Monday, September 26, 2016

Three Sisters, Three Queens by Philippa Gregory

“There is only one bond that I trust: between a woman and her sisters. We never take our eyes off each other. In love and in rivalry, we always think of each other.”

From the #1 New York Times bestselling author behind the upcoming Starz original series The White Princess, a gripping new Tudor story featuring King Henry VIII’s sisters Mary and Margaret, along with Katherine of Aragon, vividly revealing the pivotal roles the three queens played in Henry VIII’s kingdom.

When Katherine of Aragon is brought to the Tudor court as a young bride, the oldest princess, Margaret, takes her measure. With one look, each knows the other for a rival, an ally, a pawn, destined—with Margaret’s younger sister Mary—to a sisterhood unique in all the world. The three sisters will become the queens of England, Scotland, and France.

United by family loyalties and affections, the three queens find themselves set against each other. Katherine commands an army against Margaret and kills her husband James IV of Scotland. But Margaret’s boy becomes heir to the Tudor throne when Katherine loses her son. Mary steals the widowed Margaret’s proposed husband, but when Mary is widowed it is her secret marriage for love that is the envy of the others. As they experience betrayals, dangers, loss, and passion, the three sisters find that the only constant in their perilous lives is their special bond, more powerful than any man, even a king.


I discovered Phillippa Gregory when I read her first novel, Wideacre. I've been hooked ever since. In Three Sisters, Three Queens, Phillippa is a biographical novel about Margaret Tudor who was the sister of King Henry VIII and who became Queen of Scotland when she married James IV. She is the main focus of the story, but the story is intricately linked to Katherine of Aragon, her brother's wife, and Mary, the Dowager Queen of France, her younger sister. Hence the name Three Sisters, Three Queens. 

What I found most intriguing, is that Katherine of Aragon is not painted as the highly virtuous woman that other novelists describe her as. Rather, Phillippa shows how she was shrewd, unrelenting, and often chastising. Mary is depicted as a definite follower, weakest of the three, who allowed herself to be guided by Katherine. Even Margaret is not without fault - she often compared herself to Katherine and Mary and focused on outperforming them rather than caring for her own affairs.

Historical fiction is fascinating because it allows the author to provide readers with a different perspective, and this book definitely does that. I thoroughly enjoyed the author's point of view while painting a colorful mosaic of medieval life in the Tudor court. A fascinating and most enjoyable read! Highly recommended.  

I received a free copy of this book in exchange for an honest review. Thank you for visiting my blog,, where the greatest historical fiction is reviewed! For fascinating women of history bios and women's fiction please visit

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