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The White Queen by Philippa Gregory
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The White Queen (edition 2010)

by Philippa Gregory

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3,3721821,611 (3.6)158
Member:Musereader
Title:The White Queen
Authors:Philippa Gregory
Info:Pocket Books (2010), Edition: Export ed, Paperback, 456 pages
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The White Queen by Philippa Gregory

  1. 60
    The Sunne in Splendour by Sharon Kay Penman (DevourerOfBooks, kraaivrouw)
    DevourerOfBooks: Perhaps the best historical fiction on The War of the Roses.
    kraaivrouw: This is the one to read about the War of the Roses.
  2. 30
    Katherine by Anya Seton (cyderry)
    cyderry: this book explains how the Yorkist/Lancaster line split occurred.
  3. 30
    The King's Grey Mare by Rosemary Hawley Jarman (Sakerfalcon, tina1969)
    Sakerfalcon: Another novel focusing on Elizabeth Woodville.
  4. 41
    The Princes in the Tower by Alison Weir (ddelmoni)
    ddelmoni: Non-fiction
  5. 20
    The Three Edwards by Thomas B. Costain (cyderry)
  6. 20
    The Last Plantagenets by Thomas B. Costain (cyderry)
  7. 10
    The Pleasure Palace by Kate Emerson (BookshelfMonstrosity)
    BookshelfMonstrosity: Both lushly descriptive, compelling historical fiction series take place in Tudor-era England. Strong, well-developed female protagonists anchor these character-driven stories full of romantic drama, royal intrigue, and evocative period atmosphere.… (more)
  8. 10
    Figures in Silk by Vanora Bennett (joririchardson)
  9. 21
    The Lady of the Rivers by Philippa Gregory (tesskrose)
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» See also 158 mentions

English (179)  Spanish (2)  German (1)  All (182)
Showing 1-5 of 179 (next | show all)
WARNING: There are very few names in this book. There are about five each of Elizabeths, Richards, Georges, Henrys, and Margarets. That's probably a slight exaggeration with some of those. But I promise there are at least six Richards. Two of the Richards are brothers, even. That's right. Elizabeth (the protagonist, not to be confused with her daughter Elizabeth or any of the other Elizabeths) names TWO of her sons Richard. That's not the author's fault, of course. She actually does a pretty good job of keeping the characters straight. But it's still confusing at times.

Overall, I very much enjoyed this book. I loved how Elizabeth (protagonist) fought for herself and her family in a world that didn't allow women much power. It was also fascinating to me to learn more about the Princes in the Tower and to read Gregory's theory on the subject.

[SPOILERS BELOW]
I also thought it was realistically complex when Elizabeth first proclaims that she just wants her sons to be happy and healthy, regardless of whether or not they are princes, but then she puts them in danger because she's determined that they have their birthrights. Her daughter (also Elizabeth) sees through it and accuses her of being ambitious to a fault, but she doesn't see it in herself. Evidence of this is her statement that "The worst has already happened" when her son Edward was being held captive by his uncle. There was so much uncertainty at that point. Edward could be killed, her other sons -- who were also out of her protection -- could be killed, she and her daughters could be forced out of sanctuary and hurt or killed... But sure. The worst has already happened because your son's crown has been taken from him. ( )
  danaenicole | Jun 21, 2017 |
Before the Tudors, in 15th century England, there was unrest and war between two competing houses, York and Lancaster, for who would rule. Even within the House of York, there were three brothers who warred amongst themselves for who should be king. The oldest, Edward, was king for a time (off and on), and was married to Elizabeth. This story is told from Elizabeth's point of view.

I really liked this. It's a time frame and about people I've read nothing about, and I found the story very interesting. The only thing I didn't like as much was that the ending was a bit abrupt; I assume that's because it is the first in a series. ( )
  LibraryCin | Jun 20, 2017 |
I have read two of Gregory's translated into Swedish and had liked them. I was hopeful with this book as well, the plot seemed interesting both from a historical view and story itself.

But, I just couldn't get into it. I gave the book two changes, tried to push myself to read thinking it might turn to the better. I just wasn't interested in Elisabeth and her fate. I didn't care what would happen. I found the writing style boring, which surprised me since I tried to read it in its native English. Maybe the Swedish translator did a great work translating her other books and Gregory isn't too good in English, or maybe it is just this book I couldn't like. I shall try to read this on in Swedish and compare. ( )
  Wilwarin | May 23, 2017 |
This book was GREAT! I had no idea that Elizabeth was such a proactive (and prolific!) Queen. She loved her husband, loved her family, loved her country, and loved her role. This woman was willing to stop at nothing to protect those she loved.

