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on 11 October 2014
My remarks here cover the other books about the Cousins' war as well as this one. I see many reviewers quibbling about the accuracy or otherwise of historical details in this series. Personally, I read the books as novels, fictional narratives set in a specific period. If you want 100% accuracy read biographies or histories!

I have enjoyed the books very much as exciting narratives and above all as attempts to see the world of that time through women's eyes - a nice complement to most other accounts. It is true that this works better with some characters than others. I especially loved the Red Queen's own story, I think Gregory succeeded very well in capturing the perspective of this woman, and showing how extreme religious devotion can turn into complacency, self-aggrandisement and bigotry (there are many contemporary examples of this, and I found this character curiously up-to-date!). The White Queen's tale, on the other hand, is often about the men around her, and this problem seems most noticeable in the White Princess, where the story really seems mainly about 'the Boy', though it is told only through a woman's eyes. But on the whole I really appreciate her attempts to show us a period as experienced by women.

I also really enjoyed reading the same incidents as seen by different characters, particularly when the White and Red Queens' stories are juxtaposed. I think the whole series is an interesting experiment in perspective. But above all these are highly readable, gripping stories, to be read not for edification but simply for entertainment.
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on 13 June 2013
This book hooked me from the onset, giving the familiar story of the Wars of the Roses a new lease of life. Gregory tells the historical stories we all know from the women's eyes- The women right in the middle of the events.

'The White Queen' is the first of the 'Cousins War' series, with this book focusing on the beautiful queen Elizabeth Woodville, the wife of Edward IV and the mother of the two princes in the tower. The novel begins with her meeting Edward under the oak tree, and follows right through to follow the mystery of the princes in the tower. My one criticism is that it shouldn't have ended before the battle of Bosworth, however I'm sure 'The White Princess' will address this.

I recommend this book for anyone interested in the Wars of the Roses and women in history. Yes aspects of this novel isn't factually correct, but it's a good read and will likely inspire you to find out more about the period.
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on 3 June 2017
I have much enjoyed phillipa gregory previous books,I found this a little long winded.the long bouts of fiction rather tedious.i am very dissapointing. It felt rather like hard work ploughing on to the end.i am hopefully that the next will live up to the standards of previous books,such as I have come to expect of this author.
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on 3 November 2013
Phillipa Gregory is a renowned historian who brings the Wars of the Roses to life in this book. Of course the conversations must be imagined, unless part of the published record, but they are believable and set in context they provide an essential part of the narrative.

Elizabeth Grey, nee Rivers, marries the newly crowned King Edward V, not long fater he captures the throne from Henry VI. The rest of the story is about Elizabeth's struggle to retain power and provide a legacy for her family. Ms Gregory doesn't try to make Elizabeth likeable and I suspect it would be a tough task if she did, but she provides us with a "warts and all" look at the court and the sort of people who helped shaped the world we live in today. Reading it you'll wonder how the monarchy lasted so long.

I would ahve liked a little more background to the Wars, to help me understand what had gone before. Much is hinted at but there' not a lot of detail before Elizabeth confronts Edward on the road to Northampton. I suspect this may be told in other books by Ms Gregory, but having not read those I couldn't really say.

For lovers of the recent TV Series you'll be pleased to know that the TV company stayed pretty faithful to the book, though I did notice that Sir William Stanley had been air brushed out. That was a pity because the book shows he was an influential figure. Anyway, The book does finishes on the eve of the Battle of Bosworth, whereas the TV series finished just after it.

I found that having seen the TYV series the book was much easier to read, mainly becuase it was easier to identify the major characters and work out how they fitted in to history.
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on 19 May 2017
Excellent book - as usual from Philippa Gregory. She is a wonderful writer and I always enjoy her books and this one is no exception. This is an earlier period than I usually read but still fascinating. I would highly recommend it. This is the first book I have bought on Kindle to use on my tablet and it is fabulous! Why didn't I do this before?? It is so easy to order and retrieve. Fabulous service as always by Amazon.
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on 23 May 2011
Philippa Gregory is perhaps best known for her novels focussing on the Tudor period, taking a strong woman and then retelling the history we all know from her point of view. The White Queen focuses on the period before Henry VII came to power (so beginning the Tudor line), and tells the tale of Elizabeth Woodville (Henry VIII`s Grandmother), someone I hadn't actually heard of before reading this, but a woman who had a fascinating part to play in our history.

