I have just discovered Philippa Gregory as an author and found this book fascinating. The author has put flesh and blood on the bones of history. The Wars of the Roses is a period of English history which confused me immensely when I had to study it at school and although this is historical fiction, it is so completely credible that it is hard to discern where the historical facts end and the fiction starts.
Margaret Beaufort, according to this book, is a deeply religious but very ambitious woman who will stop at nothing to get her son on the throne of England. Believing she is doing God's will, the political deviousness Margaret is prepared to undergo makes her a fascinating character. I am not sure anyone reading this book could actually like Margaret or condone her actions, but perhaps we can understand her motives. Whether she was really anything like this fictional account is a good question, but nonetheless it makes for a good read.
The use of religion in the story to give Margaret a motive for her actions is similar to what makes the news headlines today. For anyone who wants to criticise religion, they will find plenty of ammunition here. However, I think that Gregory has managed to accurately show that the blind faith of those in the Middle Ages coupled with ideals of the value of human life at the time, are a very different view of what we in the 21st century have established and all this makes for good debate for any book club or historical scholar.
I look forward to reading more by Philippa Gregory and learning more thought provoking history while being entertained and enlightened.