It’s been quite a while since I read any of Philippa Gregory’s novels, so I was quite pleased when my Bookclub* suggested The White Queen as our December read. *meets in real-life and discusses books over cocktails!!
In previous years, I read mostly historical fiction and a bit of “chick-lit” ; since meeting some new book-ish friends, I have diversified into thrillers too.
Initially, the switch in writing style was quite a challenge; I soon overcame this (aside from one paragraph that took up half a page and had some many commas I couldn’t work out which was the clause of the sentence… But anyway!)
The White Queen is set in the late 1400s and tells the story of Elizabeth of Lancaster, wife of King Edward IV of York and his many battles to keep the throne. Amongst her many children, Elizabeth has two beloved sons from her marriage to Edward – those Princes in the Tower from your long-forgotten history lessons.
The family feuds were ruthless – brothers would stop at nothing to undermine each other’s claims to the throne, including casting aspersions on their parenthood! Much is also made of Elizabeth, and whether she was a witch who had enraptured Edward and tricked him into marriage, thus demonising her relationship and its credibility.
Philippa Gregory weaves a fine tale, blending fact with fiction, that keeps you engaged and intrigued throughout. Her writing is both beautiful, simple, languid and pacy – moving on where necessary but providing details where it adds colour to the story.
MetLineReader Rating 3.5⭐️⭐️⭐️
I enjoyed this book, but I think I preferred The Other Boleyn Girl.
About this book
Brother turns on brother to win the ultimate prize, the throne of England, in this dazzling account of the wars of the Plantagenets. They are the claimants and kings who ruled England before the Tudors, and now Philippa Gregory brings them to life through the dramatic and intimate stories of the secret players: the indomitable women, starting with Elizabeth Woodville, the White Queen.
The White Queen tells the story of a woman of extraordinary beauty and ambition who, catching the eye of the newly crowned boy king, marries him in secret and ascends to royalty. While Elizabeth rises to the demands of her exalted position and fights for the success of her family, her two sons become central figures in a mystery that has confounded historians for centuries: the missing princes in the Tower of London whose fate is still unknown. From her uniquely qualified perspective, Philippa Gregory explores this most famous unsolved mystery of English history, informed by impeccable research and framed by her inimitable storytelling skills.
With The White Queen, Philippa Gregory brings the artistry and intellect of a master writer and storyteller to a new era in history and begins what is sure to be another bestselling classic series from this beloved author.