The White Queen follows the same writing style as many other Gregory novels, allowing the main protagonist to tell their own story. I find this gives a far more personal reading experience and allows me to easily immerse myself in the book. But, and this is a big but, interspersed between the main narrative is the story of Melusina, a fairy tale very similar to The Little Mermaid. While I understand that this is included due to the fact that Elizabeth's maternal family believed themselves to be descended from this water goddess, I found that it would often snap me out of the zone. I personally feel that the book would have read better if Melusina's tale had either been omitted or placed at the end of the book.

As with the majority of Gregory's novels (that I have read), I loved her choice of Elizabeth as her main character. I love the way she takes a strong woman as her lead, especially as woman of that period generally had very little power. While there is plenty to love about Elizabeth, such as her devotion to her husband and children, she's not perfect, which of course makes her far more believable. The very fact that she is a woman in a time where woman had very little power over their own lives means that she is a little power-hungry. I also loved the way that Elizabeth's husband was written, again not perfect but his love for his wife certainly shone through. The other main characters were also well written, I certainly had no trouble imagining all of their interactions.

As for the plot itself, well for obvious reasons it follows a very well defined route, being based on historical figures means that we all know a little of their tale. While much of the history is glossed over I really enjoyed the actual interactions that caused the famous events. The scenes between Elizabeth and Richard are particularly touching, especially in the opening chapters. I didn't really enjoy the inclusion of witchcraft, especially as Gregory appeared to be saying that Elizabeth, her mother and her daughters could actually conjure up storms. Yes I do realise that it was widely believed that Elizabeth and her mother were witches, after all why else would the young King choose to marry an older woman, who was not only a widow but not even a virgin, but to me it felt forced at times.

The one part of Elizabeth's story that we all know at least a little about, is that of her sons, The Princes In The Tower. Little is known about the fate of those two little boys (as in nothing), but Gregory handles the story sensitively and sensibly. I'm not going to spoil the book by telling you the fate Gregory has written for them, but I will say that I was impressed with her reasoning.

While there was plenty of contemporary evidence for Gregory to draw on when writing her Tudor series of books, there was (and is) far less for the Plantagenet period, meaning that she has had to take far more liberties when telling Elizabeth's story (as she readily admits in her author's note). I admit that I have little personal knowledge of the time period, having only briefly covered it in primary school, so I am unable to state whether the book contains any glaring errors, but to me it feels right. After all this is a novel and not a text book and there's nothing that actually shouts at me that it's wrong.

All in all, I found this an enjoyable read, albeit one with a few flaws. I enjoyed the writing style and enjoyed the glimpse into the life of a little known, but historically important woman. This is a book that I am happy to give four stars out of five and recommend to a wide range of different readers. If romance is your thing, then this contains romance, and of course if you enjoy historical novels then you'll enjoy this. As to the age range, well although there is murder and sex, there are no graphical descriptions and I would be happy for a thirteen year to read this (if it's their type of thing).
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on 24 June 2017
Really loving historical fiction especially when is accurate it some parts! Philippa writes in such a way that makes it romantic and modern, she adapts the time in which she's writing about in a exciting and edgy way! I love how in the beginning Elizabeth wouldn't let the king have his way she is very strong and independent. Just amazing!
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on 29 December 2016
Again top author, top story, top character, top supplier.
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on 3 August 2014
I bought the book after watching the TV series, the book was far better! I read this whilst on holiday and I was truly lost when I finished the book even though it had been drawn to a close very nicely. The theme of which craft running through this book added for me the magic that was needed, Gregory tells the White Queens story exceptionally well and I almost feel like I now her!
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on 17 March 2017
A great historic read.
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