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The White Princess

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


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

30 review for The White Princess

  1. 4 out of 5

    Kara

    I don’t know, I don’t know, I don’t know. Hey there, Elizabeth of York, what happened to the princes in the Tower? What happened at Bosworth? Where were your father’s allies? Who killed you uncle Anthony? Who killed your uncle George? I don’t know, I don’t know, I don’t know. Who is your mother plotting for? What is your mother-in-law praying for? What is your husband doing? Where are your cousins? Where are your sisters? I don’t know, I don’t know, I don’t know. What’s going on in Scotland? What’s I don’t know, I don’t know, I don’t know. Hey there, Elizabeth of York, what happened to the princes in the Tower? What happened at Bosworth? Where were your father’s allies? Who killed you uncle Anthony? Who killed your uncle George? I don’t know, I don’t know, I don’t know. Who is your mother plotting for? What is your mother-in-law praying for? What is your husband doing? Where are your cousins? Where are your sisters? I don’t know, I don’t know, I don’t know. What’s going on in Scotland? What’s happening in Ireland? In France? What discoveries have been made in the west? What’s the political upheaval in the Middle East? What about that big religious change in Northern Europe? I don’t know, I don’t know, I don’t know. How is Prince Arthur’s cough? How is Prince Henry’s psyche? How are Princess Margaret’s morals? How is Princess Mary’s self-control? I don’t know, I don’t know, I don’t know. Then what DO you know? Seriously, what is the point of the book where the narrator knows absolutely nothing and does absolutely nothing to try and find out something, anything? I DON”T KNOW!

  2. 4 out of 5

    ``Laurie Henderson

    I wanted to give this book a higher rating as I love the way that Gregory tells a story. She certainly knows how to keep you turning the pages even though you already know what happens next. Unfortunately, I just can't agree with her interpretation of the facts in this book. According to Gregory, Henry Tudor (the man who finally brought peace to England and ended the Wars of the Roses) is a bad guy. Gregory doesn't seem to like Henry VII one little bit because well... he's just not a sexy guy. I wanted to give this book a higher rating as I love the way that Gregory tells a story. She certainly knows how to keep you turning the pages even though you already know what happens next. Unfortunately, I just can't agree with her interpretation of the facts in this book. According to Gregory, Henry Tudor (the man who finally brought peace to England and ended the Wars of the Roses) is a bad guy. Gregory doesn't seem to like Henry VII one little bit because well... he's just not a sexy guy. Not nearly as sexy as Edward IV and all the members of his charming house. Henry Tudor decisively defeats the house of York in every battle he fought with them and he was able to outsmart them during the few periods of peace by issuing heavy fines and bonds that made them a little more hesitant to continue plotting against him. All his goals were achieved and he was obviously an excellent politician and administrator who prevailed over all of his many enemies. Gregory contends that young Elizabeth of York was madly in love with her Uncle Richard. Yes, the same man that declared all of Edward of York's children bastards and that Edward wasn't legally married to Eizabeth Woodville as he had already married another woman. There was no evidence that Edward had married another woman before Woodville either but that didn't stop Richard III. He then makes his own mother confess in public that Edward IV was illegitimate and that she had an affair with an archer while her husband was overseas fighting the war with France. Then there's that pesky fact that the princes in the tower disappeared long before Henry Tudor invaded England and won the battle of Bosworth. Furthermore, the recent discovery of Richard's remains under a car park does indicate his spine was deformed and that he might have been hunchbacked after all. All in all this doesn't sound like the kind of guy beautiful, young Elizabeth of York would have been madly in love with at all. Oh wait, there's that copy of a supposedly real letter that Elizabeth of York wrote to Duke of Norfolk professing her love for Richard and that she wants to marry him. Hmmm, not sure that's really enough proof of their love. Gregory gives a lot of credence to vicious court gossip during Richard III reign about an affair with young Elizabeth as well. I don't agree with Gregory's interpretation of the evidence so far at all. Now Gregory contends that after Henry wins the battle of Bosworth and is betrothed to the beautiful princess he then brutally rapes her. This just leaves me completely amazed. I imagine when Elizabeth was introduced to Henry his eyes probably bugged out of his head at the first sight of her and couldn't believe the sudden change in his so far unlucky life. There was no gossip or evidence that Henry liked to rape women during his lifetime so I'm not quite ready to label him as a rapist yet. When Elizabeth Woodville's plot to dethrone Henry VII and put her young son(who has miraculously appeared) on the throne is discovered, her daughter is very sympathetic to her plight. What? I think Elizabeth would be pretty upset if her mother is trying to possibly harm her children and deprive them of their royal inheritance. I'm sure she probably hoped her brother Richard was still alive and had managed to escape from the tower but wouldn't she be even more concerned about her own children and afraid of what might happen to them if her husband was dethroned? She probably enjoyed being Queen of England and wasn't quite ready to give that up no matter had much she loved her younger brother. I remember reading a while ago that during the reign of Charles II repair work was being done in the Tower of London and the remains of 2 young children were discovered buried under the stairs. All evidence seemed to indicate that they were the York princes who had disappeared long before. Gregory's theory is that Woodville was able to sneak her younger son out of the country to his Aunt Margaret, the Duchess of Burgundy, and a fake prince was given to Richard III to lock in the tower. I have to wonder if Richard or somebody else would have noticed that he didn't look like young Duke Richard at all. Gregory believes that Perkin Warbeck was actually the real Duke Richard who had successfully escaped. It's certainly something to think about. My biggest point of contention in this book is the portrayal of the devout Catholic Margaret Beaufort. Obviously Gregory doesn't like Margaret either and thinks she was behind the disappearance of the princes in the tower and might have even been the one that had them killed. I'm sure a lot of people are irritated with Margaret's rather extreme religious life and her constant praying for her son's success and I can understand that. But there are people a lot worse than Margaret during that time who would have had no compunction in murdering 2 children. Once again, where is the evidence that Margaret Beaufort was a bloodthirsty murderess? Margaret Beaufort seemed to be a highly respected woman when alive with no gossip of her murdering people to get her way. The last person I would suspect of murder would be a devout Christian such as Margaret Beaufort. I found the author's extreme opinions negatively affected my enjoyment of this book. Will I read the next book in this series? Yes, the author is a great storyteller and always enjoyable to read, I just don't agree with her interpretation of the facts presented in this book.

  3. 4 out of 5

    Sean Barrs the Bookdragon

    Elizabeth of York is completely destitute. Her mother is in hiding and her brothers are all dead; her beloved uncle was slain at Bosworth, and only she is left to face her enemies. And they want to marry her; they wish to use her Plantagenet blood to solidify their less than weak claim to the throne of England. She has no choice but to agree if she wants to live and become a queen, her decision will unify the houses of York and Lancaster, of Tudor and Plantagenet. A Queenship for Peace “Someti Elizabeth of York is completely destitute. Her mother is in hiding and her brothers are all dead; her beloved uncle was slain at Bosworth, and only she is left to face her enemies. And they want to marry her; they wish to use her Plantagenet blood to solidify their less than weak claim to the throne of England. She has no choice but to agree if she wants to live and become a queen, her decision will unify the houses of York and Lancaster, of Tudor and Plantagenet. A Queenship for Peace “Sometimes we win; sometimes we lose. The main thing is that we always, we always go on.” -Henry Tudor and Elizabeth The Tudor rose is symbolic of this union, the white rose married the red, peace and prosperity enters England under the ruling of a new King, Henry VII: But for Elizabeth she enters a cold marriage bed and a loveless relationship. She is a mere commodity, simply used to produce children to guaranty the legacy of the new dynasty. She can’t even see her own mother, and to all appearances she must be seen as loyal to her husband. She must become one of them, and overcome her internal reluctance. She has to move on, away from the days of dancing at court with her Uncle: her beloved King Richard III. Her marriage to Henry may be a dull affair, but at least it is a secure one. He could never divorce her or send her way because her presence in the only thing that gives him any sense of legitimacy. She only has but to raise her voice in support of Perkin Warbeck, the so called lost son of Edward IV and one of the princes in the tower who supposedly escaped, and the Yorkist faction would have a cause once more. It’s a hard decision to make, loyalty to her brother or loyalty to the dynasty she has been forced to produce. Whatever happens, she and Henry’s children are still her children. I think this is a solid addition to the series. I dismissed the character as rather inconsequential in previous books despite knowing her actual history. She is not one I though the author would take the time to write on and pack her story out, giving her depth and personality. She was an important figure, and it’s only logical she is given her own book to tell it in. Her story is one of uncomfortableness; she is constantly being scrutinised for any sense of disloyalty by the King and his mother. It must have been suffocating. Overall though, looking back to when I read it in 2014, this was a solid novel with solid characterisation, but it didn't do anyhting particularly special.

