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What to Read: The Red Queen

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April 04, 2016
CIO/CFO Column: What Keeps Me Up at Night
Jon Inge

What's On the Bookshelf
Over the years, we’ve had numerous conversations with industry leaders and often one of the topics that we discuss is the latest book read. We thought it would be fun to share some of these booklover conversations with our readers. Here are what our industry leaders are reading.

The Red Queen
By Philippa Gregory
[Review by Jon Inge]

For any English history buffs who were as riveted by "Wolf Hall" as I was, "The Red Queen" by Philippa Gregory is another fascinating look at the drama and treachery behind the rise of England's royal families. It tells the story of Margaret Beaumont, mother of Henry VII, and takes place during the Wars of the Roses – the struggle for dominance between cousins from the houses of Lancaster (whose symbol was a red rose) and York (a white rose). Heiress to the house of Lancaster, Margaret was married at age 12 to the Welshman Edmond Tudor. She gave birth to Henry at the age of 13, but later had to send him first to live at the court of her Yorkist enemies, and later to France to save his life. The story of how she continually rose to power through well-arranged marriages (her first two husbands died from battle wounds) is fascinating. 
Philippa Gregory is a great storyteller (she also wrote "The Other Boleyn Girl") and holds your attention throughout even though you know the final outcome; Henry defeats the Yorkist Richard III at Bosworth, marries York's Princess Elizabeth and unites England prosperously under the red and white Tudor rose. Remarkably, Ms. Gregory does this while telling the story from Margaret's first-person viewpoint, and Margaret is a decidedly unattractive heroine. Believing herself to be an English equivalent of Joan of Arc, she is selfish, manipulative, hypocritical and prideful, never wavering in her belief that her son must be King and that it is her divine right to be the Lancastrian ("red") queen mother, entitled to sign her name "Margaret R."  Thoroughly recommended.
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