the whole ordeal. The beginning started out so sweet and promising. I loved how Margaret and King Henry met in this book. But it quickly dissolved into a nightmare for the royal couple.
Being a newbie to this particular era, I kept my hope alive, wishing things would turn out in Queen Margaret's favor. The ending was so unfair and a...more
Margaret of Anjou is married off to Henry the VI with the hope that the marriage will bring finally peace between England and France. Margaret finds in Henry on one hand a faithful and devout husband, but on the other hand an often too forgiving and weak ruler. This leads to rivals challenging the legitimacy of his authority and taking reign. Margaret, caring for a mentally ill husband and protecting the rights of her son, leads the Lancaster faction into a series of battles that led to a great...more
Wonderful! Took me a bit of time to get into, but once I was hooked, I was hooked. I always approach this author's books with skepticism, and end up in love with her way with the historical figures she portrays. She restores humanity to the maligned she-wolves, incapable kings and avaricious nobles of last medieval England. It is easier to write accounts from the side of history's victors. This author delves right into the lives of the losers, granting readers of historical fiction with well-wri...more
As the red rose on the cover indicates this novel is about a Lancastrian queen: Margaret of Anjou, the queen of Henry VI. Susan Higginbotham narrates Margaret’s life against the backdrop of the earlier part of the Wars of the Roses through the eyes of a variety of Lancastrian witnesses, often Margaret herself, but for scenes where she was not present she uses others, for instance William de la Pole or Henry Beaufort as well as Margaret’s husband and son.
This is, dare I say, the perfect historical novel. It took me longer to finish than it should have- I’m 8 ½ months pregnant and exhausted all of the time so I’m not able to read much before I conk out. But that does not reflect how much I enjoyed it. I’m not surprised. I’m familiar with Higginbotham’s blog and I was not disappointed by her novel.
I fancy myself a historian though I’m more of a librarian with a history degree so I can truly appreciate Higginbotham’s approach which is fact-based....more
I first fell in love with Susan Higginbotham's novels last summer when I read The Traitor's Wife while on vacation in San Francisco. Even since I've devoured every one of her other novels and been hungry for more. Just the way that she portrays history with so much accuracy, detail and overall beauty is delightful. Not only that, but she manages to build compelling characters that come to life on each page. While I admit that I haven't loved any of Higginbotham's other works as much as The Trait...more
The Wars of the Roses has been my favorite period to read about during the last two years. Following that would be the Tudor era, but the battles between the Lancastrians and the Yorkists are always full of passion and from so many points of view that I have not been bored yet after reading many books on the era. I will not recount the events of the novel as there are many characters and titles to decipher that is hard to keep up with. Using a few key players, such as the fatherly Suffolk, the m...more
Much of my readings on the War of the Roses have been from the Yorkist point of view, painting the matriarch of the Lancaster faction, Margaret of Anjou, as the devil incarnate, a she-wolf capable of devouring small (preferable Yorkist) children. So, when I saw that Susan Higginbotham was coming out with a novel on Margaret, I knew this would be my opportunity to read about the real woman behind the myth.
Born to Queen Rene and Queen Isabelle of Anjou, Margaret was betrothed to King Henry at age...more
Margaret of Anjou, born and raised in France until the age of 15 at which time she became the wife of King Henry VI. She was the Queen Consort of England, twice. Her husband King Henry VI had frequent bouts of insanity thus having Margaret ruling England in his place. She was one of the main figures in what was called The War of the Roses, between Lancastrians and Yorkists. Lots of intrique and switching of loyalties by some main characters.There was a long time animosity between Margaret and th...more
A fascinating and gripping novel about Margaret of Anjou, wife of Henry IV.
I must admit, I knew next to nothing about this woman, but from what I understand, she hasn't had a very good reputation through the centuries of history. Of course, as is with history, one version or one opinion of someone from somebody often becomes fact and that is how a historical figure is perceived, so I am not so quick to judge Margaret.
The Queen of Last Hopes shows a Margaret who is steadfast, loyal and driven, bu...more