  4. 4 out of 5

    James

    Great series. Good storytelling. Makes you constantly look at the family trees to understand all the connections. So much good drama. About Me For those new to me or my reviews... here's the scoop: I read A LOT. I write A LOT. And now I blog A LOT. First the book review goes on Goodreads, and then I send it on over to my WordPress blog at https://thisismytruthnow.com, where you'll also find TV & Film reviews, the revealing and introspective 365 Daily Challenge and lots of blogging about pl Great series. Good storytelling. Makes you constantly look at the family trees to understand all the connections. So much good drama. About Me For those new to me or my reviews... here's the scoop: I read A LOT. I write A LOT. And now I blog A LOT. First the book review goes on Goodreads, and then I send it on over to my WordPress blog at https://thisismytruthnow.com, where you'll also find TV & Film reviews, the revealing and introspective 365 Daily Challenge and lots of blogging about places I've visited all over the world. And you can find all my social media profiles to get the details on the who/what/when/where and my pictures. Leave a comment and let me know what you think. Vote in the poll and ratings. Thanks for stopping by. Note: All written content is my original creation and copyrighted to me, but the graphics and images were linked from other sites and belong to them. Many thanks to their original creators.

  5. 5 out of 5

    Misfit

    The White Princess is the fifth book in Philippa Gregory’s Cousins’ War series, each book focusing on a different female lead; this book being the POV of Elizabeth, daughter of Edward IV and Elizabeth Woodville (whose story was told in The White Queen), and wife to Henry VII. The book begins after the battle at Bosworth field, and as interpreted by Ms. Gregory has young Elizabeth pining over her lost lover, Richard (her uncle!!)(view spoiler)[ he lost the battle and died before they could be mar The White Princess is the fifth book in Philippa Gregory’s Cousins’ War series, each book focusing on a different female lead; this book being the POV of Elizabeth, daughter of Edward IV and Elizabeth Woodville (whose story was told in The White Queen), and wife to Henry VII. The book begins after the battle at Bosworth field, and as interpreted by Ms. Gregory has young Elizabeth pining over her lost lover, Richard (her uncle!!)(view spoiler)[ he lost the battle and died before they could be married and have a son called Arthur (hide spoiler)] . Elizabeth, mom and all those younger sisters come to court with the expectation that she’s going to marry Henry Tudor (view spoiler)[the winner at Bosworth Field (hide spoiler)] , but Henry and mom Margaret Beaufort don’t seem to be in any hurry--->>>real spoiler (view spoiler)[ebil Margaret wants to make sure Elizabeth can conceive a child before the happy nuptials and orders Henry to rape her. If Elizabeth can't conceive, he'll take choice #2, younger sister Cecily (hide spoiler)] . "I'm not very fond of spoiled meats, I don't want another man's leaving. The thought of Richard the Usurper pawing you about and you fawning on him for the crown makes me quite sick." A peach of a man is Henry, and mother Margaret is some piece of work. Elizabeth, being spineless and dull as dishwater (at least as written by Ms. Gregory), makes the best of her marriage popping out the heir and the spare and other boring stuff for 300 or so pages. "Two years pass before we conceive another child..." "Instead I will be the shape that my husband's mother wants: a rounded fertile pear of a woman, a vessel for Tudor seed, a pot. There is still the mystery of the fate of Elizabeth’s younger brothers Edward and Richard, who disappeared from the Tower of London never to be seen again, and not a body to be found anywhere. Which of course leads to people pretending to be one of the lost boys (or are they pretenders?), including one Perkin Warbeck. What does a loving sister to do if she recognizes her lost brother (or does she recognize him?), and does her loyalty go with the sibling or her husband and father of her children? Should be interesting stuff, right? Well in this case, with this author, it’s not. Boring, boring, boring. The Elizabeth that Ms. Gregory gives us is just a spineless doormat who parrots everything her husband says – no original dialogue to be found coming out of her mouth. Add to that mix the author’s very bad habit of clubbing the reader over the head with people’s names and titles (does someone really think in their private thoughts about their half-brother as “Thomas Grey, Mother's boy”?), and of course the mind-numbing repetitiveness of her prose all makes for a very underwhelming read. Speaking of that repetition, I did get a giggle out of this quote from Margaret: “Richard put them to death," she repeats, as if repetition will make it so. I guess if you repeat something enough times, folks will start to believe it’s true like so many folks believe Ms. Gregory’s version of history is the real deal. Not. And the big twist over the fate of the young princes in the tower and who done them in as Ms. Gregory sees it? ---->>>>real spoiler this time (view spoiler)[goes back to a curse mother and daughter put on the murderer of the two boys, that whoever it was would lose a son and his line would die out with a virgin Queen (hide spoiler)] . Bah! Do I have anything good to say about it? The font was large with generous spacing between lines, very short chapters and at least we didn't have Henry VII drinking the blood of sanguine young men. From the author's notes (two whole pages!): This book does not claim to reveal the truth either: it is a fiction based on many studies of these fascinating times and gives, I hope, an in into the untold stories and the unknown characters with affection and respect. Sorry, but Henry Tudor didn't exactly get much respect in the first part of this book :/

