Book Review: The King’s Curse
veronica | I’m a self proclaimed Tudorite, not because I know everything there is to know of the Tudors, but because I find that period of time absolutely fascinating. Having read Gregory’s The Other Boleyn Girl and Wolf Hall by Hilary Mantel, plus research on Henry VIII, I knew a novel written from yet another’s point of view would be thoroughly enjoyable.
The Countess of Salisbury, Margaret Pole’s (nee Plantagent) rise and fall and rise again in the Tudor court is a storied one. Gregory’s ability to give voice to someone so long dead yet so strong in spirit and countenance is extraordinary. Despite knowing her ultimate end, I couldn’t help but root for her the entire way. For an almost 600 page read, it felt like I was reading a comic strip not in its simplicity but for how I enjoyed it.
What I enjoyed the most was the fact that Gregory’s accuracy in retelling Margaret’s side of the story is quite on par with historians. Where she’s taken liberties are in line with the debates over those points, like whether Queen Katherine was a virgin when she married Henry VIII.
Although the novel spanned many years, the plot never dragged and moved along in a pace not usually tied to historical fiction. Every page transported me into Henry VIII’s court, with its excess, grandeur and beauty. You can’t help but have a hatred for Henry VIII’s spoiled, bratty behavior. In the end, I hoped he would just die (he would eventually, sorry for the spoiler) in the novel.
A brilliant move on Gregory’s part was the drawing of the genealogical chart of the Plantagenets and Yorks. I really enjoyed this as the story moved along, it was updated whenever someone died of the sweat or was executed. Though the ending was sad, I was glad to see someone of the Tudor court fight until her very last breath.