Review: The White Queen

◆ The White Queen by Philippa Gregory
◆ Read August 2013
◆ English Edition
❝ Brother turns on brother to win the ultimate prize, the throne of England, in this dazzling account of the wars of the Plantagenets. They are the claimants and kings who ruled England before the Tudors, and now Philippa Gregory brings them to life through the dramatic and intimate stories of the secret players: the indomitable women, starting with Elizabeth Woodville, the White Queen.
The White Queen tells the story of a woman of extraordinary beauty and ambition who, catching the eye of the newly crowned boy king, marries him in secret and ascends to royalty. While Elizabeth rises to the demands of her exalted position and fights for the success of her family, her two sons become central figures in a mystery that has confounded historians for centuries: the missing princes in the Tower of London whose fate is still unknown. From her uniquely qualified perspective, Philippa Gregory explores this most famous unsolved mystery of English history, informed by impeccable research and framed by her inimitable storytelling skills.❞
I decided to read The White Queen after I watched the tv series of the same name, which I loved despite the historical inacurracies. The series - I discovered quickly - is a very literal adaption of every scene in the book. Needless to say this dissapointed me a bit because I had hoped that the novel would give more insight. 

Despite this, I still enjoyed it. The story runs along smoothly and Philippa Gregory does have a flowing and easy writing style, if not a little repetitious. Furthermore, I really liked that she focused on more characters besides protagonist Elizabeth. She is a little overbearing and obsessive, so including other characters like the three York brothers, Anthony, Henry Tudor etc. was a good decision. Overall, the characterization was really good too and pretty realistic given the time period.

The thing that really did irk me was how freely Gregory interpreted the historical events, resulting in inaccuracies I simply could not ignore. The main inaccuracy I'm taking about is ofcourse Elizabeth's and Lady River's use of witchcraft to plot the downfall of their enemies. Queen Elizabeth was a powerful woman and I refuse to believe that this was because of sorcery, for the English would have surely executed their queen were she indeed a witch. Out of all the theories the author could have chosen, she decided to use something so unrealistic it's almost funny and it does not do Elizabeth justice at all. In addition, Gregory's interpretation of only one boy dying in the tower and the other escaping does not sit well with me either. To be really honest, these subplots kind of ruined the book for me, thus being the reason why I'm only giving it three stars. 

The White Queen was enjoyable and quite a pageturner, but it was really ordinary. Furthermore, I did not like some of the decisions that Philippa Gregory made regarding plot. 

3 stars because:
✓ Easy writing style
✓ Good characterization
✗ Unrealistic subplots
✗ Kind of ordinary


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