  6. 5 out of 5

    Iset

    I must admit I couldn’t finish this one. I gave up at the 57% mark. Still, I feel it’s worth reviewing and explaining why I couldn’t get any further. So what went wrong? Was The White Princess filled with absolutely awful writing? Well, no. It wasn’t dire, by any means. It was a far better read than The Other Queen or The Virgin’s Lover – the real slumps in Philippa Gregory’s set of Tudor themed novels. Was it a case of terrible characterisations, á la The Other Boleyn Girl? Again, no, although t I must admit I couldn’t finish this one. I gave up at the 57% mark. Still, I feel it’s worth reviewing and explaining why I couldn’t get any further. So what went wrong? Was The White Princess filled with absolutely awful writing? Well, no. It wasn’t dire, by any means. It was a far better read than The Other Queen or The Virgin’s Lover – the real slumps in Philippa Gregory’s set of Tudor themed novels. Was it a case of terrible characterisations, á la The Other Boleyn Girl? Again, no, although to be honest both the writing and the characterisations in The White Princess were rather wobbly. The simple fact of the matter is that The White Princess is dull, dull, dull, and that’s why I didn’t finish it. Had I been of a mind to, I could have persisted with this to the end. But I found myself contemplating it as it sat on my bedside table and thinking that I’m just not motivated in any way, shape, or form to continue reading this. At 57% in – over 300 pages – I still didn’t care or connect to any of the characters within, the plot was flimsy and totally lacking substance, the attempts to create tension were thin, artificial, and failures, and I frankly have no interest whatsoever in finding out where the story would go or where Gregory would take the characters. The same scenario plays out over and over again, characters have exactly the same conversations, recycled ad nauseam. Elizabeth of York: I’m so sad my Uncle Richard died! We were true lovers forever! Never mind that he possibly killed my brothers and definitely seized my brother’s throne, or that people were seriously unhappy about the possibility of our incestuous union! Now I have to marry that miserly Henry Tudor. He has no clue how to be a real king. Noob. Henry: I will never be safe on the throne! Nobody loves me! They’re plotting to put ANOTHER York boy on the throne and you know something about it! I’ll never trust you! Elizabeth of York: Who’s they? Henry: It’s your mother! Don’t pretend you don’t know what I’m talking about! Elizabeth of York: Mother, do you know what’s going on? Elizabeth Woodville: What, innocent old me? Do you really want to open that can of worms? Elizabeth of York: Alright. I’m going to conveniently forget that I helped you get my younger brother Prince Richard out of the country all those years ago in The White Queen. Henry, my husband, I know nothing, and also, I’m pregnant. Henry: Really?! I love you, mother of my child! Margaret Beaufort: Now get in that confinement chamber so I can appropriate all your power. Seriously, Henry keeps telling Elizabeth about some York boy, she goes to ask her mother about it, her mother is all evasive, she sticks her head in the sand, Henry goes off to do some silly old battling but we’re not interested in that, he comes back, Elizabeth gets pregnant a few times, Henry and Elizabeth discuss yet another rumour of some “York boy”. Round and round and round it goes, where it stops, nobody knows. The repetition of certain phrases isn’t as bad in some of Gregory’s previous books – anyone remember Elizabeth I tearing her cuticles, or Mary Queen of Scots being “three times a queen”, or Margaret Beaufort’s anachronistic obsession with Joan of Arc? – but plot wise these scenes keep repeating and the infernal constant discussion of “York boys” was tedious in the extreme. Somehow, even though a lot has happened historically by the point at which I stopped in the book, it felt like hardly anything had happened in the story. By this stage Elizabeth has given birth to Arthur, Margaret, Henry, and Elizabeth, Elizabeth Woodville has died, Henry VII has successfully defeated Lambert Simnel, and Perkin Warbeck’s rebellion is just gearing up. You’d think that all that would mean quite a lot of exciting events had happened so far, but you’d be wrong. The births are barely described, and proceed along at the drop of a hat with Elizabeth Woodville there to remind Elizabeth of York that she has water magic and birthing a 9lb baby is as easy as the soothing flow of a river. Henry’s decisive battle against Lambert Simnel occurs offscreen and summarised by a messenger, who is sure to add that it’s a good thing Henry won because none of his troops really cared that much if he lost. Woop de doo, that really gets me excited about rooting for these protagonists. There is Henry and Elizabeth’s bickering over whether or not she knows something about a secret York boy, and whether or not her mother is involved, but this is neither exciting nor tense, and ultimately feels false and manufactured. There is one exciting event, but Philippa Gregory invents it out of thin air, possibly in a desperate attempt to inject some juicy scandal into these dull proceedings. Henry rapes Elizabeth before they get married, claiming that if he has to be forced into marrying her then he’s darn well going to make sure his potential bride isn’t barren. This is hilarious in the extreme, in the most absurd way. Firstly, there are multiple examples of Medieval queens who were married for several years before going on to have a slew of children: Adeliza of Louvain, Empress Matilda, Eleanor of Aquitaine… Philippa Gregory’s Henry says that if Elizabeth of York doesn’t get pregnant and is barren, he’ll marry her sister Cecily instead. So, what would this character have done if he’d married Cecily, married the “barren” Elizabeth off to some minor Tudor loyalist, and she had a veritable host of children? The whole premise behind this threat, and the reason for the “rape” is preposterous and absurd. Historically the match was a political and dynastic one. Barren or not, Elizabeth was too well recognised as her father’s eldest child and heiress to be thrown over, there was simply too much at stake in the long-running Wars of the Roses not to seize the chance to unite the houses and secure the throne. Secondly, Catherine of Aragon comes swiftly to mind – what if Elizabeth had become pregnant as Henry in the book wishes, but infant mortality and miscarriage leave him without an heir? The flawed reasoning of Gregory’s Henry is as flimsy as a house of cards; approach this question with even the most basic of logical questions and it all falls apart. The notions that Elizabeth Woodville must have been involved in the rebellions against Henry VII because she spent the end of her life at Bermondsey Abbey, and that Elizabeth of York was in love with her uncle, Richard III, are absolute howlers with not a shred of evidence to support them. Elizabeth of York acts with shock when discovering that her husband broke sanctuary after a battle – she’s conveniently forgetting when her own father, Edward IV broke sanctuary after the Battle of Tewkesbury. Philippa Gregory tends to do that a lot, I’ve noticed – her characters conveniently forget historical facts that are contrary to her portrayals. And her stories are always laced with far too much hindsight. Elizabeth of York, after the birth of her daughter, also named Elizabeth, declares that an Elizabeth Tudor will be the greatest monarch England has ever seen. Whilst this particular Elizabeth Tudor died young, we of course know that an Elizabeth Tudor did become a great monarch. But that’s the problem. People in history had no way of knowing what the future held. To have characters in a historical novel make such uncanny predictions about the future just doesn’t ring true, not to mention it sucks all the tension out of the story if the characters know what’s coming next. This isn’t subtle foreshadowing; it’s glaringly obvious hindsight, and very distracting. The characters are all just shallow shells with no depth or humanity to them – Henry is paranoid and miserly, Margaret Beaufort is smug and mean, Elizabeth Woodville is evasive and patronising, and Elizabeth of York is utterly apathetic. The story is repetitive, recycled, and dull, and history is once again dumbed down to the level who is superficially friends with whom, with key events taking place offstage and relayed in lacklustre summary. No, it wasn’t downright awful, but I just have so much better books I could be reading right now. Avoid. 2 out of 10

  7. 5 out of 5

    Cait • A Page with a View

    DNF - he rapes her and then they fall in love? I don't know how historically accurate this is, but I'm not here for this mess...

