The White Princess by Philippa Gregory
My rating: 4 of 5 stars
I thoroughly loved this book! This book is part of the Cousins' War series. I read The White Queen first, and I believe I skipped a book that comes between The White Queen and The White Princess; however, these two seemed better suited to read in succession because "Princess" takes over where "Queen" left off. I think the book in the middle concentrates on the daughter of the man who played a huge part in who would be King of England. But now that I think about it, it probably would have led me to understand better why Teddy and Maggie, who were theoretically heirs to the throne, were discarded so easily by the Yorkists.
The story begins as Henry Tudor (Henry VII) wins the battle in which King Richard is mortally wounded thus making him not only victor, but King. He has been betrothed to Elizabeth, daughter of King Richard the III and Elizabeth Woodville (believed to be a witch by some). She is niece and possible lover of Richard IV whom Henry killed. Henry and Elizabeth make a tentative couple, but they do learn to love each other in their own way, and they create three male heirs for Henry including the infamous Henry VIII. They also have several daughters, but female heirs were considered unimportant. Henry can never be comfortable as King, because he is unsure of whether there is still an actual York heir somewhere in Europe. Henry's marriage once again becomes tumultuous when an heir claiming to be the younger York Prince makes himself known and Elizabeth's curse is revealed. I don't want to spoil the story because it is well worth the read. I couldn't put it down!
I enjoyed the story so much that I found myself looking up the actual history of the time period (late 1400's to early 1500's). It is fascinating! Gregory takes what facts are actually known to be true of the era and embellishes with such vivid descriptions and dialogue that she makes the reader feel as though he/she is part of the story. Gregory definitely has researched the history well in order to reconstruct events in such an engaging manner. I also enjoy her explanations at the end of the book of why she chose certain theories to expand upon to create her stories. There are numerous theories about the Princes, for example, and she takes a position and builds details in the story around that theory.
I would love to believe that the events, the descriptions, the expressions, the customs, and the conversations happened exactly the way they did in Gregory's books, but exact replicas of those events are impossible. But when reading The White Princess, I felt as if every moment was real.
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