Tuesday 20 July 2010

Review: The White Queen - Philippa Gregory

Genre: Historical fiction
Pages: 417
Published: 2009 Simon & Schuster

The first in a stunning new series, The Cousins War, is set amid the tumult and intrigue of The War of the Roses. Internationally bestselling author Philippa Gregory brings this family drama to colourful life through its women, beginning with the story of Elizabeth Woodville, the White Queen. The White Queen tells the story of a common woman who ascends to royalty by virtue of her beauty, a woman who rises to the demands of her position and fights tenaciously for the success of her family, a woman whose two sons become the central figures in a mystery that has confounded historians for centuries: the Princes in the Tower whose fate remains unknown to this day.

I might have read a Philippa Gregory book way back, before the Tudor books, so I was very curious how she wrote when I started this one. And I liked what I read. I read a book about the War of the Roses not so long ago, but this story can sure be told again.

It's about the sometimes oh so confusing War of the Roses. Lancaster about York, cousin against cousin, brother against brother. Elizabeth Woodville was a young Lancaster supporting widow who asked the new York king to help her get back the land for her two sons. They married, and the story begin with her living it. Edward IV trying to hold his throne, Warwick resenting her, Henry VI trying to take his throne back, trouble with his brother George, and all those Lancaster and York supporters changing sides and rooting for new supporters.

This book made me google, a lot. A really interesting historical novel always makes me to that, I want to have a look at everyone involved, see what happened before, and what will happen. One thing I was happy about to see was the family tree in the beginning, because that was needed so see where the Lancaster house and The house of York really fought for, and of course to see where the house of Tudor started.

I came to like Elizabeth through this book, and she really loved her husband, even though he had bedded half the women in England, but he still loved her like crazy. And I liked him even if he slept around.

But there were some aspects that were a bit, I mean I had nothing against it, but felt it didn't have to be there. The house of Burgundy claimed that they were descendants from Melusina, this half woman, fish being that lives in lakes. There was magic in the women of the family. I am glad that she never said that it was magic; instead she just made Jaquetta and Elizabeth witches who thought they managed to make some things happen. Just because Jaquetta was accused of being a witch doesn't make her one. The best way to discredit a king is to call him a bastard, his wife a witch, and more. The reason why they surely married in the first place was lust, cos yes he got around. But in the end, I didn't mind really. Let them think they have powers.

She also took up the subject of Perkin Warbeck, and made him truly be Duke Richard, one of the princes of the tower. Interesting take on an age old question, but no, I to think they both were killed, one way or another. Who killed them is another matter.

Last is just a personal thing, Elizabeth of York (Elizabeth W's and Edward's daughter) was rather silly in the end. Come on, falling in love with her uncle, Richard III, gross. And he had killed her uncle, her half brother, and more. He might have killed her younger brothers. He stole the throne, and she liked him? Well at least she did in this book, the truth we will never know. But there was sure something fishy going on at that court. But anyway, I did not care of her in this book.

A good book about the War of the Roses, and of one fascinating woman. I hope the Red Queen is equally good as this one.

Blodeuedd's Cover Corner: very pretty.
Reason for reading: From Simon & Schuster
Final thoughts: She brings to life an era filled with war and backstabbing brothers. It's not an pretty era, but it is sure interesting.



  1. Ohhh I've never read a book about The War of the Roses I think. I've been looking at this book for quite some time as I told you. I read so many mixed reviews about this book I wasn't sure.
    I think I'll read it because it sounds very interesting.

  2. Great review! I have't read a Philippa Gregory novel yet because I was introduced to Jean Plaidy first, but this looks really great. Thanks for sharing!

  3. Great review, I always enjoy books like this one, the Queens and Kings of England always intrigued me. But I am with you on the whole falling in love with her uncle part, eeuwwww!

  4. Pat
    Never! Lol, this is actually only my second. I have come to like the time, even if they did nothing else than stab each other in the back

    And I haven't read a Plaidy one :( Sadly they can't be found in the library, but I do wanna try her one day

    I was really fascinated by Henry I when younger, dunno why, I was always weird. But yes kings and queens of England are sure fascinating.
    Eeeuwwww indeed

  5. I really hope to read this soon. I have had my eye on it for ages.

  6. Vivenne
    Do read it, I am sure you would like ti

  7. Really enjoyed your review B! It's been years since I read a Philippa Gregory book and I remember her writing being historically accurate and flowed beautifully..