  8. 5 out of 5

    Karla

    I've had mixed luck with Philippa Gregory, pretty much half and half. It's either amazing or at least very interesting & well-told (The Wideacre trilogy, The Constant Princess) or it's been so-so to downright dull and/or frustrating in a bad way (A Respectable Trade, The Changeling, and THIS ONE.) It's this off-and-on experience that put her back on my to-read list after a rocky start with Trade and keeps her there. She can tell a great story and create unforgettable characters ( Wideacre Wi I've had mixed luck with Philippa Gregory, pretty much half and half. It's either amazing or at least very interesting & well-told (The Wideacre trilogy, The Constant Princess) or it's been so-so to downright dull and/or frustrating in a bad way (A Respectable Trade, The Changeling, and THIS ONE.) It's this off-and-on experience that put her back on my to-read list after a rocky start with Trade and keeps her there. She can tell a great story and create unforgettable characters ( Wideacre Wideacre Wideacre ), but this treatment of Elizabeth of York definitely isn't one of them. First off, I don't think there is much to be gained by the first person POV, let alone making it present tense. I haven't read the other books in her War of the Roses series, but none of the narrators were ever in the actual thick of things - at least, the interesting things. I don't see how the general tone of all the books could possibly vary. These are royal/aristocratic women who were kept in the domestic sphere and who worry about the menfolk/children and hear about the political gamesmanship and battlefield action secondhand. They indulge in intrigues or converse amongst their own female peers, but the plots and interactions aren't earth-shattering. One book would read like the others, I'm assuming, and thus the rest of the series is very low priority in the TBR. So, making a very passive person the narrator is a huge problem, as is the present tense, which makes historical fiction read like someone reporting on events in a shallow, list-checking way. It really wasn't dynamic whatsoever. Little excitement. Rufus conveys my impatience admirably whilst being far more hawt than I Elizabeth's narrow sphere made such a chunkster very repetitious. Much of the book is about Henry VII's constant fear of pretenders, and I couldn't believe how the phrase "a/this/that/the boy" was used over and over in lieu of names. "The boy" was made into a fearsome spectre for poor, paranoid, illegitimate, throne-seizing Henry - a fine enough device - but MODERATION, PLEASE. A very rough word count shows some form of this "boy" context used about 400 times, give or take a couple dozen. O__o Gregory has always had some form of repetition in her style, dating back to Wideacre. I think she uses it effectively in some novels, and wields it with lazy carelessness in others, such as this one. The whole book felt lazy, as if she had a historical timeline and a general sense of what she wanted to write, but her mind was almost wholly on something else. Despite being in Elizabeth's head for over 500 pages, I didn't get a sense of her being either 1) interesting, or 2) all that intelligent. A lot of the conversations simply didn't flow naturally because of infodumps or other characters laying out their psyches on a platter to Elizabeth for the reader's consumption and convenience. Henry told Elizabeth a lot of things that I simply couldn't imagine him being amenable to revealing. I know that her decision to have Elizabeth and her uncle Richard be a Twu Wuv for All Time has pissed off some readers. (One might think Gregory did that as a deliberate troll of her haters, in which case....lollerskates.) That incesty angle didn't bug me, but the one-note insipidity of it took all the shine off that golden WTF nugget. (Even though I am a very low-key R3 fangirl, even I was tempted to slap him for being such a goody-goody vapid twit in Elizabeth's memories.) Why have it if you're not going to really do anything with it? It was there as an obstacle of resentment between her and Henry, but only in a superficial, unexplored way. There's only so much "our love was perfect" starry-eyed high school notebook scribbling I can take. Gregory's not averse to making things up out of whole cloth and I respect her for owning it and being the creator of said fictions instead of taking cover under far-fetched auspices, such as psychics or whatever Elizabeth Chadwick uses in lieu of imagination. Gregory's not allergic to flagrant dramatic license, which suits my reading tastes to a T. I know the difference between Fact and Fiction TYVM and don't need to have my fiction adhere to the historical record 100% in order to enjoy it. But her ability to take her juicy red meat ideas and parlay that into a meal I can sink my teeth into has had mixed results. Missed opportunities, which was my general reaction to much of the book. So much potential, all wasted. Or executed half-heartedly. The one character I did enjoy was Elizabeth Woodville. I particularly liked the scene where her daughter goes up the river on her coronation barge and she, confined to a nunnery, unfurls a York banner. Mama Elizabeth's defiant, giddy delight was vivid and infectious. But moments like that were very few and far between. Oh well, at least there's a costume porny TV series to come out of this string of books, which I will Netflix as soon as it appears. I'm sure it'll be trashyfunness. (UPDATE 10/11/13: Which I manged to watch already online and OMG most addictive costume porn crack I've seen in a long time. Mad Maggie Beaufort was, like, THE BEST THING EVER.) I can see this book being liked by those unfamiliar or new to the era or by those more acquainted with the period who are tolerant of Gregory's flaws (*raises hand*), and read with much relish by those in possession of Philippa Gregory rage boners who need to occasionally rub one out. (If it persists for more than four books, please see your librarian.) As for the next Gregory book I read, it'll be one from earlier in her backlist. I've had more luck way back there.

  9. 4 out of 5

    Jane

    Where I got the book: my local library. I've been asked, more than once, why I read Philippa Gregory if her books annoy me. (I may have expressed that opinion once or twice.) One of the reasons is that many interesting conversations happen about Gregory's books, notably among readers who like to nitpick dispute the accuracy of her historical claims, and it's a shame to get left out. Like it or not, the Plantagenet and Tudor eras are a major locus of interest for HF readers (I actually prefer the Where I got the book: my local library. I've been asked, more than once, why I read Philippa Gregory if her books annoy me. (I may have expressed that opinion once or twice.) One of the reasons is that many interesting conversations happen about Gregory's books, notably among readers who like to nitpick dispute the accuracy of her historical claims, and it's a shame to get left out. Like it or not, the Plantagenet and Tudor eras are a major locus of interest for HF readers (I actually prefer the 19th century and rather wish a PG of this era would arise for me to pick holes in mercilessly enjoy) and what with the movies and TV series and whatnot, you get kind of sucked in. The White Princess is chronologically situated at the very end of the Cousins' War aka the War of the Roses, being the story (or part thereof) of Elizabeth of York, whose marriage to Henry Tudor (aka Henry VII) was intended to legitimize Henry's claim to the throne and put an end to all that nasty infighting between the Yorks and the Lancasters. Of course a marriage alone could never be sufficient to end the dispute; only the TOTAL ANNIHILATION of all York claimants would really make Henry Who? safe on the throne, and thereupon hangs a tale. (For those who need a recap, Henry grabbed the crown by ensuring that Richard III got chopped up at the Battle of Bosworth in 1485, married Elizabeth who had, according to PG, been Richard's mistress, and spent the early part of his reign fathering children to ensure the Tudor succession, raising money by means of nasty taxes, and fighting off people who claimed to be one of the princes who conveniently disappeared from the Tower of London before Bosworth. He succeeded, founding the Tudor dynasty and providing the basis of an entire industry for novelists.) PG's version differs a bit from my vague notions about Good King Henry Who Brought Peace and Saved Up Lots of Money So That Henry VIII Could Spend It On Wine, Women and Song But Mostly Women. In The White Princess, Henry and his mother Margaret Beaufort are miserly, paranoid johnnies-come-lately who basically have no class at all, in contrast to Elizabeth who knows EXACTLY how to nod and smile to the crowd because a) she's a York and they were rock stars and b) because her parents loved her so she's not insecure, nyah nyah nyah. (To digress, I have only watched two and a bit (fell asleep) episodes of the TV series The White Queen so far but the nutty, anorexic religious maniac portrayal of Margaret Beaufort cracks me up. I swear I actually saw her gibber, hiss and raise her hands in vampire claws at one point. PG is clearly on the side of the white rose.) And yes! I give this book three stars! Well, 2.5 really, but I round up. Because: No magic, yippee yippee yippee! I have for so long deplored the way PG's heroines are all witchy and stuff that I must give a star to the almost total absence of magic in this book. It never added anything to the story. Without magic the story lines are much sharper and the historical context clearer. Some interesting hints of themes that got my attention, such as how Elizabeth must have felt when her husband was fighting (possibly) her brother to secure his throne for her son. And the portrayal of Henry's lack of belief in himself and how Mad Margaret's habit of reminding him, evidently every day since babyhood, that he was born to be king was the only thing keeping him going. In fact Henry almost became an interesting and complex character on occasions. Except...seriously?...their first meeting?...(view spoiler)["OK, now sit on this, woman." Fifty Shades of Tudor Green, anyone? (hide spoiler)] When there was dialogue, it was, at times, good. PG can be an entertaining writer. BUT... Still too much naming of names. "Surely, no one can think that this boy is my cousin, Edward of Warwick" . . . "Yes. I had him walk side by side with John de la Pole, my friend and ally." ALL THROUGH THE BOOK. People don't talk like that. It totally screws up the dialogue, which already suffers from the dread disease known as As You Know Bob: the characters in this novel constantly explain events to each other and expound on their historical significance. "Because he wants the support of Spain for his invasion," Henry says shortly. "But they will stand as our ally. They will give us their infanta in marriage, and they will capture our traitor blah blah blah." HF readers are not senile old ladies who have to be reminded who everyone is every five minutes, and personally I feel like I'm being condescended to every time PG explains to me. SO MUCH NARRATION Too much of this story is Elizabeth telling us "And then this happened, and then that happened." And frequently she gets her information second hand, because naturally she's stuck at home while all the good bits are happening elsewhere. It makes the plot way too static. Our Lady of the Comma Splice is alive and kicking. The thing that really spoils PG's books for me is the lack of variation in her punctuation. She is overly fond of commas, which are useful little beasts, but overusing them causes your prose to bob along in sort of dreamy waves, quite relaxing in their way, but after a while you begin to wish for an em dash, or a semicolon, oh how I'd love to see a semicolon, are they really going out of fashion, maybe I'm a dinosaur, how am I going to bring this sentence to an end, somebody help me, oh thank god a period. I'm not saying PG does this ALL the time, but the overall effect of her writing style is a sort of suburban coziness that spreads like a blanket over all the exciting stuff she's writing about and deadens its impact. Still, I liked this one more than the last two or three I've read. So I'm wondering, is the Cousins' War series now at an end? PG's confusing website doesn't give us a clue. She could, of course, eke out another book from Elizabeth of York, who isn't dead yet, pairing her story with Catherine of Aragon's to pull the Plantagenet and Tudor stories more firmly together. There is, of course, the matter of The Prophecy, which is the only witchy-ish bit in the book, and could have made quite an interesting theme, but it sort of got dumped on us late in the story instead. (Yes, I know I'm contradicting myself here.) Or perhaps PG will rest on her laurels, put down her Plantagenet pen, enjoy the royalties from her TV series and blow large raspberries at the history police. Which would you prefer?

