Summary: 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.-- Touchstone
I have been anxiously awaiting the new Philippa Gregory book THE WHITE QUEEN. Like many, I enjoyed THE OTHER BOLEYN GIRL; however, I didn't exactly love the last book that I read by Ms. Gregory. I was sincerely hoping that THE WHITE QUEEN would love up to all its advance billing. After reading it (or you could say devouring it), I am so excited to say that Ms. Gregory is back. I loved THE WHITE QUEEN!
THE WHITE QUEEN is the first book in The Cousins' War Series. You can't see me, but I'm doing a little happy dance because that means there will be two more books about the Plantagenets -- THE RED QUEEN and THE WHITE PRINCESS. I am already excited about the release of the next book because I felt as if I was kind of left hanging at the end of THE WHITE QUEEN. I don't mean that in a negative way and I'm sure it was the author's intent, but I want to know what happens next!
While I definitely enjoy historical fiction, I am sadly lacking in knowledge about England and its Monarchy. As a result, I knew almost nothing about the Plantagenets except for a few small things that appeared as side stories in other novels. I can't tell you how much of this story is fact versus fiction; and frankly, I don't even care. I was fascinated by the story Ms. Gregory told about these characters' lives. THE WHITE QUEEN is better than any televised drama or movie I've ever seen. These characters are smart, determined, and ruthless; and I just loved reading about them.
I thought THE WHITE QUEEN had a little bit of everything; and I'm sure there is something in Elizabeth Woodville' s story that will capture your attention. First, THE WHITE QUEEN is just a fabulous historical story about the Cousins' War. There are so many scenes where brother is pitted against brother for control; and the characters involved have absolutely no idea who they can and can not trust. It was a great, suspenseful ride for the reader too! I also thoroughly enjoyed how Ms. Gregory used facts to tell the story while also embellishing the mysteries and holes in the characters' lives to make a very readable story. I realize that Ms. Gregory picked some fascinating people to write about, but a whole lot of credit goes to her for being such an amazing storyteller.
Another part of this story that will keep many readers entertained is the magical and sorcery elements. Elizabeth is said to be the descendant of a mythical water creature called Melusina. Ms. Gregory incorporated the myth of Melusina into the novel and actually used it as a recurring theme/symbol throughout the story. In addition, Elizabeth's mother practiced some examples witchcraft. Some people actually claimed that Elizabeth's mother put a spell on Edward to make him fall in love with her daughter. The character of Elizabeth also had premonitions about certain things and places in her life. She always had a bad feeling that something awful would occur in the Black Tower.
One of my favorite elements of the THE WHITE QUEEN was the love story angle. It seemed to me as if there was a perfect blend of romance and history in this book. Not only did THE WHITE QUEEN show the love affair between Elizabeth and Edward, but this book is also demonstrated the love between mothers and their children. More than once, I was amazed by what women did to protect their children especially in the case of Elizabeth and her sons.
THE WHITE QUEEN would make an excellent book club pick. In fact, if your group enjoys historical fiction like mine does, then you should definitely consider this book in the very near future. One added bonus is that the book is around 400 pages (shorter than many historical novels), and it is not at all overwhelming in scope. There is a great reading guide with fifteen questions that really allow you to delve into Elizabeth's life and her actions. Some of the topics for discussion include mother/daughter relationships, moral dilemmas, adultery, betrayal, and witchcraft. There is also a very interesting interview with Ms. Gregory that gives you some insight into the background of this novel.
Philippa Gregory has a beautiful website where I could spend hours. I enjoyed learning more about the Plantagenets and seeing the family tree. In addition, you can find out about the other ruling families like the Tudors; and you can also see learn about Ms. Gregory's numerous other novels. You can even follow Elizabeth Woodville on Twitter.
To celebrate today's release of THE WHITE QUEEN, I just happen to have two copies to giveaway courtesy Touchstone-Fireside Books! To enter, just leave a comment with a valid e-mail address telling me the name of your favorite Philippa Gregory book. If you haven't read on yet, that's okay too; just let me know and promise me that you'll read one in the very near future! To double or triple your entries, you can blog and/or tweet about this contest with a link back to this site. This contest is valid for those of you with U.S. and Canada mailing addresses only; and it is open until Tuesday, September 1st at 11:59 p.m. EST. I will notify the winners the following day.
And as an extra incentive to spread the word about this giveaway, I will giveaway a third copy of THE WHITE QUEEN if I receive 100 or more entries!!! Good luck!