She loved and she loved deeply. When she lost someone, it cut her to the core. Losing her father, brothers, two husbands, baby, children, etc, it all had a magnificent impact on her. Who can she trust? Who is really her ally? So many questions and the answers aren't always pleasant or as clear as we'd like them to be.

It's a great book and well-researched. I'd like to continue the series. ( )
  caslater83 | Apr 23, 2017 |
THIS REVIEW CONTAINS A FEW SPOILERS

As someone who has long tried to play armchair detective and solve the mystery of the "Princes in the Tower," I just had to read this novel about their mother, Elizabeth Woodville. Unfortunately, this incredibly uneven book twists mediocre historical fiction into bad fantasy and is only saved from being unreadable by its subject matter. You can hardly go wrong with the Wars of the Roses!
The writing is sometimes very good, but generally ranges from "okay" to absolutely terrible. The author shifts from using a first-person narrator to third person and back with no warning, so that it's often difficult to tell whether Elizabeth Woodville is in fact present for the events described or not until the end of the chapter.
The author also suffers from not being able to write male dialogue realistically. Thus we get long passages full of melodramatic language, such as "His brother Richard, Duke of Gloucester, orders the troop at the front of them all, leads with his fierce bright loyal courage. Edward takes the battle in the center, and William Hastings, who would lay down his life to block an ambush from reaching the king, defends at the rear. For Anthony Woodville, Edward has a special need."
What is this special need, from a king trying to claim his throne to his brother-in-law, whom he barely knows? Try not to die laughing.
Anthony grimaces. "I have only a little learning, but I am very attached to my life, Sire. I have not yet risen to detachment."
"Me too," Edward says fervently. "And I am much attached to my cock, brother. Make sure your sister can put another prince in the cradle," he says baldly. "Save my balls for her, Anthony!"
I wish I were making this up but I promise I'm not.
As no one has spoken this "baldly" throughout the entire book so far, this line comes as a bit of a shock and I just couldn't stop laughing. I read the whole passage (edited here for brevity's sake) to my husband and he nearly collapsed in laughter. We both feel that this exchange just does not work, and that the author was just trying to think of what sorts of crude things men might say on a battlefield.
A bigger problem for me was the misappropriation of one of my favourite legends, the story of Melusine/Melusina. While I know there are multiple versions of that story, none of them (that I can find) have anything to do with the House of Burgundy, yet this book has Elizabeth and her mother claiming special powers from being descended from Melusina on their Burgundian side. (SPOILERS AGAIN) Using their amazing mermaid powers (in this version, Melusina is a mermaid, not half snake as in the version I am used to), they see into the future, whistle up storms to sink enemy ships, blow on windows to make fog to obscure armies, curse people who cross them, make rain and floods, and of course, they work a spell by which Elizabeth can reel in her true love and become queen. The author says she does all of this because Elizabeth's mother was convicted of witchcraft, and to show the precarious place women occupied in society, but what it seems to do is to confirm that when these women were accused of being dangerous witches, their accusers were actually telling the truth! As a feminist I cannot understand why a woman would write about a very powerful woman, but attribute all of her power to a magical mermaid ancestor instead of to her own cunning, charm, and wit. That aside, the constant references to Melusina quickly become annoying and I just wanted to be able to read about a body of water without having to hear about it singing or moaning or something. The complete rewriting of the Melusine myth was aggravating to me, too, though I think it actually is a decent modern update. It just isn't anything like the original story, which, along with its irrelevance in reality to the lives of the historical figures involved, makes me wonder why the heck it is there in the book to begin with!
Even worse was Gregory's treatment of one of the legends surrounding the courtship of Edward IV and Elizabeth Woodville. (SPOILERS!) The author includes a clandestine meeting in which, as in the legend, Edward tried to rape Elizabeth when she refused him. Elizabeth snatches his dagger, holds it to her throat, and tells him that if he does rape her, she will kill herself. So he lets her go unharmed, admiring her courage and honour. That's all some pretty messed up stuff, if it really happened. To me, what was more messed up was a passage in the book in which the couple looks back on this moment FONDLY. As in, "Aww, sweetie, remember when you tried to rape me?" "Haha, how could I forget a thing like that, honey? You were so cool!" (my words, not hers; could not find exact page again and I'm sleepy).
Just as I began to think this one of the worst books I've ever read, though quite entertaining in the "I just can't look away from this train wreck," sort of manner, it actually did get better. After Edward IV dies and Elizabeth finds that her son, Edward, Prince of Wales has been kidnapped and taken to the Tower of London by his uncle Richard of Gloucester. The remainder of the book deals with Elizabeth's life in sanctuary, plots to free her son Edward and (oh yes, SPOILERS) keep her second royal son, Richard, out of harm's way, as her family members are murdered and executed and her brother in law Richard III claims the throne for himself. The partial solution to the mystery of the Princes in the Tower is an interesting one, though sadly probably not a very good one.
The book ends with Elizabeth's life settling down, Richard III's rule challenged by young Henry Tudor, and Elizabeth's eldest daughter in love with her uncle the King. I found it odd that Elizabeth's reaction to that bit of news is to tell her daughter that all she wants for her is happiness and basically, that if her own married uncle is who she's in love with, she should go for it! I know that attitudes about such things change, but it was quite a scandal in its time so I cannot believe this to be a likely attitude for Elizabeth to have.
At the end of the book the author claimed to place great importance on historical fact, and I must say that her bibliography is impressive. However, the way she has cherry-picked the facts that she likes to write this novel, and left out other important ones in order to make things go in a way that she would like or thought the reader would like, and was willing to add in complete nonsense (mermaid power!), makes me seriously doubt her sincerity. ( )
  aurelas | Dec 23, 2016 |
Showing 1-5 of 179 (next | show all)
[A] highly professional, highly enjoyable novel: stylistically plain, rhetorically straightforward, infinitely more interested in drawing readers into the life and immediacy of history than in pedantically mimicking period idioms.
 
