Two hundred years after being plucked from obscurity to marry the Crown Prince of Korea, the Red Queen doesn’t want her extraordinary existence to be forgotten. Her long and privileged life behind the Korean palace walls was not all it seemed, and the Red Queen (or her ghost) is still desperate to retell her tale.
Dr. Barbara Halliwell, with her own complicated past, seems the perfect envoy – having read the memoirs of the Crown Princess on the plane to Seoul, Barbara has become utterly engrossed in her story. But why has the Red Queen selected Barbara to keep her story alive, and what else does she want from her? As she explores the inner sanctums and the royal courts, Barbara Halliwell begins to feel a strong affinity for everything related to the princess and her mysterious life. After a brief, intense, and ill-fated love affair, she returns to London. Is she ensnared by the events of the past week, of the past two hundred years, or will she pick up her life where she left it?
Set in eighteenth-century Korea and the present day, The Red Queen is a rich, playful, and atmospheric novel about love, about personal and public history, and what it means to be remembered. Beautifully told, ingeniously constructed, this novel reveals Margaret Drabble at her extraordinary best.
From the Hardcover edition.
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Published in hardcover by Harcourt, 2004, 0-15-101106-0
"A love song to literature." --Chicago Tribune
On the cusp of a trip to Korea, Barbara Halliwell receives an unexpected package with no return address. Inside she finds a centuries-old memoir by a Korean crown princess that details the mysteries of the Korean court as well as the dramas that left the princess childless and her husband dead by his own hand. In Seoul, the intriguing Dr. Oo takes her through the courts themselves, an experience that leaves her as enchanted by him as by the mysterious life of the princess. She returns to England spellbound, wondering whether her life can ever return to normal--and whether she truly wants it to.
A San Francisco Chronicle Best Book of the Year
A Chicago Tribune Best Book of the Year
"An 18th-century Korean princess tells her harrowing life story in...Drabble's lovely, intelligent 16th novel. A-."--Entertainment Weekly
Margaret Drabble is the author of many novels, including The Seven Sisters, The Peppered Moth, and The Witch of Exmoor, and is the editor of The Oxford Companion to English Literature. She lives in London.
Reading Group Guide available at www.HarcourtBooks.com
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