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The Queen of Last Hopes: The Story of Margaret of Anjou [Paperback]

Susan Higginbotham
4.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (14 customer reviews)
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Book Description

10 Feb 2011
Margaret of Anjou, Queen of England, cannot give up on her husband even when he goes insane. And as mother to the House of Lancaster s last hope, cannot give up on her son even when all England turns against them. This gripping tale of a queen is at its heart a tender tale of love: passionate, for her husband, and motherly, for her only son. Award-winning author Susan Higginbotham will once again have readers questioning what they know about right and wrong, motivations and morals, as they come to feel compassion and hope for Margaret, Last Red Rose of England.

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Product details

  • Paperback: 368 pages
  • Publisher: Sourcebooks Landmark (10 Feb 2011)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1402242816
  • ISBN-13: 978-1402242816
  • Product Dimensions: 2.5 x 15.2 x 22.8 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (14 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 203,244 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Product Description


In her latest novel, Susan Higginbotham takes on the task of redeeming yet another maligned historical figure: Margaret of Anjou, wife of the ineffective King Henry VI and mother of the doomed Edward of Lancaster. Told in multiple first-person accounts (including a few from the grave), the story follows Margaret from her marriage to Henry as a sprightly girl of 14, through a few short happy years of marriage, to the decades of conflict and heartbreak that would later be known as The Wars of the Roses and led to her ignominious end. Rather than an evil, heartless manipulator, Margaret is portrayed as a regular woman who loves her eccentric husband dearly; as he grows more distant and her son comes of age, that love is transformed into a determination to save her family from ruin. Instead of an emotionless monk or raving lunatic, Henry is shown as a loving husband, pious and mild-mannered but not completely useless. Their love is sweetly comfortable, even after separation and madness. The prose stays within the parameters of this genre; there s plenty of exposition, but it never feels unnecessarily packed in. Readers unfamiliar with the Wars of the Roses might be overwhelmed by the sheer amount of information, but that s par for the course with this time period. A more balanced view of Margaret might have been more convincing; it could be argued she s been redeemed so much that she has few (if any) flaws left. Otherwise, however, the historical research is impeccable as always, the characters endearing, and the storytelling as engaging and entertaining as this author s fans have come to expect. Another fine volume of biographical fiction from Susan Higginbotham. --Historical Novels Review 28.01.11

About the Author

Susan Higginbotham writes her own historical fiction blog, Medieval Woman, and is active on Twitter. She is also a member of the Historical Novel Society and is a regular contributor to its publications. Susan co-founded the bulletin board Historical Fiction Online, a popular website for lovers of historical fiction. She lives in North Carolina with her family.

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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Brings the characters to life 27 July 2013
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
Susan Higginbotham'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 packs in so much story. Occasionally, several months are covered in one chapter, or events are summarised in a scene that perhaps I would have preferred to see played out, but Higginbotham uses what little space there is so well. The story doesn't feel abbreviated, or choppy, or disjointed, as some shorter historical novels can. Instead, the choice of key scenes feels eminently judicious, succinctly conveying the information the reader needs - and without drumming us over the head with it or providing unnecessary info - and picking out key moments in the characters' lives, which are written with such insight and realism, that I could easily imagine the historical human stories and personalities, and very quickly engaged with and empathised with the protagonists. This style of historical writing is one I favour.

