The White Queen (The Cousin’s War, #1) by Philippa Gregory

Hardcover, 416 Pages - Published August 18th 2009 by Touchstone - ISBN-13: 9781416563686

The White Queen

(The Cousin’s War, #1)

by Philippa Gregory

Philippa Gregory, “the queen of royal fiction” (USA Today) Presents the first of a new series set amid the deadly feuds of England known as the Wars of the Roses.

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.

**Review: This is my first experience with Philippa Gregory. I’d never heard of her before until the book, The Other Boleyn Girl was made into a movie. I was asked to read and review this book. I’m glad I was asked.

I was awestruck by the amount of history and historical facts in this book. I’ve never been much for English history, and I think I’ll leave it that way. It’s not that I didn’t like it, but I was so confused half of the time I didn’t know if I was coming or going. Why parents insist on naming their children the same names over an over, even back then, is astounding; I had a hard time remember which Edward was which, which George was which, which Richard was which. The only two names that really stuck out: John and Henry – no one else had those names! Talk about lack of imagination … good grief, LOL!

The amount of plotting, deceit, made me sick to my stomach. I can’t believe people lived that way back then: some in constant fear for their lives, some always believing they are right, some having to do things in order to keep themselves ‘above water’… I can say I’m glad the world doesn’t live like that now.

I read one reviewer’s comment that they were ‘glad the book wasn’t romanticised’. Frankly, I think I needed it to be a little more. I felt nothing for the characters, I could not associate with them in any way, I felt detached from the whole thing. Another reviewer stated that, while it wasn’t the author’s best book, it is also far from the worst. I cannot comment, as I’ve stated this is my first taste of Philippa Gregory, but I don’t think it will be my last.

Queen Elizabeth wasn’t endeering to me at all. Her ambition for the throne left a sour taste in my mouth; she pleads that she loves her husband, and yet, now that he’s dead, she continues to push, even in sanctuary. Even after being defeated, dethroned, judgement passed that her marriage was a sham, her children declared bastards, she still continued to plot and scheme, to see either her son or her daughter on the throne. By the end of the book, all I kept thinking was – why? I still don’t get the ‘why’. I’m afraid someone will have to explain that one to me; it went directly over my head by at least a dozen miles.

The plot is fast-paced, and the author leaves enough of a cliffhanger that pretty much guarantees you’ll pick up the next book.

For me, it is the history in this book that has me rating it 4 stars. I am curious to see if the Queen’s son, Edward, was ever found, if her daughter Elizabeth sits on the throne, if her son Richard does… (how can you tell I don’t know much about that history.) It’s the history in the novel, the plotting, the scheming, the deceit, that makes the book riveting.

Rating:

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