Rosie Reviews: The White Queen – Philippa Gregory

The White Queen

Source: Goodreads

After seeing an episode of the TV series last week, I noticed on the end credits that it said it was based on a book of the same name. Being a firm believer that the book is always better than the film or TV series, I decided to give the book a go.

The race was then on for me to read ahead of where the TV series was before the next episode so I didn’t ruin the book for myself. (I won the battle by the way)

The White Queen is based on the Wars of the Roses; a battle for the throne of England between the house of York and the house of Lancaster.

It’s told from the point of view of Elizabeth Woodville (the White Queen herself) and tells a tale of her life from a young woman who seduces King Edward, their life together fighting to keep hold of the throne and the chaos after his death when it is snatched away from her.

My Thoughts

After seeing the TV series, I was expecting the book to contain multiple points of view throughout which I’m not a huge fan of, thankfully we only really see Elizabeth’s point of view. Occasionally during the battle scenes we switch to see what’s happening in battle, but we don’t see it from any particular persons point of view.

Gregory really made Elizabeth a likeable character, she was a very strong and determined woman in a time when women were expecting to just be seen, serve their husbands and rebel against nothing. Elizabeth truly led a fascinating and eventful life.

Prior to reading the book, I knew absolutely nothing about this period in history, so it was nice to learn about your countries own history while reading a great book.

I would like to point out that it isn’t 100% historically accurate; in the authors note Gregory explains that some things just weren’t documented or well documented so she had to decide what she felt may have happened herself, however the general gist of what happened is pretty clear.

Woven into the story is the fable of Melusina, which we will all know in the form of The Little Mermaid, which spiced things up a little. It’s not there for no good reason though; Elizabeth and her mother believe they are descendants from Melusina which allows them to carry out a little bit of magic, such as ill wishing someone, which is a nice way of saying you hope someone dies.

My one niggle with this book (there always is one), is that it got very difficult trying to keep track of so many characters, especially when there was more than one character going by the same name. There were about three or four Edwards at one point in the book, which got a little confusing.

The White Queen was a fantastic book and I would recommend it to anyone regardless of what genre you like because as well as well as it being historical, there’s romance, plotting and battles.

When I told my Nan about the book, she strangely asked me if it was full of graphic sexy scenes (not the kind of question you ever want your Nan asking you), thankfully she explained herself and said that Gregory’s previous books had been so full of the stuff she couldn’t finish them. If you share the same concern The White Queen is very tame, sex is briefly mentioned; there are no descriptions or vulgarity whatsoever.

On one hand I am looking forward to reading the next in the series, The Red Queen, to find out what happens but it’s told from the point of view of ‘the enemy’ who Gregory did an excellent job of making me dislike.

4.5 out of 5 


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