The White Queen is the first book in a new series from the time period in England when the Plantagenets were the claimants and kings that ruled, before the Tudors. At this time there were deadly feuds, wars for the throne of England known as the Wars of the Roses, also called the Cousins’ War, since cousin was battling cousin (along with their supporters) to be King of England. Within the Plantagenets were different families fighting each other (I think) and it was all very confusing, especially with the custom of naming children after the rulers, there were Edwards and Richards and Henrys all over the place. One Edward would die and then another would be mentioned and I would stop and say, “Wait, didn’t Edward just die?” But I digress.
The White Queen is told from the perspective of Elizabeth Woodville, who was the White Queen. She was not a member of any royal family but she was extraordinarily beautiful and caught the eye of the newly crowned boy king and married him. She aspired to be Queen of England and she was crowned Queen, but it is a position hard to hold and dangerous to be in. 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.
I imagine it is not easy to take an account that is partially known and fill it in with your own details seamlessly, so that it appears to be all one narrative. This is what Ms. Gregory has done. I have read many biographies and auto-biographies over the years and if I had not known it was “Historical Fiction” I would have thought I was reading someones diary. I found The White Queen to be informative and engaging. It caught my attention from the beginning and never got boring. I also appreciated that in her own narrative, Ms. Gregory didn’t add a lot of unnecessary drama. Her imagined thought processes of Elizabeth seemed to be drawn from her knowledge of the era, how women were treated and what they had to do to survive and keep their families safe in a time that was not favorable to women and at anytime you could go from being Queen of England to a nobody in a very short time period.
So between the wars and namesakes and confusion, Philippa Gregory does an excellent job of sorting it all and telling the tale in a logical manner, and I tried to follow along, I can’t blame Ms. Gregory for my little pea brain.
If you are a fan of Philippa Gregory, I would say you just HAVE TO READ THIS BOOK. If you enjoy historical fiction you should read this book. If you want a book that will entertain you and stimulate your mind you should read this book. If you love romance, well this might not be the book for you. I enjoyed it and gave it 4 stars.