Are you one of those people who likes to read the book before seeing the movie? I am. So when I found out (around 3-4 years late) that there was a White Queen mini-series, I was excited to jump in. I had also just lost my job and I was really looking for a book to serve as a screen saver for the brain; something that would entertain me but wouldn’t test me. A historical family drama definitely hit the spot.
Philippa Gregory’s collected works specialize in this particular style of story – a fictional account of a real woman which follows the arc of history but fills in the gaps with Gregory’s narrative. They are usually a combination of biography and juicy gossip. This story centers around Elizabeth Woodville, who captures the attention of King Edward IV, the first York king and recent victor of the latest battle in the War of the Roses. They get married in secret which angers Edward’s brothers and allies while benefiting Elizabeth’s large family. The book follows Elizabeth’s life from when she meets Edward till (historical spoiler) Edward’s death. Court intrigue, battles, and witchcraft – both real and fictional – are woven throughout the chapters as Elizabeth and Edward have children and try to consolidate power in a turbulent England still reeling from the Lancastrian defeat against the Yorks.
I’ve read Philippa Gregory before so I knew what to expect when I opened this book. Gregory always makes the glamour and grit of being royal stand out and I love her writing through the woman’s perspective, which we rarely get to hear about in history books. However there’s nothing amazing about the prose here and it’s definitely not as good as her earlier works (The Other Boleyn Girl). This book in particular has a lot of repetitive passages where Edward goes into battle and Elizabeth goes into sanctuary…rinse and repeat. But it’s still an interesting tale and that may be because of the subject – a relative commoner who became the wife of a king, the mother of a queen, the grandmother of King Henry the VIII and a controversial queen in her own right. In short, I would recommend this book to my friends who loved The Devil Wears Prada and not necessarily to friends who read biographies.
PS, I’ve started watching the mini-series and damn is it messy, but I love it so much because I’m a sucker for costume dramas…and Max Irons is kinda hot?
PPS, this is my first review and I’m so excited to participate! I’ve wanted to join for several years but I’ve always psyched myself out by the challenge. Here’s to sticking with it!