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The Queen of Last Hopes: The Story of Margaret of Anjou

3.93  ·  Rating Details ·  1,669 Ratings  ·  158 Reviews
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?
ebook, 368 pages
Published January 1st 2011 by Sourcebooks Landmark
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Jan 06, 2011 Susan added it  ·  (Review from the author)  ·  review of another edition
Well, I wrote it, but it is on my bookshelf!
History tends to remember King Henry VI merely as a “mad king” and his French, fiery wife Margaret of Anjou as a staunch fighter for the Lancastrian cause while the Yorkists took the lead. As with everything in life; there are two sides to every story. Susan Higginbotham explores the often lesser depicted side of Margaret of Anjou in, “The Queen of Last Hopes”.

“The Queen of Last Hopes” follows typical Higginbotham protocol by spending what feels like a lengthy time (approximately 100 pages in t
Rio (Lynne)
Nov 22, 2011 Rio (Lynne) rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
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
Sep 16, 2011 Jackleen rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
The Queen of Last Hopes was the first novel I have read by Susan Higginbotham. It will not be my last. This story of Margaret of Anjou was a much needed, if tragic, alternate point of view in the current York saturated historical fiction genre. And, I thoroughly enjoyed it. The writing was lovely; the characters well drawn and endearing; the plot well paced, (if not completely surprising as the events entailed are well known,) refreshing and captivating. However, the greatest achievement of this ...more
Jinny (Lost-At-Sea Book Reviews)
A lot of his-fics on the War of Roses seem to focus primarily on the York side of the battle. This novel decides to focus on the Lancaster side of the battle, a story that is told much less often. The title refers to Margaret of Anjou, the queen of King Henry VI (Lancaster side) during the war and this story is supposed to focus on her tale. I say “supposed to” because despite the title, I found the novel focused on the entire Lancaster story, not just Margaret. Margaret certainly got more chapt ...more
Susan Higginbotham excels at writing historical fiction that makes the reader think. After dozens of books casting Woodvilles as evil, Yorkists as saviors, and Lancastrians as inept usurpers, this author will make you rethink the stereotypes and assumptions. In this particular novel, it is Margaret of Anjou we are tempted to think of as a devoted and upstanding queen rather than the she-wolf ravaging England with her hired mercenaries.

It was a challenge. While I don't know that I feel much more
Judith Arnopp

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
I was first introduced to this author earlier this year, and I’ve been working through her stuff throughout. She has a real gift for historical fiction that I’ve had pleasure in experiencing. This addition is no exception.

Again, she is able to give life to her historical figures like few others can. I was especially impressed with Henry. History likes to forget him as the mad, weak king. You’re left with an image of a muttering, sad wreck of a man staring off into space and not acknowledging any
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 was the first book by Susan Higginbotham that I had read, and I loved it!

Susan’s books are like literary tardises, I often think – they look like the size of a standard novel, they have the same number of pages – 320 or so here – and yet they must be bigger on the inside somehow, because whenever I read the last page and put the book down I feel like I’ve just read a full length epic. It feels like a much longer book. This is the skill with which The Queen of Last Hopes is written. It packs
Oct 18, 2010 Marie rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: own
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
Apr 17, 2011 Svea rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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
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
Sara Giacalone
My biggest issue with Susan's books is they end! I really enjoyed this one - it was very interesting to get a Lancastrian perspective on the Wars of the Roses, and to see a different view of Henry VI and Margaret of Anjou. It's true that Susan makes them very likable, yet manages to stick mostly to facts. Of course she does take some artistic liberties; I enjoyed her embilleshments about Margaret's relationship with Somerset and thought the story plausable. This is one I'm sure I'll want to read ...more
Rebecca Huston
A fascinating -- and very even handed -- retelling of the story of Margaret of Anjou, Queen of Henry VI of England. Most novels cast her as a villain, but this one gets it right, with a story and heroine that is very sympathetic and understandable.

To read the longer review, please go here:

Amy Bridges
Jan 07, 2011 Amy Bridges rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Loved it! I haven't read a book in a long time that made me cry at the end, but this one had the tears rolling. I feel as if I know a little bit more about the Wars of the Roses (which isn't saying much!) :-) I'd recommend this one in a heartbeat!
Pamela Mclaren
Higginbotham chose a different path in writing up this story about Margaret of Anjou by having the story mostly from her voice but including chapters by others, including her son and her husband. I'm always sad about stories where people are married in their mid teens and have to make decisions that can throw countries into civil war, as was the case here. Margaret of Anjou was sent to England at the age of 15 -- from a poor but titled family related to the King of France, who uses her as a pawn ...more
Marie Z. Johansen
Dec 13, 2010 Marie Z. Johansen rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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
Jun 23, 2013 Donna rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: fans of historical fiction, fans of Jean Plaidy, Alison Weir, Nora Lofts
The Queen of Last Hopes: The Story of Margaret of Anjou The Queen of Last Hopes tells the story of Margaret of Anjou and the reign of Henry VI from the rarely heard perspective of the Lancastrians. I think nearly every historical novel I've read that takes place during the reign of Henry VI has demonized Margaret of Anjou so this was such a new and refreshing viewpoint that it read like a story I was completely unfamiliar with. From the beginning, Margaret seemed like such a weak and foolish wom ...more
Jan 02, 2011 Erin rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
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
Dec 08, 2010 Terra rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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
Amy Bruno
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
This book left me disappointed. It was my first one about the War of the Roses and it was a mistake to start with Susan Higginbotham (that last name good GOD). Her writing is dull and lifeless and I didn't feel anything for the characters when they died.

