The Red Queen is two separate stories about 2 women separated by ethnicity, occupation and time. The first story is about the narrator of this book, a young girl who is chosen to be the bride of the mentally ill Crown Prince of Korea. Set 200 years ago, this part of the book provides a captivating description of court life in 19th century Korea. Lady Hyegyong is fortunate to be selected to marry the Crown Prince. But as the story unfolds, the Crown Prince becomes more and more deranged, behaving erratically and committing many crimes including the murder of members of the Royal Court. The second story - still narrated by the ghost of the Red Queen - is about a British academic, Dr. Barbara Halliwell, who is attending a conference in Seoul about health policy. Much of this part of the story is about her sightseeing in Korea as well as a very brief fling with one of the keynote speakers at the conference. Although Barbara is fascinated by the tragedy of the Red Queen, what really ties these two women together is that Barbara also has had a tragic life with the loss of a child and a husband who is insane. So interesting to see how these two women had similar circumstances, but had completely different choices in their lives.