Tuesday, December 22, 2009

Review of The White Queen


The White Queen by Philippa Gregory
*Published: 2009
*Pages: 411
*Genre: Adult- Historical fiction
*My rating:  5 out of 5 stars



Philippa Gregory, who is known for her historical fiction focusing on the Tudors, probably has exhausted all of the plot lines concerning this illustrious family.  But I welcome this change and I’m glad she signed a three book deal with her publisher concerning the War of the Roses.  After all, this topic was good enough for Shakespeare! The first novel in the trilogy, The White Queen, focuses on the fascinating Elizabeth Woodville, who is reputably the most beautiful woman of her time. Elizabeth, grandmother to the notorious Henry VIII, is a widow; her husband, Sir John Grey, died at the Battle of St. Albans, which in turn left her without land and in charge of her two young boys.  To top it off, she is living in her parents’ home and desperately wants her independence.  She tries to obtain the King’s attention as he rides by on the road and hopes to plead her case to him.  She not only pleads her case, but she also impresses him with her beauty and determination.  Before we know it, Elizabeth is involved with the King and everyone knows what gossip, intrigue, and political turmoil will follow!

This book was absorbing and inspired my interest in the time period, which is ultimately what every captivating historical fiction should do.  I also liked Gregory’s portrayal of Richard III and her twist on the Princes in the Tower.   The mystery of the Princes in the Tower is still unsolved today and Gregory’s scenario is quite feasible.  Additionally, I thought the incorporation of the myth of Melusina was an interesting touch. Even though this book is lengthy, I read it in only a few days simply because I couldn’t seem to pry myself away.  After Gregory’s last novel, The Other Queen, which I felt was extremely disappointing, I feel it’s safe to say that she is back!

 With that said, I wait with anticipation for the second novel in the series, The Red Queen, which will focus on Lady Margaret Beaufort, who is mother to Henry VII. The final novel in the trilogy will come from Princess Elizabeth of York’s point of view; Princess Elizabeth of York is the daughter of Elizabeth Woodville and the mother to the Tudor dynasty.


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