Higginbotham is attentive to historical detail and fact, seeking to produce a more genuine, accurate, gripping truth, and dispelling baseless myth. Fictitious elements where included are fully disclosed, plausible, and do not warp or directly contradict the actual history, and the research is impeccable. Higginbotham has a real understanding of human character and how to convey that on the page. The best stories always seem to have the most human characters. These people are not "good" or "bad", or defined by a handful of key traits repeated over and over again.
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6 of 7 people found the following review helpful
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
Well it was difficult to get interested enough to want to read on, and on, as the story was very long and drawn out. I felt that a lot more colourful characters could have been put in to hold the readers interest, without getting them too confused. I know that can be difficult, but that said, it did not make you feel any pity for this woman somehow. But at least it was not a pie`s nest such as the BBC gave us in their dramatization of Phillippa Gregory`s three books, "The White Queen". Yes I do agree with the critic who said it should be named "The White Elephant". But going back to this book, I was quite relieved to have finished it, hence the 3 stars. I do wish American writers of historical novels would not use Americanisms such as `gotten` - what on earth is wrong with the word `got`? They do need proof reading for an English market. And no I am not offering myself up for the job.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Glad I persevered 1 Jun 2013
By Mrs.
Verified Purchase
When I began listening to this book I found the narration extremely irritating, particularly the male voices which in the case of men aged between 30 -50 were indistinguishable and I did not feel were suited with the character and personalities, however there is much that we do not know and the more controversial of the myths surrounding Margaret and these rumoured transgressions were convincingly and sensitively weaved in to a novel that offers much to commend regarding historical accuracy. I enjoyed hearing the story from each different characters perspective and have purchased the book which I am sure I will enjoy as much...far more convincing and less flowery than other well known authors, I just wish a bit more thought went into choosing a narrator who could manage a little more than a stereotypical depiction of some of the characters which makes some of them appear sneering and simpering in a rather unnatural way. No regrets though will listen to it again in the future and looking forward to reading an otherwise exciting book which convincingly allows the reader to experience the true and brutal nature of war.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars 10 July 2014
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
Speedy delivery service. Book just as I expected. A very well written historical novel.
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2.0 out of 5 stars Boring 18 May 2014
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
I could not finish this book, had no interest to read it. There is nothing else to say a waste of time
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5.0 out of 5 stars Queen of last hopes. 3 Mar 2014
By maribee
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
A very well written insight into the life of Margaret of Anjou...at times difficult to put down... Go on, treat yourself!
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5.0 out of 5 stars Fabulously absorbing 9 Dec 2013
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
This book absorbed my attention more than most books do, so I have to give it a plug and the author a thank you for so skilfully widening my knowledge of the dramatis personae involved in the 15th century's French-English conflict. Without excellent historical stories like this, how could I ever work out Anne Neville and her husbands? And I suspect the author could have got away without explaining the Louis XI-Warwick-Lancaster axis in the context of the York-Burgundy alliance, but didn't - you are given clear answers to questions that might emerge, so you are not left frustrated. She writes dialogue very well, subtly teasing motive out, but does not waste time getting the story to you. I knew absolutely nothing about Elizabeth Woodville until two months ago, with the opening episode of the excellent Philippa Gregory TV mini series, to which this book is a perfect single volume companion. I now have two more 15th century Margarets to explore - Beaufort and Burgundy - hopefully whatever I find is as accessible and enjoyable as this.
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
4.0 out of 5 stars Queen of Last Hopes
Great research mixed with Poetic Licence.. Good read and would happily recommend this to anyone with interest in Historical British novels.
Published 10 months ago by massie
5.0 out of 5 stars Engrossing novel
This is an engrossing novel about the life and struggles of this Medieval queen, wife to the Lancastrian King Henry VI, battling to maintain her weak husband's throne against the... Read more
Published 11 months ago by John Hopper
4.0 out of 5 stars Queen of last hopes The story of Margaret of Anjou
This book made Margaret seem more human than in previous historical novels. Love for her son ne ver in doubt, but some of her decisions questionable , could have changed English... Read more
Published 11 months ago by Clare Chapplow
4.0 out of 5 stars Highly recommended
Anyone who had tried writing historical fiction will tell you how challenging it is to find the right balance between carefully researched facts and the fiction necessary to `fill... Read more
Published 11 months ago by Tony
5.0 out of 5 stars Queen of last hopes
A really good read I enjoyed the pace and depth of the story fiction at fact mix perfectly would recommend to anyone who loves the medieval period
Published 12 months ago by Carol O'Reilly
5.0 out of 5 stars Could Not Put It Down
I really enjoyed reading this book. If you enjoy historical novels then you will enjoy this one. Susan Higganbotham has again written a book that will have you questioning what... Read more
Published 18 months ago by Ms. N. J. Parker
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