The White Queen by Philippa Gregory
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.
This is the first book in Gregory’s Civil War series. The story follows Elizabeth who marries the new king in secret. At first she is just a young widow in love. She soon realises that this will not be an easy marriage – with the court unhappy about the marriage and brothers going to war against each other. She has to rely on her wit – and a bit of magic to protect herself and her family, while people plot to overthrow her family and even kill them.
I enjoyed Gregory’s Tudor series and was really looking forward to reading this. And I was not let down – I loved it. Gregory writes wonderful historical novels. She does her research well and I never feel like she has made a massive mistake – it always seems realistic and accurate.
Alongside that, she writes a great storyline and great characters. This story is full of adventure, magic, deception and war. Gregory doesn’t pussyfoot around war and the horrors of it, especially back in the middle ages. She writes a gripping tale and wonderful descriptions. We see the battlefield, them hiding in the Tower and in sanctuary in a crypt by the river. So much happened, and it was great reading.
My opinion of Elizabeth changed as the story wore on. At first I liked her – she was young and in love, but the Court got to her and she became determined and headstrong. She was focused on keeping her position as Queen, even if this upset her children and left them isolated without allies. I didn’t like her new character but it felt realistic, power goes to her head. I didn’t particular like Edward her husband. He too was over ambitious. That said, it made for a fantastic read.
I was hooked. Gregory writes exception historical novels that are well worth reading. This one gets top marks from me.