One example of her writing is that when Margaret de Anjou has to marry a proxy of Henry VI, it goes like this: "I was formally betrothed in the Church of St. Martin at Tours on May 24, 1444, with William de la Pole, then the Earl of Suffolk" like
Kristina Church milashus
I really enjoyed this book, although I really hated reading it. Weird review, I know. I always root for the underdog. In this case, the underdogs being Henry VI and his queen, Margaret of Anjou. Now prior to reading this, I had read nothing good of Queen Margaret, which is wholly unfair. I think that she acted in the same way any other mother, let alone the queen and mother to the heir to the throne would everything within her power to restore her husband the king and protect her son's ...more
3.75 stars

Margaret of Anjou was born in France and later married to King Henry VI of England; he is the King Henry who was “mad” and thought to be an ineffective ruler. The had only one son, Edward. As the Yorkists rose up to take the throne at the start of the Wars of the Roses, Margaret did what she could to help her husband win his throne back and to secure the throne for her son for later. This is a fictional account of Margaret's life.

I liked this. I will admit that the first 2/3 of the st
Sep 28, 2016 Susana rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This story elicited many conflicting emotions in me, because I have read other versions of the character that Margaret of Anjou showed in her time to those around her, friend or foe; and it didn't coincide with the Margaret depicted by Susan Higginbotham. But the authoress has made me accept this version because the motives behind the queen's actions are very well supported in this novel. She was only a girl of 14 and didn't feel loved by her people, trough her years of ruling queen, suffered a ...more
4+ stars...

This was my 2nd Higginbotham book and I have been very pleased with both I have read. I have done what I feel is pretty extensive reading on the War of the Roses time period, and I especially enjoyed this look at yet another angle of it. The main focal character is Margaret of Anjou, Queen to Henry VI. So, of course, it is from the Lancasterian point of view. I appreciate reading about Margaret as a "real" person and not the horrid "she-wolf" she is usually described as. Most people a
Well I put off and put off reading this book it's been on my kindle for months, cause I just didn't think I would really like it. I was so wrong in every way. I thoroughly enjoyed this book it is very well written and full of history, and put together a lot of characters and their line of family history that I could never quite get right. I feel as though I have put a lot of faces with names and understand their roles during this time in history. This book covered my favorite period of time in E ...more
Mar 20, 2010 Jemidar rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition

Really 4.5 stars.

I love this book for a number of reasons, not least because it is well researched and intelligently written. The best bit though for me was getting to hear about the Wars of the Roses from the "other" side. Granted, it's not as much fun as being on the Yorkest side, but it was a refreshing change and sensitively done. The clincher for me was that by the end I was so emotionally involved with the characters that I cried (something that rarely happens) and would've given anything
I understand that the author wished to portray Margaret of Anjou in a more positive light than history has previously cast her, however I feel she tried too hard. She is so moralistic and preachy she came to annoy me. No-one could fault Margaret for looking back on her life and being bitter. She lost everything--her husband, her son, her crown.
Yet Susan Higgenbotham's attention to historical detail is remarkable, and anything that is is pure fiction she points it out.
This novel was just a bit t
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Play Book Tag: The Queen of Last Hopes / Susan Higginbotham. 3.75 stars 3 11 Mar 30, 2016 09:12AM  
Sinopsis en Español // Synopsis in Spanish 1 2 Feb 24, 2015 05:12PM  
European Royalty: Queen of Last Hopes, Part I 4 25 Mar 28, 2012 04:53PM  
  • Pale Rose of England: A Novel of the Tudors
  • Queen By Right
  • To Be Queen: A Novel of the Early Life of Eleanor of Aquitaine
  • Within the Hollow Crown: A Reluctant King, a Desperate Nation, and the Most Misunderstood Reign in History
  • To Defy a King (William Marshal #5; Bigod #2)
  • The Countess and the King: A Novel of the Countess of Dorchester and King James II
  • Treason
  • I Am the Chosen King (Saxon #1)
  • The Reluctant Queen: The Story of Anne of York (Queens of England, #8)
  • The Darling Strumpet
  • The Queen's Rival (In the Court of Henry VIII, #3)
  • The Princess of Nowhere
  • Virgin Widow: England's Forgotten Queen
  • The Sister Queens
  • Queen Hereafter: A Novel of Margaret of Scotland
I am the author of two historical novels set in fourteenth-century England: The Traitor's Wife: A Novel of the Reign of Edward II and Hugh and Bess. Both were reissued in 2009 by Sourcebooks.

My third novel, The Stolen Crown, is set during the Wars of the Roses. It features Henry Stafford, Duke of Buckingham, and his wife, Katherine Woodville, as narrators. My fourth novel, The Queen of Last Hopes,
More about Susan Higginbotham...

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