Monday, 18 June 2012

Book Review: The White Queen - Philippa Gregory

Synopsis - 1964.  Cousin is at war with cousin, as the houses of York and Lancaster tear themselves apart...

...And Elizabeth Woodville,  young Lancastrian widow, armed only with her beauty and her steely determination, seduces and marries the charismatic warrior king, Edward IV of York.

Crowned Queen of England, surrounded by conflict, betrayal and murder, Elizabeth rises to the demands of her position, fighting tenaciously for her family's survival.  Most of all she must defend her two sons, who become the central figures in a mystery that has confounded historians for centuries: the missing Princes in the Tower.

Review - Another winner from Philippa Gregory, I think this is my favourite to date.  Historical fiction which encompasses everything, romance, drama, fact, fiction, war, you just have to keep reading.  I think this is an interesting period in our history, the demise of the weak King Henry VI who was deposed by the Yorkist Edward IV.  The three York boys were a fighting bunch and when not united at war they fought amongst themselves.  King Edward's two brothers George and Richard were so jealous they were constantly plotting against him.  Gregory gives us romance in the meeting of Edward and Elizabeth Woodville, a widow.   Elizabeth is introduced to us in this story and we follow her into becoming Edward's Queen.  Elizabeth's mother is Jacquetta from the House of Burgundy and in the story is from the line of the goddess Melusina.  For me this additional story straying into witchcraft adds to the plot and storyline.  As the author tells us at the back of the book this is fiction.  Witchcraft was strongly believed in those days and we see it referenced later on in Henry VIII's reign.  My belief is what they deem to be witchcraft is no more than what we know today of Chinese medicine and practised by homeopath's, aromatherapists and others in the alternative therapy line.

The introduction of Jacquetta leads us very nicely to Gregory's more recent book The Lady of the River which tells us about Jacquetta and her family and life at court.  We also get a glimpse of Elizabeth Woodville her daughter.

The White Queen also gives us the early story of the princes in the tower, when their Uncle Richard III usurps the throne on the death of their father.  4*

ISBN 978-1-84739-464-4

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