Historical Fiction

The White Queen, Philippa Gregory

Part of the Cousins’ War series, The White Queen is the third instalment (chronologically) of the story of the War of the Roses which opposed the Lancaster and the York. This one recounts the story of Elizabeth Woodville, daughter of Jacquetta of Luxembourg, who married Edward IV. She is the mother of the Princes of the Tower who disappeared one does not really know how.

This novel is a historical fiction written in the first person and features historical battles, witchcraft and schemes. It follows The Lady of the Rivers and The Red Queen which are about Jacquetta of Luxembourg and Margaret Beaufort (Henry VII’s mother) respectively. I read the two first books of the series before reading The White Queen and I watched the BBC TV series last year.

I like Gregory’s novel. I’ve read half of her Tudor Court novels (about Catherine of Aragon, Anne Boleyn, Anne of Cleves and Catherine Howard), I read The King’s Curse and I’ve bought four other novels which take place in the 18th century (I have yet to read them). However, I advise against binge-reading the Cousins’ War series. Because, although they begin and end at different moments, the story is the same but from different points of view. The Lady of the Rivers is a bit earlier than the others but The Red Queen and The White Queen cover almost the same period of time. I am marking a pause before reading The Kingmaker’s Daughter or I won’t appreciate it as much as it deserves.

That being said, I enjoyed the first person narration and the witchcraft part related to the story of the water goddess Melusina but Elizabeth’s vicious desire to always scheme and plot and take vengeance is quite tiresome. I understand that, at that time period, one always had to be on the alert and the throne was a slippery place. Yet, I think that after three novels of the same story in row, it kind of diminishes the appeal of powerful yet struggling women.

I gave this novel 3*/5 and I heartily recommend the TV shows of the same title.

Cheers, A


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