Monday, 22 September 2014

The White Princess
by Philippa Gregory
Rating:  4/5

Pages:  520
Publisher: Simon & Schuster
Publication Date: 2013
ISBN: 978-0-85720-751-7

Summary (via Goodreads)

The haunting story of the mother of the Tudors, Elizabeth of York, wife to Henry VII.

Beautiful eldest daughter of Edward IV and Elizabeth Woodville - the White Queen - the young princess Elizabeth faces a conflict of loyalties between the red rose and the white. Forced into marriage with Henry VII, she must reconcile her slowly growing love for him with her loyalty to the House of York, and choose between her mother's rebellion and her husband's tyranny. Then she has to meet the Pretender, whose claim denies the House of Tudor itself.


The White Princess tells the story of Elizabeth of York who would be the mother of Henry VIII and grandmother of Elizabeth I. Anyone who watched the tv series or knows anything about her will know that she married Henry VII, Margaret Beaufort's son. Philippa Gregory portrays Elizabeth as a woman in love with her uncle, Richard III, a legendary scandal that has helped to create his negative representation as a villain. And lets face it, the idea of it is kind of creepy.

Throughout the book is told that she will be married to Henry VII, the man she believes might have killed her two brothers, the princes in the tower. With this worry in the back of her mind she enters married life fearing that, if she is right, any son she has is doomed to die.

Alongside the curse she has to deal with her new husband and mother-in-law who are fearful of a return to the York reign. Henry VII becomes paranoid in his desire to control his new wife and her kinsmen, often leading to bouts of violence. In spite of this, Gregory shows that the royal couple did learn to live with one another and eventually Henry VII grew to love his wife even if he was still controlling, as is commonly rumoured in historical records.

For me this book was well written and showed clearly why history can be such a perfect topic to base a book on. Anyone who follows this blog will have realised by now that I am a massive fan of the Tudors and the Plantagenets and this book is one of the reasons why. Full of questioned loyalty, pretenders to the throne, love, betrayal and sex this book leaves nothing to be desired.


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