4 Feb 2012

The White Queen by Phillippa Gregory

I have always enjoyed Phillippa Gregory’s novels. The first novel that I ever read by her was The Other Boleyn Girl, about Anne Boleyn’s younger sister Mary, who, like her was also fascinated by Henry the 8th.We know about Anne Boleyn and Henry the 8th but I never knew that there was another Boleyn girl who was also the King's "wife", or actually his mistress for a short time.
 In this book, Phillippa Gregory has again caught me with her depth of knowledge about the history of the English Kings and her portrayal of the women of the time. The White Queen is set during The War of the Roses, sometime during the 15th century. Written in the voice of Elizabeth Woodfield, this book takes a look at the court of England during this period and what a woman will do to protect her own.

When her husband dies in the Battle of St Albans, his young widow, the Lady Elizabeth sets out to try to win back the lands that she had lost, for her young sons. In the first chapter we see her, purposefully beautifying herself in order to get the attention of Edward IV, the man her family hates and the one who had caused her father to return from battle, white faced and beaten.  She stops him in the middle of the road on the way to another battle, and wins his heart by her courage and beauty. According to her enemies however, this is because she purposely seduced him using magic and witchcraft. She ends up being the new Queen anyway amidst the politics of envy and greed that surrounds the court. When Edward dies young, she has to learn to fight and persevere to retain not only her position but also her very life. Her two young sons are taken away from her, never to be seen again. The throne is taken over by Edward’s brother Richard III and nothing seems to be going for her.

At times the story seems a bit long-winded and confusing, but generally the suspense pulls you in. Will she end up dead or imprisoned? Elizabeth is seen with a sympathetic eye in this story and it is surely a page turner. There is romance,passion, drama, and intrigue to intrest most people. I quite enjoyed it but it can be a bit heavy going, especially in the middle. If you enjoy historical novels, then this would be a good one for you to read. Its fairly serious reading although told fairly simply.


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Gattina said...

Must be an interesting book.