Review: ‘The King’s Curse’ by Philippa Gregory

I received this book for free from requested from publisher in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.

Review: ‘The King’s Curse’ by Philippa GregoryThe King's Curse by Philippa Gregory
Series: The Cousins' War #6
Published by Touchstone on September 9th, 2014
Genres: Adult, Historical, Love & Romance
Pages: 612
Format: ARC
Source: requested from publisher
From the #1 New York Times bestselling author behind the Starz original series The White Queen comes the story of lady-in-waiting Margaret Pole and her unique view of King Henry VIII’s stratospheric rise to power in Tudor England.

Regarded as yet another threat to the volatile King Henry VII’s claim to the throne, Margaret Pole, cousin to Elizabeth of York (known as the White Princess) and daughter of George, Duke of Clarence, is married off to a steady and kind Lancaster supporter—Sir Richard Pole. For his loyalty, Sir Richard is entrusted with the governorship of Wales, but Margaret’s contented daily life is changed forever with the arrival of Arthur, the young Prince of Wales, and his beautiful bride, Katherine of Aragon. Margaret soon becomes a trusted advisor and friend to the honeymooning couple, hiding her own royal connections in service to the Tudors.

After the sudden death of Prince Arthur, Katherine leaves for London a widow, and fulfills her deathbed promise to her husband by marrying his brother, Henry VIII. Margaret’s world is turned upside down by the surprising summons to court, where she becomes the chief lady-in-waiting to Queen Katherine. But this charmed life of the wealthiest and “holiest” woman in England lasts only until the rise of Anne Boleyn, and the dramatic deterioration of the Tudor court. Margaret has to choose whether her allegiance is to the increasingly tyrannical king, or to her beloved queen; to the religion she loves or the theology which serves the new masters. Caught between the old world and the new, Margaret Pole has to find her own way as she carries the knowledge of an old curse on all the Tudors.

The Book DepositoryChapters/IndigoGood Reads



It was remarkable to see the downfall of King Henry VIII told in the eyes of his cousin Margaret. The division of the Catholic Church, how it affected the villages and citizens, his philandering ways and even more wives than one can count. It was all in this book, and I couldn’t stop reading. The book is written from the eyes of Margaret, and she’s telling all the historical events that we know and love. Even the tiniest of details are included. Most of her conversations are with her family, and what they were going through and how she was feeling about everything.


The one surprising thing about this novel was that I had no idea that the Tudor line wasn’t royal by birth and was taken by force. That made sense since the Tudor reign is the most famous even until our modern day and age. The only kind of “history lesson” I’ve ever known is from watching the TV show Tudors, but even so by reading this fictional book, I can see how some could be real and others not so much. One of the more overwhelming feelings that I got from reading this was that of pity. Pity for the entire House of Plantagenet. By being a member of this family line, they were taken to their death. I can see the logic hidden behind King Henry’s decisions, but it was extreme. I’m guessing in the past, it was deemed as a threat to have royal blood. He was a horrible King..I could the change his character went through and to his own family. It was astounding.


Philippa’s writing is on point with the era of that time, and I had to Google some words because I didn’t know what it meant. The family trees were a great help because all their names were the same and it was super confusing as to who was who. I really did feel like I was thrown back into that world and I recommend this for anyone willing to learn a bit about The King’s Curse.

reading progress



It’s barbaric to marry a stranger, and not even be able to speak together. (19)
Your father loves a princess. There’s nothing he likes more than a woman born royal in his power. (22)
He shines on the surface, he sparkles; but he’s not pure gold. (56)
This is a king driven by fear, and rules by greed. (110)
Who will order a King when he is no longer a prince? Who will command a lion when he has learned he is no longer a cub? (262)
You know, a husband, any husband, is set by God Himself to rule over his wife. (284)
She’s like anchor that he has forgotten, but still it keeps him steady. (329)
This is like a sickness. She does not call to his heart, to his true, loving heart. She calls to his vanity and she feeds it as if it were a monster. (354)
Who would ever have dreamed that a King of England would overthrow the laws of the land and the Church itself to get such a girl into his bed? (376)
The King is using torture? Against a boy? (496)
How can I be King and the most miserable man in the world? (530)
He wants the corpses hanged until they rot. (576)
No wonder that you cannot give your lord a child, for since you have no heart you probably have no womb either. (628)





  1. Tamara@Etcetorize

    October 26, 2014 at 10:30 AM

    I enjoy Phillipa Gregory books but always take them with a grain of salt and consider them much more fiction than an accurate storytelling of fact. I love everything Tudor so I may give this book a go.

  2. Librarian Lavender

    October 25, 2014 at 6:52 PM

    Great and very helpful review! I have some of her books waiting for me on my shelves. I know what to expect now :).

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