Book Review: The White Queen by Phillipa Gregory

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.

The White Queen, Philippa Gregory brings the artistry and intellect of a master writer and storyteller to a new era in history and begins what is sure to be another bestselling classic series from this beloved author.

My favorite thing about reading historical fiction is learning something new.  When I used to think about the royalty of England, I never thought about the constant struggle they endured to stay on the throne.  

The White Queen tells the story of King Edward, who was a member of the York family,  and the battle between the Yorks and the Lancasters for the throne. The families claiming ownership of the throne were, of course, very prosperous landowners.  The battles for the crown involved the families requiring the people who lived and worked on their land to fight for them.  Whoever could raise the biggest, best army won.  I can't believe I never knew or thought about this issue before!

The White Queen is told in the first person, which I just love, and is not as difficult a read as I expected.  I started and finished it on the way home from Destin (a seven hour trip).  It was just what the doctor ordered to break me out of my reading slump!  I would recommend this book to anyone.

Just One Gripe: 
The names.  There were several names used over and over (Richard, Thomas, Elizabeth, Edward, Henry, etc) and it became difficult to keep the characters straight.  This was not Philippa Gregory's fault, as this novel is based on historical facts, but it was confusing at times.  

The Best Thing About This Book: 
The narrative, the writing style, the development of the romance, I loved all of it.  I think my favorite thing is how Gregory weaves the legend of Melusina into the lives of Elizabeth and her relatives.

Appropriate for a younger audience: 

Characters:  5/5
Plot: 5/5
Setting/Imagery: 5/5
Originality: 5/5
Ending: 5/5
Total Score:  25/25


  1. I'm glad you enjoyed this one. Even being English I don't actually know that much about King Edward! I have read one of Philippa Gregory's other books - Innocent Traitor - which was about Lady Jane Grey & I found it facinating. I've been meaning to pick up more of her books so I'll have to give this one a try

  2. Excellent review! I love Philippa Gregory's writing, and I'm so glad to hear this was good...I'll definitely read it :)

  3. Hi, great review. You are right about the names, they are all the same or a variation of the same name (Isabella, Isabelle, Elizabeth).

    I posted this review on my Tweeter account under the hashtag #helpotherbookblogs

    Hope you can do the same for other reviews you like.

  4. Lovely review. I agree about historical fiction, I love how it teaches me new things and helps me imagine what it must have been like to live in that time.

  5. You must have liked it because you sure didn't talk to me very much on the way home.

  6. One of my favourite genres, PG is probably my favourite historical author - thanks dfor sharing your views on this book, I also loved it.

  7. Hearing amazing things about this one too. Arrrr too many books too little time! Hmmmm will have to knock off some books to the later shelf for this one to be moved up. Check out the Burton Review for anything dealing with historicals. Marie does an incredible review on the latest historicals and I love going there to read her latest finds.
    Thanks and another great review girl :)

  8. I kept your review "marked as unread" for a while now until I could finish this book! We have a lot of the same viewpoints - those names were extremely confusing for me as well. Too many Edwards, Richards, Henrys, etc. But all in all a great book and I can't wait to read The Red Queen!


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