Thursday, January 9, 2014

The White Queen by Philippa Gregory

The White Queen is the story of Elizabeth Woodville, a woman of extraordinary beauty and ambition, who secretly marries the newly crowned Edward IV. Elizabeth rises to the demands of her exalted position and fights for her family’s dominance, but despite her best efforts, her two sons become pawns in a famous unsolved mystery that has confounded historians for centuries: the lost princes in the Tower of London. In this dazzling account of the deadly Wars of the Roses, brother turns on brother to win the ultimate prize, the throne of England.

This book was a SantaThing choice and the first book I read in 2014. As a died in the wool Ricardian ever since I first read Josephine Tey's The Daughter of Time a quarter-century ago, I confess I went into this book without an ounce of sympathy for the mail character Elizabeth Woodville. That said, the story was in fact quite well-conceived and hit all of the factual markers necessary to ground it in history. Elizabeth is a well-drawn and sympathetic character- a woman fighting for her family, her power and her love in a time of great historical turmoil. I was less enamored with the supernatural elements of the tale, though ultimately they were not enough to ruin my enjoyment of the story. Though I myself could still not take the Woodville side, and didn't like the picture of Richard that was painted in this novel, it was nonetheless an enjoyable read and a solid introduction to the time period.

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