Thursday, September 26, 2013

Review: The White Queen

The White Queen
by Philippa Gregory

Why did you choose this book? I’ve been wanting to read this for a long time
When did you read this book? Aug 2013
Who should read this book? fans of historical fiction; especially early England
Source: library
Here is a synopsis of The White Queen from Goodreads

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.
My Review 

I’ve been planning to read this book for a long time. I’ve always enjoyed historical fiction from based on the royal dynasties of England. I actually added this book to my TBR almost 4 years ago! So I don’t really know why I haven’t read it before now. But I happened to be in the library and saw it laying there and figured ‘it’s time!’

I really enjoyed this one. It is a long read full of detail, but well worth it. I really didn’t know much at all about the history before Henry VIII until earlier this year when I read ‘The Stolen Crown’ by Susan Higgenbotham, which I loved! The White Queen is actually the same story, but told from Elizabeth Woodville’s point of view. (The Stolen Crown was told from her sister, Katherine’s point of view.) As some reviewers have mentioned, there were an awful lot of Richards and Edwards and Henrys and Elizabeths running around England in those days, and reading both books helped me nail down how they were all related.....kind of anyway.

One thing I liked was how both authors started at the same place, with a set of facts and histories, and then used their imagination to fill in the blanks. This led to a lot of very similar stories in the book; for example, how Elizabeth and Edward were married in secret and how the marriage was revealed. But there were also some major points of difference; who was responsible for the disappearance of the ‘little princes’. At the end of this book, in the author notes, the author did clue us in a bit on what was fact and what was filled in with her imagination. This is always something I appreciate from an author when I read historical fiction!

Coincidentally, shortly after I finished this book, I learned that there is a STARZ mini-series based on the book. The first episode was free, and though not as good as the book (when are adaptations EVER as good?) it was pretty good. So you might want to look for it if you enjoy this period of history.

Now I can’t wait to get to The Red Queen!

My Rating:  ★★★★   4 Stars

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