Sunday, 4 September 2016

The King's Curse

I met Philippa Gregory once. It was at a charity screening of “The Other Boleyn Girl”. She was charming, gracious and totally unpretentious. The signed copy of the book is one of my most treasured possessions. I love history especially the periods she writes about and I have loved every novel in The Cousins War series. I love the way she manages to get under the skin of the remarkable women she writes about. and I love the way the same unfolding of historical events is seen from several different perspectives. I think that demonstrates her unbiased view of history. 

The King’s Curse follows on from The White Princess and this time events are told from the point of view of Margaret Pole. Sometimes when you are reading an fictional account of historical events and are keen to progress in the story you can forget about the amount of incredible research that has been done. It is seamless almost, and that is not always the case. Sometimes historical fiction writers fall into the trap of feeling that they have to throw every single piece of research at you no matter what as if to show off how much work they’ve done. I never get that feeling with Philippa Gregory. Everything is relevant but you are almost unaware that it is research driving the narrative forward.

This book was also interesting as much of it deals with Thomas Cromwell’s influence over Henry VIII so it's hard not to be reminded of Wolf Hall. I read and enjoyed that as an intellectual piece of historical fiction and that is not to impugn Philippa Gregory’s intellect in the slightest but her style is a accessible fusion of historical fact with the human element. 

I think, above, all her love of the period she writes about shines through. I guess the Cousins’ War series is at end but the Tudor Court series seems to be continuing and I imagine I shall continue to enjoy her work for any years to come.

No comments:

Post a Comment