Monday, May 16, 2011

The White Queen by Philippa Gregory Book Review

The White Queen by Philippa Gregory

   I was so excited to read The White Queen by Philippa Gregory.  I love the history that she pours into her writing.  Philippa Gregory has an amazing story telling ability and her research is amazing.  The White Queen is Philippa Gregory's first book in the Cousin's War Series. This book takes place before the Tudors during the time of the War of the Roses.
   The White Queen begins with Elizabeth Woodville, from the house of Lancaster.  Elizabeth Woodville is a widow who lost her husband in a battle.  She and her two sons live with her parents and siblings.  Elizabeth's mother, Jacquetta helps her to gain the attention of King Edward IV from the house of York,  with the assistance of witchcraft.  Elizabeth Woodville marries Edward IV in secret with her mother and a servant as the only witnesses.  When Edward IV, from the family of the white roses, takes the throne he must bring Elizabeth in as the new Queen of England. 
    This creates some problems for the new King.  People in England do not like the power that Elizabeth's family have now risen to.  This being in the time of the Cousin's War, Edward has to work a little harder to keep himself on the throne and peace in England.  Brothers turn against brothers in this long battle for the throne as the rightful King.
   King Edward and Elizabeth fight to keep their family in power and peace in England.  Despite Edwards reputation for being a playboy, he adores Elizabeth.  Elizabeth Woodville is a beauty like no other and is the most beautiful Queen that England has seen.  Elizabeth and Edward IV not only have to fight against the people wanting claim to the throne, they must also fight the very people along side them, starting with his mother.  Edward's mother is not happy with the fact that Edward IV married Elizabeth instead of a princess.  Not only is Edward's mother a hurdle they must deal with, Edward's brothers also pose a threat.  
   Elizabeth  produces two little Princes for Edward IV, gaining more claim to the throne of England, as well as many Princesses.  During this time, England becomes divided as others vow to claim the throne of England.  Edward IV goes away to battle and Elizabeth must go into hiding in the Tower of London or Westminster Abbey.  This is where she gives birth to her first son Edward, the future King of England.  After peace is restored and the Royal Family is back at the castle there are more problems to deal with.  Edward's brother George is rallying against him and need to be dealt with.  Against the pleas of his mother Edward IV has his brother George put to death for treason.
   Time goes by and things are looking good for the House of York, until Edward IV becomes ill and passes away.  On his death bed he leaves the care of his young son, Edward,in the care of his brother Richard.  This is not to the liking of Elizabeth.  Knowing that something is wrong, she goes into hiding again, with her daughters and her youngest boy.
  In a time when you can not trust anyone Elizabeth must make some surprising allies, to fight for the throne that rightfully belongs to her son Edward.  During this time of hiding she relies on her witchcraft and least likely allies.  In order to save an heir to the throne she switches her youngest son for a pageboy. Sending the pageboy to the Tower of London to join her son Edward, who is already prisoner.  Many rumors are told about the boys in the tower.  Some say that they were killed and buried, others say that one escaped.  To this day no one knows what happened to the boys in the Tower.
  This is such an amazing book of the struggle for power and what people will do for it, whether it be forming unlikely alliances or switching children.  The goal is always to survive.  Philippa Gregory has an amazing ability to fill in the gaps in history with her own personal idea of what happened.  The White Queen is full of backstabbing, family loyalty and the struggle to survive and rise to the top.  The White Queen is a great book about the time of the War of the Roses and will leave you wondering what England has been wondering for centuries....what happened to the Boys in the Tower?


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