Nancy (Hrdcovers)'s Reviews > The White Queen

The White Queen by Philippa Gregory
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Oct 04, 2009

it was amazing
Read in September, 2009

Let The Wars Rage On!!!!

If you've read my last few reviews, you'll already know that I am on a quest to read only great books for the rest of this year. I'm not looking for mediocre; I'm not looking for good; I'm looking for flat out great books. I've been right on target with many of my recent reads....Cutting For Stone, The Help, That Old Cape Magic...and now it was time for Philippa Gregory's newest, The White Queen. Before I start reading a book, I usually come to Amazon and glance at the reviews. And I do mean "glance" when I say it because many of the reviews here give too much away. Needless to say, when I saw all of the three and four star ratings, I thought that perhaps I should pass on this one for fear of ruining my "great book run." But I had loved so many of Gregory's other books in the past that I decided to go for it.

Her Boleyn series gave us a look at the Tudor dynasty courtesy of King Henry VIII. This newest book is apparently part of a trilogy which will take us through the Plantagenet reign. The "Plantagenet" reign?? This was one I knew nothing about although, once I started reading and found out it was about the War of the Roses and the Lancasters versus the Yorks, some old history classes started coming back to me. The best part of reading a historical fiction book, about a time in history of which you are ignorant, is that some of it reads like a thriller. Since this book covers the kingdoms of Henry VI, Edward IV and Richard III, I had no idea when one would end and another would begin. Each time Edward IV went off to war, I waited with bated breath to see if he would return. I read many of these pages as if I was a graduate of the Evelyn Woods' School of Speedreading making my way through them as quickly as I could because I couldn't wait to see what was going to happen. As I already mentioned, since I had no recollection of this time in history, I was not sure if Edward was King for a long time or if his reign was short-lived. I didn't know if he died in battle, died of some illness or lived until old age. His death came as a shock to me and what ensued thereafter was even more shocking.

Since this book is mostly about King Edward IV of the York dynasty, it details the battles he fought with cousins and even his own brothers to attain power and then keep it. It is also a story of a King and Queen who actually loved each other and struggled to maintain power and peace so as to pass the reign on to their son Edward V. Unfortunately, it is also a story of a family with a curse and that is the curse of ambition. While Edward's family is fighting amongst themselves as to which brother should really be on the throne, it is his wife Elizabeth Woodville's family who is causing most of the problems. When King Edward IV married Elizabeth Woodville (in secret), she was a commoner. So her family's rise to prominence is not taken too kindly by England's nobility. In the end, this is the story of how the great Plantagenet family finally destroyed themselves in a bloody struggle known as the War of the Roses.

Midway through the book, I was still wondering what all of these reviewers were complaining about because I really thought this book was so darn good. It has everything I'm looking for in historical fiction....intrigue, betrayal, adventure, deceit, death and, of course, love, And while Edward and Elizabeth were hoping to continue a dynasty with their son Edward V, it is their daughter Elizabeth who will create her own dynasty when she marries Henry VII of the Tudor family. She will become the mother of Henry VIII and will also be the subject of the third book in this trilogy called The White Princess. But first we'll get to see the real power behind Henry VII in Gregory's next book, The Red Queen, which covers Henry's mother, Margaret Beaufort.

So while historically this period in history is mostly remembered for its wars, Gregory brings to light what went on beyond the battles and I found this family every bit as fascinating as the Tudors. Let the wars rage on until the next book comes out.
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Comments (showing 1-2 of 2) (2 new)

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message 1: by Diane (new)

Diane I don't often recommend books, but you say you're looking for only the best. I believe "The Hour I First Believed," by Wally Lamb is one of those. If you haven't already, maybe you should.
Let me know.


Nancy (Hrdcovers) Oh wow....we definitely disagree. I have my review on that book posted here on Goodreads so you can read it if you like. What I would agree with is that his book I Know This Much Is True is truly a "great" one.


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