  10. 5 out of 5

    Orsolya

    Outshined by the Battle of Bosworth, Henry VII, and the beginning of the Tudor dynasty and her son own, the future King Henry VIII; Elizabeth of York has a seemingly quiet voice in history. Philippa Gregory attempts to strengthen her cry in “The White Princes”, the final book in the “Cousins’ War” series. I am not a fan of Gregory’s claims of historical accuracy and I compare her novels to the same realm as Carolly Erikson’s “historical entertainments”. Therefore, I don’t expect much historically Outshined by the Battle of Bosworth, Henry VII, and the beginning of the Tudor dynasty and her son own, the future King Henry VIII; Elizabeth of York has a seemingly quiet voice in history. Philippa Gregory attempts to strengthen her cry in “The White Princes”, the final book in the “Cousins’ War” series. I am not a fan of Gregory’s claims of historical accuracy and I compare her novels to the same realm as Carolly Erikson’s “historical entertainments”. Therefore, I don’t expect much historically and ‘go into’ her novels expecting merely a ‘fun’ and ‘fluffy’ read. However, even I didn’t expect what met me with “The White Princess”. The novel begins with a slow and bland pace, extremely inaccurate fluff, and ample doses of witchcraft which is a prominent theme in the series. All this by only page 25! Continuing with extreme fiction (Elizabeth raped by Henry encouraged by his mother); Gregory tries much too hard to be racy and controversial. Granted, “The White Princess” is a fictional novel so Gregory has the right to impose such plots; however, these could have been spread out versus throwing it at the reader all at once which decreases believability and just appears pathetic. This attempt at excitement doesn’t mesh well with the characters that are poorly developed and flat. The pace in “The White Princess” is inconsistent as some sections are dull and drag while others are somewhat more entertaining. Gregory’s writing style is also elementary, lacking any literary tact and feels much too modern. This also inhibits the above-mentioned believability and reduces the urge to “care” about what happens. Gregory implores her first-person narrative preference which in turn induces the “As you know Bob…” method to explain historical back stories. Plus, as common in the other books in the series, each character constantly refers to other by title (this isn’t how natural conversations flow) which is much too dummied down and geared for the mass audiences. Not to mention, Elizabeth persistently calling Richard III “my lover” is not only speculation but annoying, as well. “The White Princess” is certainly pro-Ricardian and presents Henry VII as a terrible husband. Although I give credit to Gregory for going outside the box and offering alternate views; this is also forced and much too over the top. “The White Princess” is more fiction than history and is basically YA fiction, at that. As the “The White Princess” progresses, it does become more tolerable with Gregory creating an area of tension surrounding Henry and pretender to the throne. Sadly, “The White Princess” takes another lagging turn halfway through with focus on events but not actually partaking in them, resulting in a slow and boring story. Elizabeth’s characterization is much too underdeveloped and is shown basically as a “stupid” girl while Henry is a vile tyrant. Gregory is also guilty of confusing comments such as saying Elizabeth Woodville’s abbey home is “beautiful” but then a “prison” and then “lovely and she is well served”. Make up your mind, Gregory! Not much occurs until about three-quarters through as the novel is very repetitive and repeats the same events and actions in new way. Nothing is truly “felt”. Although, there is a showdown between Margaret Beaufort and Elizabeth which is not only climatic but also causes the reader to re-think Margaret’s personality and actions and encourages further research/thinking. The conclusion of “The White Princess” is weak and focuses mostly on a Gregory-created curse that Elizabeth and her mother fictitiously cast which results (in Gregory’s eyes) in the real-life ending of the Tudor dynasty with Elizabeth I. It is guaranteed that general readers will believe such fluff. The entire novel is empty and is dragged out with a lack of real events. Much of the text is repetition and could be omitted. Furthermore, “The White Princess” is misleading as it barely focuses on Elizabeth and she is a weak character, overall. At least the novel does encourage further reading regarding the Tudor throne pretenders and the Princes in the Tower. Gregory’s “Author’s Note” is only about a page in length and barely acknowledges her massive number of historical liberties and historical errors. Again, this contributes to uneducated readers taking her word as fact. As mentioned, I agree that Gregory has the freedom to write fiction but she writes “alternate histories” and it should be marketed as such. Although the entire “Cousins’ War” series is rather poor; “The White Princes” has terrible writing, repetition, undeveloped characters, a lack of believability, too many historical errors, and the list goes on. Basically: it stinks worse that the chamber pots dumped into the London streets of Tudor England. Note: If each reader received a nickel for every time Elizabeth says “I don’t know” or “My cousin, Maggie” in the novel; we would all be rich.

  11. 4 out of 5

    Tania

    It does not matter that in my heart I am passionate and independent. My true self will be hidden and history will never speak of me except as the daughter of one king, the wife of another, and the mother of a third. I absolutely loved this book. I have now read seventeen books by this author, and The White Princess is definitely in my top five. Philippa introduced me to the Tudor's court and the Cousins' war, which in turn led me to books by Alison Weir and Hillary Mantel. I am suprised to see th It does not matter that in my heart I am passionate and independent. My true self will be hidden and history will never speak of me except as the daughter of one king, the wife of another, and the mother of a third. I absolutely loved this book. I have now read seventeen books by this author, and The White Princess is definitely in my top five. Philippa introduced me to the Tudor's court and the Cousins' war, which in turn led me to books by Alison Weir and Hillary Mantel. I am suprised to see that many other reviewers did not like this book. I realize that Philippa heavily fictionalizes history, but for me that's what makes it accessible (and interesting) to novices like me. Many reviewers also complain that Elizabeth of York was a weak character, but to me it made sense that she was such a dignified queen. She was raised to be one, and knew exactly what it entailed. She never had to fight her way to the throne. I am so intrigued by the mystery of the princes in the tower, and will be reading The Princes in the Tower and The Daughter of Time as these provide opposing views as to who was responsible for killing these two boys. Lastly, I enjoyed reading about Henry VIII as a baby and a child, I only wished that the book continued through his teenage years. I highly recommend this, and the rest of the series, to anyone who enjoys easy-reading historical fiction. Can anyone please recommend books about the French Revolution written in a similar style? The Story: The haunting story of the mother of the Tudors,Elizabeth of York. Forced into marriage with Henry VII, she must reconcile her slowly growing love for him with her loyalty to the House of York, and choose between her mother's rebellion and her husband's tyranny.

