She fantasized about living the life of Joan of Arc, championing God's causes on the battlefield and in 15th century Britain's royal court. From a very early age, Margaret Beaufort focused on her destiny as the heiress to the red rose of the House of Lancaster, convinced that her devotion to God would lead her to a calling of greatness. Her first big disappointment was her betrothal to Edmund Tudor, the King's half-brother. Her loveless marriage gives her a son, Henry, but leaves her a widow at the age of 13. Widowed and powerless, her son is given to the younger Tudor brother, Jasper, as his ward. Jasper becomes her ally in raising her son, training and educating him to become the future King of England. As she enters into two more marriages, she see the House of York rise and fall. As the war of the roses is waged for the throne of England, Margaret spends hours on her knees, waiting and praying for signs from God as outrageous politics and plotting between cousins carry on around her. As the years pass, and her son George and ally Jasper Tudor are banished from England as enemies to the York throne, Margaret's religious fervor and political ambitions transform her into a cold, calculating powerbroker. She takes her place in history as the matriarch of the Tudor dynasty when the last Yorkist king, Richard III, is killed in battle by her son, Henry Tudor. King Henry VII married Elizabeth of York, Edward IV's daughter, thus uniting the two warring houses. Their son, Henry, becomes King Henry VIII, and the rest is history.
For fans of historical fiction, particularly of British regency, this is fascinating reading. The author allows the reader to get inside of Margaret's head to see what drove her. The transformation from a powerless little girl who's only role in life was to bear a male heir to the Lancaster line to a ruthless political mastermind is as resolute as her ambitions. Gregory's picture of her as a stalwart, god-fearing matriarch is in stark contrast to her rival as Henry VIII's other grandmother, Elizabeth Woodville in The White Queen. One would have to believe Margaret Beaufort was the mother-in-law from hell.