Monday, May 13, 2013

The White Queen by Philippa Gregory

Paperback: 409 pages
Genre: Historical Fiction
Publisher: Pocket Books 2010 
Source: My sister.
First Sentence: 'My father is Sir Richard Woodville, Baron Rivers, an English nobleman, a landholder and a supporter of the true kings of England, the Lancastrian line'.

Review Quote 
`Robust, unpretentious and rather shamefully compelling' The Times

Favourite Quote: “He promised her that he would give her everything, everything she wanted, as men in love always do. And she trusted him despite herself, as women in love always do.” 
My OpinionThis is yet another intriguing tale from the Queen of historical romance.

I have been a fan of Philippa Gregory for many years although I have not read any of her books in the last few years, in fact the last one was in the very early days of my book reviewing in 2009, I did not realise it had been so long. This is yet another intriguing tale from the Queen of historical romance. When reading her novels it is very easy to forget that they are works of fiction as her extensive research brings history alive on the printed page. 'The White Queen', the story of Elizabeth Woodville is the first in a new series covering the Wars of the Roses, the feuds between the houses of York and Lancaster. Philippa Gregory has called this series the wars of the cousins, something I never heard this war referred to as, when we studied it in history lessons at school. As a fictional telling of the feud between these two great families she has done a great job, with plausible embellishments to the historical facts although I remain unconvinced about the witchcraft ones. I will certainly be picking up the sequel 'The Red Queen' to read in the very near future.

In this trilogy the author plans to captivate us with the stories of the women of the families of York and Lancaster, starting with the story of Elizabeth Woodville. A beautiful young widow whose husband was killed in battle she sets out to win the love of the King of England. Elizabeth was a Lancastrian but she successfully won the love of King Edward IV, from the house of York and became his Queen. Although she was successful there was always going to be complex rivalries between the two families, both with claimants to the throne. She therefore had to fight with stubborn devotion  for the success of their large family of sons and daughters, including the daughter that would one day unite the families and the sons shut away in the Tower of London. Elizabeth Woodville is one of those exceptional women in history that made some courageous decisions as she did her best to protect her loved ones during a time of war.

If you want to read a fictional but well researched account of the Wars of the Roses, then I recommend Philippa Gregory's take on the mystery of the Princes in the Tower whose true fate still remains unknown to this day.

                                 'The White Queen' Elizabeth Woodville Discussion - Philippa Gregory

 A very interesting interview with Philippa Gregory about the historical background.  My previous review on this blog was for The Other Queen

Author Profile

Philippa Gregory was born in Kenya. She was already an established historian and writer when she developed her interest in the Tudors and wrote 'The Other Boleyn Girl' in 2009 which has since made into a TV drama and a film.
She now lives on a small farm in Yorkshire, where she keeps horses, hens and ducks. Her website is a fascinating insight into both life on the farm and her historical research. 
Her other great interest is the charity she founded nearly twenty years ago; Gardens for The Gambia. She has raised funds and paid for 140 wells in the primary schools of the dry, poverty stricken African country. Thousands of school children have learned market gardening, and drunk the fresh water in the school gardens around the wells.
A former student of Sussex University, and a PhD and Alumna of the Year 2009 of Edinburgh University, her love for history and her commitment to historical accuracy are the hallmarks of her writing. She also reviews for US and UK newspapers, and is a regular broadcaster on television, radio, and webcasts from her website.

There was an interesting article published in  The Guardian recently about how the new incoming Director General of the BBC, Lord Hall,  believes that dramas such as 'The White Queen'' and ''Wolf Hall' can enhance the UK's cultural standing.
The biographical information and photo used in this post are with thanks to the following websites, where you can also find more information about the author and her writing. 

Goodreads Author Profile    Facebook - Philippa Gregory    Amazon Author Profile 

 Philippa Gregory - Author Official Website     Philippa Gregory - YouTube Channel


  1. I am an ardent fan of the genre though i never developed the courage to read a book in the genre.

    It is great to learn about PG.
    Seems like she is a wonderful human being too. I guess that also makes her writing even more better.

    Thank you Lindy for sharing :)

  2. Divenita, as you enjoy history do try and read a novel from this genre. PG is one of the best writers of historical novels, though of course that is just my opinion.


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