  12. 4 out of 5

    Heather

    Not gonna lie, I love Philippa Gregory's books. They are exciting, intriguing and I feel I learn a lot (please remember they ARE historical FICTION) but I learn much from them. This book in the Cousins' War series was very interesting regarding Elizabeth, Princess of York. She was introduced in the White Queen and I believe one other of the novels. The former love of the now dead King Richard, she has been betrothed to Henry Tudor and marries him (giving birth to sons Arthur, Harry - later Henry Not gonna lie, I love Philippa Gregory's books. They are exciting, intriguing and I feel I learn a lot (please remember they ARE historical FICTION) but I learn much from them. This book in the Cousins' War series was very interesting regarding Elizabeth, Princess of York. She was introduced in the White Queen and I believe one other of the novels. The former love of the now dead King Richard, she has been betrothed to Henry Tudor and marries him (giving birth to sons Arthur, Harry - later Henry the VIII, and Edmund as well as daughters). What I found interesting is the "curse" she and her mother put upon whomever killed the lost princes of the Tower of London. I won't give it away but if you know Tudor history and/or you've read her other novels, you will see what becomes of this curse. The story was done well: did one of the princes believed to have died in the tower survive and is he going to try to claim the throne from Henry VII? This book explores that in a most interesting manner. I'm only disappointed that I'm finished. I absolutely LOVE these books!!

  13. 5 out of 5

    Samantha

    I am not even sure where to start with this trainwreck of a novel. I almost didn't even read it after being disappointed with the first three in this series. I had passed on #4, but couldn't resist the story of Elizabeth of York. Little did I know that this book is really the story of her brother, Richard Duke of York, told from her insipid first person point of view. If one is going to write the story of Perkin Warbeck or Richard of York, why not just write that story? Instead, Gregory insists o I am not even sure where to start with this trainwreck of a novel. I almost didn't even read it after being disappointed with the first three in this series. I had passed on #4, but couldn't resist the story of Elizabeth of York. Little did I know that this book is really the story of her brother, Richard Duke of York, told from her insipid first person point of view. If one is going to write the story of Perkin Warbeck or Richard of York, why not just write that story? Instead, Gregory insists on forcing his story as Elizabeth's, and the result is painful. A majority of this novel focuses on the Warbeck rebellion and the author can't even decide what to call him. This leaves the reader inundated with references to "the boy", incessantly, until it will seep into your nightmares. Just call him Richard or Perkin for heaven's sake! Besides the fact that this "boy" is well beyond what is considered an age of majority and the age that his alleged father was king and battle seasoned warrior. I almost stopped reading, but forced myself to persevere for dear Elizabeth's sake until she met her end. The author chooses not to end the story with Elizabeth's death but with (view spoiler)[ the death of Warbeck and Warwick. (hide spoiler)] As if the most important, and only, thing that ever happened to this daughter, niece, wife, and mother of kings was the York rebellions. Even those aren't covered in their entirety, as Edmund de la Pole is barely mentioned. I am astounded at the number of high ratings this book has received when there is just so much to not like about it. I had hoped for better, had longed for somebody to do poor Elizabeth some justice. No characterization of her that I have read has honored this woman who bridged the gap between the Plantagenet and Tudor dynasties. Near the beginning of this book, Elizabeth thinks, "I am, like England itself, part of the spoils of war." I loved this line and its simple, sad truth. It got my hopes up that the rest of the novel would be as beautifully written, that Gregory would surprise me. She didn't. Before turning too many pages I was sick of hearing Richard III referred to as "my lover." I don't even mind that PG decided to make EofY and RIII lovers. Fine, it's fiction. Whatever. But she's a writer, right? Exercise that vocabulary a little! If only that was the only example of repetitious, eye-roll inducing, make-me-want-to-throw-this-book-out-the-window vocabulary. Perkin/Richard is always "the boy", RIII is always "my lover", everyone keeps asking "what d'you think/mean", and Elizabeth's answer to every question is always "I don't know". Seriously, I have no idea why this is told from her point of view because the girl never knows anything. To emphasize the fact that she is as slow as her cousin, Edward, she frequently repeats what people tell her in the form of a question, creating some of the least compelling dialog that I have ever read. Dialog is repeated, thoughts are repeated, everything is repeated. The novel could be 100 pages shorter if the author wasn't so condescending to the reader. Within the first few pages, the characters had been forced into their stereotypical roles of scheming former Queen (Elizabeth Woodville), scheming want-to-be queen (Margaret Beaufort), naïve-lovesick pawn (Elizabeth of York), and insecure cruel tyrant (Henry Tudor). Henry is particularly poorly done as a suspicious, cruel villain. Then Elizabeth starts to love him, but we don't know why. Then he stops loving her, but we don't know why. Ugh. Then we have the magical powers of the York women, which was my least favorite theme in the rest of this series. Labor is painless as floating down the lazy river with Elizabeth Woodville in attendance, and our lovely pair of Elizabeths accidently curse their own descendants though it takes young Elizabeth hundreds of pages to make this connection that the reader made the first time the curse is uttered. Once the light bulb does come on, she is like some kind of prophetess who can foresee the end of the Tudor line with exacting detail. Just don't ask her about anything currently going on or you'll get, "I don't know" (twirls her golden hair). I'm done. No more PG for me.

  14. 5 out of 5

    Bonnie-ann

    I truly don't know where to start with how much I disliked this book so I'll actually begin with the few positives. Bianca Amato's narration was extraordinary and the only feature that allowed me to finish this novel.I have listened to books she has read in the past where I wasn't in love with her voice, but for this book, her voice was well-paced and soothing to listen to. She got the gender voices done without over-exaggerating the differences. Truly, I would not have finished this book (and a I truly don't know where to start with how much I disliked this book so I'll actually begin with the few positives. Bianca Amato's narration was extraordinary and the only feature that allowed me to finish this novel.I have listened to books she has read in the past where I wasn't in love with her voice, but for this book, her voice was well-paced and soothing to listen to. She got the gender voices done without over-exaggerating the differences. Truly, I would not have finished this book (and almost didn't) but for the narration. I have never put those words in a review before. The novel brings the War of the Roses series to a conclusion and merges it into the Tudor series (The Constant Princess would logically follow from the conclusion of this story). I'm very glad Ms. Gregory wrote the Tudor books and The White Queen first so that I know that, somewhere, she has some knowledge of the time period. This book most certainly does not demonstrate any such knowledge. The negatives are based in the "levels" of the book that Ms. Gregory defines at the end in her "Author's Note." Apparently, her intent was to create a "novel about a mystery that has never been solved." Therefore, she unabashedly makes stuff up left and right throughout the entire novel. I would love to see a single piece of historical research that even hints that Henry VII raped Elizabeth of York repeatedly prior to their wedding in order to see if she was fertile and only married her once she became pregnant. For Tudor fans out there who have done an iota of research, this is painful to read material. I completely understand that Ms. Gregory is of the school of thought that one of the two princes survived the Tower of London and that Richard III was not responsible for their deaths. I'm not taking a stand on that question in this review -- even if you accept as true that the younger prince (who would have rightfully been Richard IV of England) was not in the Tower of that he somehow survived or that someone other than Richard III or one of his minions killed the princes, the story doesn't work. I will give a fiction writer every reasonable inch of "willing suspension of disbelief" to allow them to tell their story. What I will not enable with any positive comments is not warning the reader in advance that the author's plan is to do so. A recent book called "The Boleyn King" says at the outset: what if Anne Boleyn and Henry VIII had a son and Anne Boleyn was not executed? That is a very good premise for a novel and I enjoyed the story. It was fun, it was completely against any and all historical facts and I had no problem with the story BECAUSE of the disclosure. Ms. Gregory attempts in her Author's Note to justify her diversion from anything resembling truth. Even more grating was the author's use of repetition as a literary tool. I've complained about this style in other novels she has written (specifically, "The Red Queen"), but she perfected whiny repeated phrases in this most recent epic tale. Once again, I found myself thinking "ok Philippa, I get it... Henry VII is afraid of 'the boy' who might be young Richard... I get that Henry VII and his ridiculous mother, Margaret Beaufort, trust no one and have a spy network. I get that Elizabeth of York is emotionally torn between her duties as a York princess and her duties as a Tudor wife." I felt like my ears were bleeding from the use of the words: "the boy." I'd be very interested to see a proportional word count of how many times that phrase appears. It could easily be up to 25% of the words in the entire novel. Maybe it's the presence of Margaret Beaufort -- the repetition was ghastly in the novel about her as well. I have never, ever given a story one star until today. This book was simply horrible. Ms. Gregory fails in her attempt to re-write history; written by the victors or not. The characters are shallow and false. The writing is borderline unbearable. The "mystery" that is "solved" by the novel has nothing to do with Elizabeth of York so even the title of the book is misleading. If Ms. Gregorty wanted to write a "what if" story about the younger prince in the Tower, she should have called it "The Missing Prince" or something else that more truthfully highlights what the story is about -- not used an interesting woman from York/Lancaster/Tudor times and crammed her into being the emotional outlet for a fairytale that has no basis in fact. If you have read all of the other books and really want to finish the story, go ahead and wade through this tome. Otherwise, use your credit more wisely.

