A King’s Curse is spellbinding

'The King's Curse' by Philippa Gregory
'The King's Curse' by Philippa Gregory

Philippa Gregory, who brought us ‘Elizabeth the White Queen’, ‘Margaret the Red Queen’ and made us fall in love with Anne Neville’s husband Richard III, now introduces us to Margaret Pole, Countess of Salisbury.

She was the daughter of George, Duke of Clarence, and Isabel Neville, and niece of King Edward IV and King Richard III. But her life changed in 1485 when Lancaster heir Henry Tudor came to the throne and ended Plantagenet rule. Her cousin, Elizabeth, The White Princess, married Henry while Margaret married Tudor supporter Henry Pole, before becoming lady-in-waiting and life-long friend to Catherine of Aragon and lady governess to her daughter Mary.

The book follows Margaret’s eventful life. She is tragically widowed with five small children and no money, though when Henry VIII comes to the throne her fortunes improve. But, as the King slowly becomes a paranoid, fat, selfish tyrant, her fortunes decline dramatically.

In Margaret, Phillipa Gregory has given us another fabulous heroine; a likeable, clever character who becomes one of the wealthiest women in the country. The reader is drawn into her passion for life as we see her manage her lands and properties and look after her family and servants. When’s the TV series...?

‘The King’s Curse’ by Philippa Gregory is published in hardback by Simon & Schuster, priced £20 (ebook £8.83).

The second release in the Jefferson Winter thriller series sees the ex-FBI agent and private investigator take on a killer on the loose in Louisiana. From the offset, the reader’s with Winter on his journey, trying to keep up and piece the mystery together with him. Travelling the world hunting serial criminals, Jefferson Winter is an eccentric character who is haunted by the legacy of his notorious serial killer father – something that helps his insight into the psychology of criminals. It may be best to read Broken Dolls though before you sink your teeth into Watch Me.

Although it’s a completely different story, a few chapters in, I felt slightly unconnected from the protagonist, although it’s still easy to get wrapped up in this tale. It’s the perfect crime thriller; blackmail, kidnap, murder – there’s not much else you could ask for. .

‘Watch Me’ by James Carol is published in paperback by Faber & Faber, priced £6.99 (ebook £1.49).