Three Sisters, Three Queens is Phillipa Gregory’s most recent historical fiction novel. Set during the Tudor era, Phillipa presents Mary in a much fairer light than history generally paints her, something she admits to doing on the basis that she she logically figures that Mary probably did the best with what she had. It’s not Mary’s fault that there is very little evidence showing the way that she thought and such to show in her favour.
For those of you who do not know, Margaret Tudor is the elder sister of King Henry VIII (Henry Tudor). At the age of 12 or 13, she was married off to King James of Scotland – but she didn’t go to Scotland until she was 14. She had two sons by him, James and Alexander, but only James lived. Her husband, the kind, was killed in a battle against England and that threw her life into turmoil. Alliances were constantly changing and the man she married was constantly working against her, betraying her, and even ended up living with another woman as his wife and having a daughter by this other woman. If you don’t know anything about her, I don’t want to tell you too much because I want you to read the book – even if you do know about her, you should still read the book.
In any case, I really liked Three Sisters, Three Queens. For one, it reminded me about how English-centred the Tudors could be in Henry Tudor / King Henry VIII’s court and it was an interesting perspective to be on the outside of that. Being somewhat removed from the English court and feeling neglected, it is interesting to think about how Mary might have felt, especially because she can be so very jealous of Katherine and Mary. Note that it feels a little off calling her Mary – her name is actually Margaret and she has a sister named Mary and they often also call her Maggie in the book, so work that one out (it’s not confusing though, I promise!). In general, I liked reading a book about not England for once and hearing about the Tudor era outside of the Tudor court, so yay.
The book is called Three Sisters, Three Queens because Margaret (called Mary often) ends up as queen of Scotland. Then Katherine of Aragon married Henry Tudor, making her the sister (-in-law). There is also a younger Tudor sister, Mary, who married the king of France who died real quick and she went off to marry Charles Brandon.
Mary is someone I didn’t know about. To be honest, I didn’t really even realize that Henry VIII had a sister besides Mary (obviously the one really named Mary). Mary (Margaret) was married off right around the time that Arthur died, Arthur being Henrys elder brother – she was too young to be of any concern in England yet – and she was off in Scotland the rest of the time. She’s not even Mary Queen of Scots, whom I have gathered is her granddaughter and created a nice spot of trouble for Queen Elizabeth I during her reign. I must have known about Mary, I just feel like when she was mentioned in other novels or historical accounts that she didn’t make an impression so I didn’t make the connection.
This is Phillipa Gregory’s newest novel and definitely worth a read, so enjoy if you decide to read it.
Title: Three Sisters, Three Queens
Author: Phillipa Gregory
Release date: August 9, 2016
Page count: 560
Genre: Historical Fiction