The White Queen | Philippa Gregory (Book Review)

I feel like it’s been a while since I’ve written a book reivew so it was time! I’m a sucker for cheesy historical fiction so The White Queen was right up my alley. Keep reading to see my full review.
Paperback, 445 pages
Published April 6th 2010 by Touchstone (first published 2009)
ISBN:1416563695 (ISBN13: 9781416563693)

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.

With 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.

Click Here to Buy The White Queen


The White Queen is the first novel of Phillippa Gregory’s that I have ever read so it’s hard for me to base it off anything else like a lot of other reader’s can but I did enjoy it. I’ve seen her books for ages and have always been intrigued because I find the era/people she writes about fascinating but I’ve always heard less than stellar things from other readers so I decided to pass on them.

Then I was flicking through Amazon trying to find something to watch and I came across The White Queen and I wanted to watch it. So as I’m known to do I decided I needed to just read the book first and see what the deal with this author was. I was going into this book kind of expecting to hate it but I really didn’t.

If you’re looking for a really historically accurate novel about the Plantagenets then obviously this is not the book for you. The basis of the story is obviously based in historical reality and follows Elizabeth Woodville as she marries King Edward and they reign over England together. It deals with the wars fought at that time and the family politics that come with all things royal. That’s about as accurate as it gets though.

Elizabeth and Edward’s relationship takes center stage in this book and while I was expecting it to be a gushy completely romanticized version of it it really wasn’t. Edward was far from perfect and Elizabeth knew it painfully so. The love was there but he was the King and he let it be known that he was going to do what Kings do and he didn’t really care otherwise.

Gregory has added an element of supernatural to the story with Elizabeth, her mother, and eventually her daughter Elizabeth dabbling in witchcraft. Their witchcraft ends up playing a fairly large part of the story and in the events that happen and I think a lot of people found it hokey and not necessary. That may be true but again for me this is a book you can’t take too seriously. You can’t get mad if it was witchcraft that caused Richard III’s bad arm in this telling of the story because this is all just a fictionalized version of events. I don’t think it really ever promised to be anything else.

There’s a few other books in this series telling this story from a few other different view points but I didn’t love this book enough to feel like I want to read all of them. I did pick up The White Princess since its almost a continuation of this one being told by Elizabeth and Henry’s daughter but the rest are probably ones I’ll skip. I enjoyed this one enough as a stand alone without needing the rest of them so I think it is worth checking out if you’re into historical fiction like this.



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