Gregory's exhaustive research, lush detail and deft storytelling are all in top form here, making The White Queen both mesmerizing and historically rich.
added by Shortride | editPeople, Joanna Powell (Aug 24, 2009)
 

» Add other authors (20 possible)

Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Philippa Gregoryprimary authorall editionscalculated
Cottenden, JeffCover artistsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Lee, YuanCover artistsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Li, CherlynneCover designersecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Lyons, SusanNarratorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
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First words
In the darkness of the forest the young knight could hear the splashing of the fountain long before he could see the glimmer of moonlight reflected on the still surface. He was about to step forward, longing to dip his head, drink in the coolness, when he caught his breath at the sight of something dark, moving deep in the water. There was a greenish shadow in the sunken bowl of the fountain, something like a great fish, something like a drowned body. Then it moved and stood upright and he saw, frighteningly naked: a bathing woman. Her skin as she rose up, water coursing down her flanks, was even paler than the white marble bowl, her wet hair dark as a shadow.
She is Melusina, the water goddess, and she is found in hidden springs and waterfalls in any forest in Christendom, even in those as far away as Greece. She bathes in the Moorish fountains too. They know her by another name in the northern countries, where the lakes are glazed with ice and it crackles when she rises. A man may love her if he keeps her secret and lets her alone when she wants to bathe, and she may love him in return until he breaks his word, as men always do, and she sweeps him into the deeps, with her fishy tail, and turns his faithless blood to water.

The tragedy of Melusina, whatever language tells it, whatever tune it sings, is that a man will always promise more than he can do to a woman he cannot understand.

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Richard on my other side kneels too and mutters, as if he cannot be heard, "Is this the king? Really? He is the tallest man I have ever seen in my life!"

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Book description
Brother turns on brother to win the ultimate prize, the throne, in this dazzling account of the wars of the Plantagenets. They ruled before the Tudors, and now Philippa Gregory brings them to life through the dramatic and intimate stories of the secret players: the indomitable women.

The White Queen tells the story of Elizabeth Woodville, a woman of extraordinary beauty and ambition, who secretly marries the newly crowned boy king. While Elizabeth rises to the demands of her exalted position and fights for the success of her family, her two sons become the central figures in a famous unsolved mystery that has confounded historians for centuries: the lost princes in the Tower of London.
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In this account of the wars of the Plantagenets, a woman of extraordinary beauty and ambition, Elizabeth Woodville, catches 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.… (more)

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