Too many historical novels are like tapestries: detailed, finely wrought and colorful, but essentially static. Things happen to these needlework queens and kings, courtiers and common folk, but they remain lifeless figures. They put me to sleep.
Philippa Gregory’s fiction keeps me up. Her books resemble films, as accurate as any documentary but thrillingly intimate and eventful as well. A rich, consistently engrossing narrative voice is her preeminent tool, and in THE RED QUEEN, as in her other bestsellers, I felt that the protagonist was right in the room with me, whispering confidences --- so close that I could