  15. 4 out of 5

    Asha

    Philippa Gregory is pretty much the reason I read historical fiction. I owe my (limited) knowledge of the Tudor line to her. Once again, she wove a tale of romance, betrayal, the joys and sorrows of being a high woman in court, and what it means to put family, or a throne, above all else. What's more, this particular tale has a bit of mystery to it because no one knows for sure that "the boy" who claimed to be the lost Prince Richard of York was or wasn't the prince. However, it is obvious that Philippa Gregory is pretty much the reason I read historical fiction. I owe my (limited) knowledge of the Tudor line to her. Once again, she wove a tale of romance, betrayal, the joys and sorrows of being a high woman in court, and what it means to put family, or a throne, above all else. What's more, this particular tale has a bit of mystery to it because no one knows for sure that "the boy" who claimed to be the lost Prince Richard of York was or wasn't the prince. However, it is obvious that records scribed by Tudors and their allies are heavily biased and, on some level, inaccurate. Gregory uses this lack of knowledge to her advantage and gives us her own version of what happened, while still taking care to stick to the true dates and battles, etc of the time. There was less romance in this particular book of hers, especially in comparison to The Other Boleyn Girl, but I was still able to make a visceral connection to Elizabeth and form a cranky seed of intense dislike towards Henry VII and Henry VIII (even though he was only a little boy in this book). In the end, Gregory writes well enough and descriptively and passionately enough for me to never, ever, ever consider naming any child of mine Henry.

  16. 4 out of 5

    Christina Volkoff

    Compared to the previous entries into this series, the White Princess falls woefully flat. I understand that Elizabeth of York is supposed to feel trapped in this marriage of hers, but the pre-marriage "rape" and the back and forth affection of Henry just completely killed this book for me. Gregory follows three set patterns for telling this story and they are: 1) Elizabeth and Henry start to make some progress on their affection for each other and Elizabeth says something that makes Henry not t Compared to the previous entries into this series, the White Princess falls woefully flat. I understand that Elizabeth of York is supposed to feel trapped in this marriage of hers, but the pre-marriage "rape" and the back and forth affection of Henry just completely killed this book for me. Gregory follows three set patterns for telling this story and they are: 1) Elizabeth and Henry start to make some progress on their affection for each other and Elizabeth says something that makes Henry not trust her again, 2) Elizabeth goes and pleads for mercy for "York" traitors, and 3) Henry comes to her, demanding to know what she knows about the current plot against him and Elizabeth's response is "I don't know". Wash, rinse, and repeat. Another thing that bugged me is that I don't think that Elizabeth would've told ANYBODY what her and her mom had done with the cursing of the killer of Elizabeth's brothers. To do so would've named her as a witch and an accomplice to what her mom had done, yet the priest, Henry, and Margaret Beaufort take all this in with less screaming and yelling than they do anything else in the book. And if Gregory really wanted to end this book in such way so that it didn't just hint at Henry and Margaret being the killers of the Princes in the Tower, then she probably should've ended it with Arthur's death. It would've driven that underlying plot point home and would've also tied these novels into her Tudor Court novels, which would've been quite clever if you ask me.

  17. 5 out of 5

    L'aura

    I give up. I do think Gregory is pretty good at writing a juicy guilty pleasure when she wants to, but when she writes books just because she has a fee the results are just tiresome -- worst part is, I'm afraid most of her novels are written because she has a fee. This one has a main character I just felt like slapping, despite sort-of linking her in the previous novels. I just pretended I never saw a picture of Elizabeth of York while reading how radiantly beautiful she was, pity I read it basi I give up. I do think Gregory is pretty good at writing a juicy guilty pleasure when she wants to, but when she writes books just because she has a fee the results are just tiresome -- worst part is, I'm afraid most of her novels are written because she has a fee. This one has a main character I just felt like slapping, despite sort-of linking her in the previous novels. I just pretended I never saw a picture of Elizabeth of York while reading how radiantly beautiful she was, pity I read it basically once in each page and at some point the thing just sounds too self-referential, however documented it may be. Plus, Gregory's idea of psychological portrayals consists in iterating concepts as if the reader's too dumb to keep track of them, but after one says Elizabeth was in love with Richard and had to marry the man who killed him those fifteen, sixteen times, well, one must picture everyone got the point. It's a thing Gregory does, and it doesn't always work. This time, it didn't.

  18. 4 out of 5

    Brittany B.

    This is my most anticipated book of the new year!! A mainstream historical novel of Elizabeth of York!! I'm such a dork, but this woman is truly a fascinating creature!!! -Mother to Henry VIII, -Sister to the lost/murdered princes in the tower, -Beautiful eldest daughter of Edward IV and Elizabeth Woodville, -Supposed mistress/lover to her blood uncle, the infamous and doomed Richard III, -Ultimately, her marriage ends the terrible Cousins' War. I had no idea this was Gregory's next book! So excite This is my most anticipated book of the new year!! A mainstream historical novel of Elizabeth of York!! I'm such a dork, but this woman is truly a fascinating creature!!! -Mother to Henry VIII, -Sister to the lost/murdered princes in the tower, -Beautiful eldest daughter of Edward IV and Elizabeth Woodville, -Supposed mistress/lover to her blood uncle, the infamous and doomed Richard III, -Ultimately, her marriage ends the terrible Cousins' War. I had no idea this was Gregory's next book! So excited!

