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Philippa Gregory is an outstanding writer of historical fiction.  Her most recent novel Three Sisters, Three Queens is the story of Henry VIII’s two sisters, Margaret and Mary, and his first wife, Katherine.  Although at times they had real affection for each other, they were often in conflict for control and precedence.  Margaret, the oldest Tudor sister, was at court when Katherine came to England to become Henry’s brother’s wife.  Marriage was a political function, so Margaret was there to witness the loss of status Katherine faced when her first husband died and her later elevation when she became Henry’s wife.  Even though Margaret had hoped to marry someone else, she was sent to Scotland to become King James’ wife.  Her treatment by Gregory is what makes an absorbing novel.  Although the major highlights of Margret’s life are well known, her motivations are open to interpretation.  She was widowed when Scotland rebelled against Henry.  Margret’s marriage was supposed to have been a peaceful link, but she basically had to spend her life trying to protect her son’s birthright.  A good historical novel humanizes figures which help the reader better understand and remember the events the characters were a part of.


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