28 July 2013

The White Princess; Philippa Gregory

The White Princess (The Cousins' War,  #5)The White Princess by Philippa Gregory
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

Who isn't confused by who did what and was married to whom during the Cousin's War (better known as The War of the Roses)? There are several Queens named Elizabeth (before we even get to Elizabeth I), Kings, Dukes and other nobles named Richard or Edward, and more than a few Henrys. Gregory's series looking at the war from various side-participants point-of-view not only helps clarify things but brings to life how difficult it was to continually switch sides and loyalties, or to at least pretend you have.

The White Princess is the story of Princess Elizabeth of York, post-Bosworth, and her marriage to Henry VII (she's one of the Queens Elizabeth). This Elizabeth has seen her lover (Richard III) die and her brothers disappear (those princes in the tower? that's them), and knows the importance of never acknowledging the possibility that the York family might rise again. She's in a loveless marriage to a paranoid, graceless man and under her mother-in-law's thumb - not the life she'd imagined.

The writing is sometimes a little modern for my tastes, but I did agree with the author's choices regarding the two pretenders that Henry Tudor has to contend with as he desperately tries to shore up his reign and the House of Tudor. I was less impressed with Elizabeth's powers of prophecy - that felt far too much like 20/20 hindsight.

ARC provided by publisher.

1 comment:

  1. The more one reads about the time period, the easier it becomes to keep everything straight! And the time period can be quite addictive I've found :) I didn't think the prophecy element felt natural to the book, but, I thought it was a clever way to comment on the Tudors.