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The Queen of Last Hopes by Susan…

The Queen of Last Hopes (2011)

by Susan Higginbotham

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1892392,673 (3.82)16



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Showing 1-5 of 23 (next | show all)
I ditched this one after reading about 2/3 of it. To sum up what I read: battles, battle reports, beheadings, more battles, more beheadings, retreats, heads on pikes, more battle reports, mob executions, pirate beheadings, a wimpy king, more battles, more retreats, and, at the point where I left off, an unexpected and very sappy romance. I just couldn't take any more. Having taught Shakespeare's Richard III for years, I was curious to read a novelized version of the prophetic harpy Margaret's life, but this one was both boring and disappointing. Having read that far that painfully, I'm taking credit for it in my annual book count. ( )
  Cariola | May 9, 2016 |
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 story didn't hold my attention as much and didn't make me want to keep reading, but that changed in the last 1/3. I've not read anything, until now, specifically about Margaret of Anjou, or even much about the Lancasters at this time. I have read more about the Yorkists, but even so, with all the same names being used so often, I did get confused at times trying to figure out who was who! The book did pick up for me in the last 1/3 of the book (but by then, I was also recognizing more of the people and events that were happening). I always enjoy historical fiction from a woman's point of view (though there were portions of the book told from other points of view than Margaret's, but the bulk of the story was hers).

As always, I appreciated the detailed author's note at the end of the book. ( )
  LibraryCin | Mar 28, 2016 |
I really liked the characterization of Margaret of Anjou and the interpretation of her motives for taking up arms in the name of her husband and her son. It was interesting to have a story about the beginnings of the conflict known as The Wars of the Roses told from the Lancastrian side for a change. Margaret herself is the narrator for most of the book, but there are other voices as well, which works well for the most part. However, I found it rather strange to have Henry VI narrate his own murder.

Overall, this is not my favourite book by Susan Higginbotham; it is a quick and easy read, but not as engaging or compelling as her previous works. Having said that, it is still very entertaining and packed with historical details, a book that brings Margaret of Anjou to life beyond the usual cliches. ( )
  SabinaE | Jan 23, 2016 |
3.5 Stars

In The Queen of Last Hopes, author Susan Higginbotham brings to life one of history's most maligned royals, Margeret of Anjou, wife of England's King Henry VI. While I appreciated the historical aspects of this novel, it took me up until the halfway point to start to enjoy the story itself. Most of the novel felt rather flat and rushed - imho 330 pages is simply not sufficient to do justice to the immense amount of history that took place during the time frame covered by this novel. As such, too much of this history was only glossed over, rather than described in the detail and depth I prefer. As such, rather than be drawn into the story I felt as if I was simply an outside observer looking in and, as a result, I had little emotional attachment to the outcome. The Wars of the Roses is such an interesting period of English history, and I admit it was nice to read something from the Lancaster point of view. Despite my criticisms I would still recommend this novel, especially to readers new to the Wars of the Roses period. ( )
  Melissa_J | Jan 16, 2016 |
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 anyone or anything. Yet, there was so much more to him. Yes, that happened for a time, but overall he was just a gentle soul who really wasn’t made for the harsh times he lived in. I liked seeing his depth of courage and his quietly solid convictions that Susan portrayed.

Then, of course, there’s Margaret. Young, inexperienced for the position she was thrust into, but brave and loyal to the end, she brings the reader into her struggle and life with an iron will in a velvet glove. If ever there was a woman in history who deserved the name of “she-wolf”, it was her (and I mean that as a compliment). Sucking me into her struggle and tumultuous life from page one, her characterization is to die for.

There’s the great setting and building up of the political situation of the turbulent Wars of the Roses as well. The reader gets a real sense for what’s happening where and how it affects all the different parties involved. I was able to keep everything straight which is a hard thing to do in this time period for me. The author brings to life the great battles and struggles along with the intimate life at court.

Another great winner from Higginbotham, I loved Margaret’s and Henry’s characters; they really breathed with life. The author also excels with the setting and historical details. I look forward to exploring this author’s other works and any future ones. I know that she has one coming out in 2016 that’s already on my most-anticipated list. Highly recommended for historical fiction lovers, especially for those who love the crazy world of the Wars of the Roses. ( )
  Sarah_Gruwell | Jan 14, 2016 |
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A man other than my husband sits on England's throne today. 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? Margaret of Anjou, queen of England, cannot give up on her husband-even when he slips into insanity. And as mother to the House of Lancaster's last hope, she cannot give up on her son-even when England turns against them. This gripping tale of a queen forced to stand strong in the face of overwhelming odds is at its heart a tender tale of love. Award-winning author Susan Higginbotham will once again ask readers to question everything they know about right and wrong, compassion and hope, duty to one's country and the desire of one's own heart. Praise for Susan Higginbotham A beautiful blending of turbulent history and deeply felt fiction, Susan Higginbotham's The Queen of Last Hopes brings alive an amazing woman often overlooked or slandered by historians. Higginbotham has given readers of historical fiction a gift to treasure.-Karen Harper, New York Times bestselling author of The Irish Princess A compelling, fast paced, and well-written saga that is destined to both entertain and educate anyone interested in the spirited and fascinating Margaret of Anjou for generations to come! -D.L. Bogdan, author of Secrets of the Tudor Court The Queen of Last Hopes is an inspiring novel of a woman who, in the face of betrayal and loss, would not surrender. Susan Higginbotham brings Margaret of Anjou to life and tells the story of the Frenchwoman who was one of the strongest queens England has ever known.-Christy English, author of The Queen's Pawn and To Be Queen.… (more)

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