Philippa Gregory Makes History Come Alive – A Review of The Red Queen

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audio book, downloads, digital download gift subscriptionPhilippa Gregory Makes History Come Alive – A Review of The Red Queen

I’m a big fan of Philippa Gregory’s work but I had never listened to one of her audio books before. I decided to start with The Red Queen narrated by Bianca Amato. Like many of Gregory’s books, this historical fiction audio book is told from the perspective of an important woman and this time it’s Margaret Beaufort, heiress to Lancaster House.

Margaret has always felt that she was special and that she had a calling. She felt that God spoke to her, that her will was God’s will and that she was destined to be an abbess. Unfortunately for her, women in England in the 1400s really did not get a choice of what they wanted to do with their life. Especially since she is cousin to the King, she doesn’t have the option of becoming a nun; she must marry and produce an heir.

The story follows Margaret through her multiple marriages and her journey to see her son become King of England, which she is determined to see happen. Margaret is a very proud and selfish woman and of course does not see these qualities in herself. She is not the most likeable protagonist which could make this audio book frustrating for some listeners. I found the story to be quite good even though I didn’t particularly like Margaret. At points I was laughing because she is so completely determined and self-absorbed she doesn’t really comprehend what is going on around her.

Philippa Gregory does not disappoint with this sequel to The White Queen. I found it very interesting to see the second perspective on the Cousin’s War. This is a great book for Philippa Gregory fans and for Tudor fans who want to know more about Henry VIII’s father and grandmother.

Have you listened to The Red Queen? Share your thoughts in the comments section!

Banned Books Week

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audio book, downloads, digital download gift subscription

Banned Books Week

We love stories. That’s why we are in the business of storytelling. But what happens when certain stories are withheld from the public, access is denied in schools and libraries? This is no new concept, certain books still get banned. Censorship is still alive and well and continues to be implemented in school boards all over the world today.

This week, Sept 24th-Oct 1st has been declared Banned Books Week, a time when libraries, schools, and bookstores celebrate our First Amendment freedom to read. Whether it’s print or in the form of an audio book, stories are a precious resource that provide us not only with entertainment, but information, ideas, opinions that may otherwise not be heard.

Recently, there have been various books banned, books I recall reading way back in my high school English classes. Below are some commonly challenged books that you might be interested in. But as you review the list, ask yourself, where do you stand with the content questioned? Sure, there are various reasons why these books are banned, some due to sexual perversity or overall obscenity like Lolita, or because of political, religious, or racial grounds, but does that make it right to remove it from bookshelves?

Commonly Challenged Books:

To Kill a Mocking Bird by Harper Lee –A classic work of literature that was banned two years ago from a high school in Brampton, Ontario due to the prejudice in the novel. A parent objected to the language used, like the vulgar “N” word used in reference to African-Americans.

Slaughterhouse Five by Kurt Vonnegut – Although this book came out 42 years ago, this summer a high school in Missouri banned Kurt Vonnegut’s counter-culture classic from its library and curriculum alleging the book promoted “values contrary to those found in the bible”.

Others include:
Leaves of Grass by Walt Whitman
The Handmaid’s Tale by Margaret Atwood
1984 by George Orwell