    I think most of the kings slept around at that time and intermarrige wasn't uncommon amongst the upper classes so maybe Elizabeth of York really loved her husband despite his failings.

    The history surrounding the War of Roses sounds facinating though.

    Thanks so much for sharing your thoughts on this one, I really enjoyed!

  8. Years back I was a Philippa Gregory groupie. I devoured everything she wrote. Then I went on a hiatus. Why? I really have no idea. I need to get back to reading her novels again. I do have the ebook of The White Queen. I should start it. Thanks for the reminder.

  9. Lea
    My friend keeps telling me to read The Other Boleyn, some scene with a tear licking...hm. Well I did finally read one, and liked it.

    Elizabeth Woodville truly seemed to love her husband, well in this book at least, and she didn't mind him going around. Then again it was another time. And it was her daughter that fell for her dad's brother. That part has always put me on edge, well at least they didn't have time to marry.

  10. Wisteria
    Lol, my friend seems to be a groupie, at least her Tudor books groupie. Now I finally read one and she was all, ok. Perhaps she has a crush on Henry the eight ;)
    Hope you read it

  11. I enjoyed this one too, not her best work for me but I'm looking forward to The Red Queen. Great review :-)

  12. Although I've enjoyed some PG's other books I didn't care for this one at all mainly for the reasons you mention. And I, for one, do not believe Elizabeth of York was in love with her uncle.

  13. I love a book that makes you google things for sure. I think I might just buy a copy of this one!!

  14. Teddyree
    Then I really should have a look at the rest too, but not a big fan of the Tudors

    I certainly hope so, that would have been wrong on so many levels, and just stupid of her. Not that fond of her

    *waves to Chris*

    Lol, it is sure fun, yesterday the I traced the whole English family back step by step to see it all came to play

  15. Great review. I really enjoy her books but haven't got to this one yet. This is one of my favorite time periods to read about.

    I also really value a book that makes me want to go out and research further on my own. Never stop learning!!

  16. I read a lot of Philippa Gregory books a few years ago, but I think I have outgrown her books. I haven't read this one, but the last couple I read were average at best. It is a shame, because when I came back to reading historical fiction after a break, she was one of the authors that I just couldn't get enough of.

  17. Jules
    I can recommened this one then, I really enjoyed it and the War of the roses is just such a great period to write about.

    My friend wasn't that bothered when I told her I had read this one, just cos the said the books cos worse, in in the way she wrote...Well I couldn't see that here since I liked it :=)

  18. Nice review! I have this book on my TBR rhis summer and I'm looking forward to reading it.

  19. Great review. It's been a while since I read this one but I remember really enjoying it. I bet The Red Queen will be just as good.

  20. I didn't care for the Melusina part of the story either, but other than that thought it was a good read.

  21. I like Gregory's work but I have had enough of the witches bit. I'll pass on this one. Thanks for the excellent review :)

  22. i just finished this one too :) I really liked edward too, even though he had so many affairs.

  23. Host
    I hope you will like is as I did, how could one not like this time. I mean there was a guy who chose death by drowing in a wine barrel, they were freaky

    I can't wait to find out. I am very unsure how I will like the red queen in person, but I sure hope as much as Elizabeth

  24. Alyce
    That part felt, well I just played it like they were all silly, and enjoyed the rest :)

    There is no excess of withyness, they said their mind now and again of what they wanted and that was it

    Funny really, I thought I would have been very displeased with him but he seemed like such a cheerful king, and loving, and I forgave him

  25. I've been wanting to read this one, I love this author.
    Great review! Her books always make me google too.

  26. Interesting review. I have Philippa Gregory's books on my TBR. Just don't know when I'll get around to them.



Copyright © 2008-2020 Book Girl of Mur-y-Castell All Rights Reserved. Proudly powered by Blogger

  © Blogger template Starry by Ourblogtemplates.com 2008 Modified by Lea

Back to TOP