Plot/Idea: The novel follows historic events as they occurred in Margaret’s life. The pace is measured, with enough time to absorb the impact of significant circumstances—like sudden deaths—without spending an inordinate amount of time on any one event.
Prose: Beautifully written, without being overly flowery, the prose draws readers in to Margaret’s world, immersing them in the politics and power plays of the 15th and 16th centuries.
Originality: As a work of historical fiction, this novel sources from existing events and people, brilliantly illuminating their experiences and daily life without resorting to simply reporting fact.
Character/Execution: Margaret is treated with appropriate focus and is a wholly dimensional and compelling main character. Other characters, even fleeting ones, are handled fittingly, so that Margaret’s connection to them is clearly understood.
Blurb: With a strong narrative and compelling characters, Margaret of Austria offers readers insight into the life of one of history’s most intriguing monarchs.
Date Submitted: June 08, 2023
"In Margaret of Austria, Rozsa Gaston offers an engaging account of the life and achievements of one of the foremost prominent figures of her time. The book is a well-researched and meticulously crafted narrative, blending historical facts and fiction in a way that renders the story both informative and entertaining.
Gaston's ability to balance intricate details of diplomatic events and relationships with the broader historical context makes the book a valuable resource for scholars of early modern Europe.
The author sets the stage by providing an overview of Burgundy and a cast of characters that enable readers to follow the complex relationships and political intrigues that shape Margaret's life.
Although the book may be somewhat dense for those unfamiliar with the period, Gaston's writing style, infused with lively dialogue and a spirited narrative, keeps the reader engaged.
Overall, the book offers a nuanced portrayal of a powerful woman in a period when female leadership was often overlooked. It will be embraced by readers interested in the history of women in power."
Author Gaston has brought Margaret to life as a daughter, wife, niece, aunt, friend, politician, ambassador, and diplomat. Margaret, sought after in marriage by the king of England, was a woman who loved with all her heart and governed with rare wisdom. While she never reached the status of queen or empress, she accomplished far more in her role as a Habsburg politician. In a world of ever-shifting alliances and borders, Margaret held the Habsburg empire together by force of charm and intellect. The reader of Margaret of Austria will be both enlightened and entertained.– Peter Clenott, Historical Novel Society
"A novel celebrates the life of a brilliant European power broker of the early 16th century.Gaston's prodigious research brings the early 16th century alive, taking readers inside backgroom negotiations and family wrranglings over wealth and power. Brimming with the trials and triumphs of Margaret's personal life, she emerges as a charming, savvy, and wily hero, capable of manipulating Europe’s political chessboard.A diplomatic tale that's rich in history and filled with enticing drama."
“Compelling and wholly convincing — at once a vividly readable novel and a long-overdue presentation of Europe’s unsung heroine to the broad audience she deserves. This telling of Margaret’s story is captivating on a personal level, and classily comprehensive on sixteenth-century diplomacy.”