Thursday, July 25, 2013

ARC Review: The White Princess by Philippa Gregory

The White Princess
Author: Philippa Gregory
Publication: Touchstone (July 23, 2013)

Description: Caught between loyalties, the mother of the Tudors must choose between the red rose and the white.

Philippa Gregory, #1 New York Times best­selling author and “the queen of royal fiction” (USA Today), presents the latest Cousins’ War novel, the remarkable story of Elizabeth of York, daughter of the White Queen.

When Henry Tudor picks up the crown of England from the mud of Bosworth field, he knows he must marry the princess of the enemy house—Elizabeth of York—to unify a country divided by war for nearly two decades.

But his bride is still in love with his slain enemy, Richard III—and her mother and half of England dream of a missing heir, sent into the unknown by the White Queen. While the new monarchy can win power, it cannot win hearts in an England that plots for the triumphant return of the House of York.

Henry’s greatest fear is that somewhere a prince is waiting to invade and reclaim the throne. When a young man who would be king leads his army and invades England, Elizabeth has to choose between the new husband she is coming to love and the boy who claims to be her beloved lost brother: the rose of York come home at last.

My Thoughts: I was a little concerned when I began this fifth book in the Cousins' War series because I had not read any of the previous books. However, Gregory's writing style sucked me right into this story of Princess Elizabeth of York who was the lover of her uncle Richard III and the bride of Henry Tudor. I was drawn into the worldview of this young woman who knew from the beginning that she was a pawn to be played out as those in power wanted. 

Elizabeth was torn between her mother who was constantly scheming to bring a York prince to power and her new loyalty to her Tudor husband and her own Tudor children. While I didn't at all like Henry Tudor who was suspicious and paranoid, I could understand how he came to be that way. He seemed to think of himself as a usurper and surrounded by enemies (and his actions acted as a sort of self-fulfilling prophecy as he created even more enemies due to his suspicions and harsh penalties). Elizabeth tried to guide him to be a better king but couldn't overcome the influence of his mother. 

Henry's obsession with eliminating any York heir to the throne dominated the book. While Elizabeth's brothers Edward and Richard were assumed to have died in the Tower, no bodies were found and the pretenders were constant. Adding to the confusion, Elizabeth's mother might have been able to smuggle her younger son Richard out of the Tower and send him to safety making the possibility of a real York prince a reality. Elizabeth is torn between her vows to Henry and her heart's desire to have her younger brother be alive. 

The writing was exquisite and the story was compelling. I couldn't stop reading. Fans of historical fiction are right to have made Philippa Gregory's books so popular. This won't be the last that I read. 

Favorite Quote:
"Your side lost at Bosworth," he reminds me. "You are the spoils of war."
I got this ARC at ALA. You can buy your copy here.

1 comment:

  1. Sounds great, I love that era in history and have been looking at her books for awhile. I need to read some of them. Thanks for the review.


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