The White Princess by Philippa Gregory – Mini Book Review

The White Princess by Philippa Gregory
Published by Touchstone Books, an imprint of Simon & Schuster

Hey guys, I don’t really have time to write much this week, but The White Princess came out a week ago already and I wanted to give you some quick thoughts. This is a continuation of Philippa Gregory’s Cousins’ War series (I previously reviewed the following other books in the series: The White Queen, The Red Queen, The Lady of the Rivers, The Kingmaker’s Daughter, and the nonfiction companion Women of the Cousins’ War). In this book she focuses on the eldest daughter of Edward IV, the wife of Henry Tudor (Henry VII), and the mother of Henry VIII, Elizabeth of York. If you want more information about what is contained in the story, you can see the feature I wrote about it for the SheKnows Book Lounge.

A couple thoughts:

  • Gregory’s Elizabeth was in love with her uncle, Richard III and, in fact, even carried on a love affair with him (before this book begins, obviously, since he is dead by the opening pages). This is not outside the realm of possibility, since there were rumors at the time he was planning to marry her. However, I thought we were reminded of this fact just a little too often at the beginning of the book, where seemingly every mention of Richard was followed by something along the lines of “my lover.” Luckily that went away before too long, particularly as Elizabeth began to find her way in her marriage to Henry Tudor.
  • What makes The White Princess really special is the level of conflict Gregory introduces that is internal to Elizabeth. She finds herself stuck initially between her mother (and her missing or dead brothers who should have inherited the throne) and her husband. This may not seem like such a conundrum as she didn’t exactly marry for love, but once she has a son who is set to inherit the throne from her husband, Elizabeth’s life becomes much more difficult. There are so many rebellions and pretenders to the throne around and Elizabeth has to work out for herself where her loyalties truly lie. Although this is a major theme, each time it is presented in a new enough way that it doesn’t seem redundant, just ever more heartbreaking for Elizabeth.

For more information, please see the publisher’s page.
Source: Publisher.

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The Kingmaker’s Daughter by Philippa Gregory – Book Review

The Kingmaker’s Daughter by Philippa Gregory
Published by Touchstone, an imprint of Simon & Schuster

This is the fourth novel in Philippa Gregory’s The Cousins’ War series. I previously reviewed the three novels – The White Queen, The Red Queen, and The Lady of the Riversas well as the nonfiction companion The Women of the Cousins’ War. This review contains no particular spoilers of any of the other books.

Often when we think of the Wars of the Roses we think of Edward IV, Richard III, the Princes in the Towers, Henry Tudor, and perhaps Margaret of Anjou. At times we also think, although briefly, of the spouses of these personages. There is one larger-than-life figure, though, that is often forgotten: Richard Neville, Earl of Warwick, a man also known as The Kingmaker.

Warwick helped put Edward on the throne but later – after he realized he was not to rule the country through Edward – orchestrated uprisings attempting to put Edward’s brother George on the throne and even trying to reinstate the House of Lancaster. It is worth noting that before trying to elevate either George or Prince Edward of Lancaster Warwick married one of his daughters to the man in attempt to give himself a more direct role to becoming the power behind the throne.

In The Kingmaker’s Daughter, Gregory continues her focus on the women on all side of the Wars of the Roses, also known as The Cousins’ War by telling the story of Warwick’s younger daughter, Anne Neville. I am not going to rehash the events of the novel, as those familiar with the history will have an idea of what they are already and those who are not will likely find any description to contain spoilers. I will say, though, that I think The Kingmaker’s Daughter is my favorite novel of the series thus far. Most of the time when one reads a fictional representation of Anne is is depicted as all but too sweet to live, fading away first behind the strength and personality of those around her and then even more so after the death of her son. Gregory’s Anne, however, is a strong young woman with ambitions of her own. This Anne may still be a frequent pawn of the major players around her, but she does have her own agenda, even if she does not always have the practical power to carry it out. This characterization of Anne is incredibly convincing for a girl who is the daughter of a man called The Kingmaker, a man determined to be a power player in the English court.

The Kingmaker’s Daughter is an engaging work of historical fiction with a novel and convincing twist on a familiar historical period. Highly recommended.

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In honor of this, the latest release in Philippa Gregory’s The Cousins’ War series I did a roundup of some of my favorite Wars of the Roses books at SheKnows.com: Historical Fiction Beyond Anne Boleyn: The Wars of the Roses

Buy this book from:
Powells | Indiebound*

Source: Publisher, via Edelweiss.
* These links are all affiliate links. If you buy your book here I’ll make a very small amount of money that goes towards hosting, giveaways, etc.

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