Saturday, August 10, 2013

The White Queen by Philippa Gregory

The White Queen by Philippa Gregory

1460's.  The 100 year war between England and France has just ended.  Henry VI rules as the King of England but he is feeble-minded.  Edward of York has gone to battle against Henry to take the throne of England and he defeats him successfully again and again.  It is the York house against the Lancaster house and in history it is referred to as The Cousin's War or The War of the Roses.

The White Queen is Elizabeth Woodville.  She is a commoner who captured King Edward's heart and he married her in secret, going against all his advisors.  Some say she used witchcraft to capture him.
Edwards brother's are George (who competes for Edward's throne) and Richard (the famous Richard III who is defeated by Henry Tudor who begins the Tudor dynasty).  The White Queen details Elizabeth's rise to Queendom as well as all the other women in court and behind the scenes who vie for the power of the throne.  Women who will stop at nothing to put their son or husband on the throne.  England is a country divided between two houses.

Also a major part of the story is one of history's biggest mysteries, the disappearance of Elizabeth and Edward's two sons, Edward and Richard.  I confess I didn't know much about this mystery but now that I do, it is very intriguing.  Gregory does an excellent job of disseminating the research and then telling a proposed reality to what "might" have happened.

I adore Philippa Gregory and her historical fiction novels.  I can't get enough of history told from the perspective of the women and the political intrique behind the rulers who wear the crown.  History is told and written by the winners and so often women voices are left out of the historical narrative.  Philippa Gregory recreates that written historical record with meticulous research and shares English history from a different point of view.  I always learn so much when I read Gregory and she makes it interesting and memorable.  It is not like learning history from a textbook, it is definitely more fun than that.  She has written more than 20 books on English history based in the Tudor period and The Cousin's war period.

I suggest you read the books in this order for The Cousin's War series.
Lady of the Rivers.
The White Queen.
The Red Queen. (you could switch The White Queen and The Red Queen, your choice)
The Kingmaker's Daughter.
The White Princess.

Have you read any of Gregory's books??

The White Queen is a new 10 part series on Starz network begining tonight (August 10, 2013)
Here is the trailer.