  19. 5 out of 5

    Susan Johnson

    Let me start by saying that I enjoy Phillippa Gregory's books. I do think her Cousins series is weaker than her Tudor series but it's still enjoyable. It's nice to read how women have influenced history with their limited powers. But this book was drivel. It was like reading a National Enquirer version of Henry VII's life. The book debunks any idea that Henry deserved to be King. He is portrayed as weak. unlikable, clueless as a leader, a mother's boy and a rapist. That's just the beginning. Appa Let me start by saying that I enjoy Phillippa Gregory's books. I do think her Cousins series is weaker than her Tudor series but it's still enjoyable. It's nice to read how women have influenced history with their limited powers. But this book was drivel. It was like reading a National Enquirer version of Henry VII's life. The book debunks any idea that Henry deserved to be King. He is portrayed as weak. unlikable, clueless as a leader, a mother's boy and a rapist. That's just the beginning. Apparently the only thing he does in his reign is to execute people horribly, tax the people to excess and lock people in the Tower. He is driven mad by seeing everyone as an enemy and continually looking for the Lost Princes. Don't think Elizabeth comes out nicely in this version. She is supposedly madly in love with her uncle, King Richard. Uck uck. Still devastated by his death, she is hurriedly made ready to marry the man who dethroned and killed her lover. He rapes her repeatedly and yet she falls in love with him. Please strain my creditability a little farther. OK, here is goes. She and her mother put a curse on the killer of her brothers last seen in the Tower. Here's the curse- the person who killed them will have their oldest son die and then the oldest grandson. Their line will end with a female. Really? I cannot recommend this book at all. There's plenty of good things to read but this isn't one of them.

  20. 5 out of 5

    B the BookAddict

    Gregory tells the story of Elizabeth of York, daughter of a king, wife of a king and mother of a king. The author weaves a really riveting version of what happened to the Princes in the Tower. She also bids you to remember in Henry VII's reign that another two young men, Edward the Earl of Warwick and the boy Perkin Warbeck, also died at his command. I have to admit that on finishing this book, I had tears for Edward V, Richard Duke of York, Edward Earl of Warwick and Perkin Warbeck, four lost b Gregory tells the story of Elizabeth of York, daughter of a king, wife of a king and mother of a king. The author weaves a really riveting version of what happened to the Princes in the Tower. She also bids you to remember in Henry VII's reign that another two young men, Edward the Earl of Warwick and the boy Perkin Warbeck, also died at his command. I have to admit that on finishing this book, I had tears for Edward V, Richard Duke of York, Edward Earl of Warwick and Perkin Warbeck, four lost boys, all victims by virtue of their birth. 4.5★ For interest sake, Perkin Warbeck (purported to be Richard, Duke of York): http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Perkin_W... I now have to read Perkin (Perkin: A Story of Deception) by Ann Wroe

  21. 5 out of 5

    S

    My main qualm with this book - as other reviewers have said - is that Elizabeth of York came across as boring, passive, and utterly flat. Mostly, she sits around and mopes, is afraid of how people view her inherent family relations, fights with her husband, and has babies. Her tensions with Lady Margaret Beaufort are not interesting and her on-again-off-again relationship with Henry VII is neither believable nor intriguing. Her inner struggle must have been great, but we see none of it. There is My main qualm with this book - as other reviewers have said - is that Elizabeth of York came across as boring, passive, and utterly flat. Mostly, she sits around and mopes, is afraid of how people view her inherent family relations, fights with her husband, and has babies. Her tensions with Lady Margaret Beaufort are not interesting and her on-again-off-again relationship with Henry VII is neither believable nor intriguing. Her inner struggle must have been great, but we see none of it. There is no action outside of her having conversations with people - very little actually happens in the book that we as readers get to see or experience, and Gregory spends almost no time allowing us a glimpse into what Elizabeth might have been thinking or feeling, usually reserving that to a few sentences per chapter. The only particularly fascinating character in this whole book was her mother, Elizabeth Woodville -- the only person in the book to actually *do* much of anything at all, and I could imagine her to be a compelling person. After the point in the book where Elizabeth Woodville died, I was unable to force myself to waste more time on it. This character is the only reason at all I gave this story two stars instead of one. I know I really must stop reading Philippa Gregory (and I have read everything she has published since about 2002), but I -foolishly- keep hoping that the next novel will be a good one. This book was a disappointment to a former fan at best.

  22. 5 out of 5

    Gina

    As a Tudor period history buff, I was, of course, drawn to this novel, as I am to anything written by one of the best authors regarding this time period, Philippa Gregory. Gregory's books are always impeccably researched, giving the reader an authentic taste of life at the royal courts during the Tudor time period. Without being so detail oriented that you feel like you are reading a text book (as some I have read are - heavy on details, light on the people themselves), she balances the need to As a Tudor period history buff, I was, of course, drawn to this novel, as I am to anything written by one of the best authors regarding this time period, Philippa Gregory. Gregory's books are always impeccably researched, giving the reader an authentic taste of life at the royal courts during the Tudor time period. Without being so detail oriented that you feel like you are reading a text book (as some I have read are - heavy on details, light on the people themselves), she balances the need to be able to imagine yourself legitimately in the late 1480's royal courts with a peek inside the lives of the King, Queen, and all of those who surround them. In this incredible book, we are witness to the court of Henry VII who became King by defeating King Richard III of the House of York at the battle of Bosworth. Desperate to unite the houses of York and Tudor, Henry VII soon marries Princess Elizabeth, daughter of King Edward IV and his wife, Queen Elizabeth. Princess Elizabeth had been very much in love with the defeated King Richard III, and her love for him never waivers, despite her marriage to Henry VII and her eventual coronation to Queen (after she produces male heirs, Arthur who will eventually marry Katherine of Aragon, and Edmund). Gregory is always quick to point out that her works are historical fiction, based on historical fact. She is beyond adept at weaving known history into her imagination of what those involved in the Royal Court system faced on a daily basis. There is always a fear of speaking words that could be construed as treasonous, a constant unknown of whom you can trust with confidences and who may be spies, a delicate balancing act of staying in the King's good graces while always knowing his crown can be challenged on any given day and your loyalties questioned, and the constant knowledge that, medically speaking, life is short due to the medical practices of the day. Childbirth was extremely dangerous, the "sweat" could sweep through a household and take many occupants, children were taken in an instant. This view of the cousin's war, white rose of York vs red rose of Tudor, is a fantastic read. A 519-page tome, I read this in 5 days, reaching for it at every opportunity.

  23. 4 out of 5

    Sara

    This novel is Philippa Gregory at her best. If you have ever thought you might have enjoyed being a princess, prince, queen or king, this book ought to make you think again. How difficult to be born with a destiny that you must accept, including being bartered off in marriage to your worst enemy, and never having the choice of seeking love or even a simpler life. I have always been fascinated by the mystery of the princes in the tower. Many of us are. This is one more look into the possibility of This novel is Philippa Gregory at her best. If you have ever thought you might have enjoyed being a princess, prince, queen or king, this book ought to make you think again. How difficult to be born with a destiny that you must accept, including being bartered off in marriage to your worst enemy, and never having the choice of seeking love or even a simpler life. I have always been fascinated by the mystery of the princes in the tower. Many of us are. This is one more look into the possibility of what might have occurred and how that may have affected the reign of Henry VII. It is the continued story of Elizabeth, the daughter of King Edward IV and sister to the two ill-fated princes. Having met her in an earlier novel, The White Queen, which was told from the point-of-view of her mother, Elizabeth Woodville, Elizabeth seemed someone with whom I already had a relationship and affection. Gregory is a complete master of her genre. She brings to life historical figures, imbues them with personality and makes them just as complicated as any real person is or should be. While her women are always fully drawn, this novel exceeds itself in making of Henry VII a complex and tortured soul, driven by an insatiable mother. Having recently finished The Red Queen, the story of Margaret Beaufort, I was prepared for how unpleasant she could be. I walked away from this novel thinking her one of the least attractive women English history may have ever produced, but even she is in many ways a victim of her birth. Next up #6-The Constant Princess, the story of Katherine of Aragon.

  24. 4 out of 5

    Carole P. Roman

    I actually enjoyed various theories presented by this book. You can't expect someone to write about the 14th and 15th centuries with modern sensibilities. If Henry did, in fact rape his future wife, would that be in keeping of the brutal times they lived in? And how come no one is shocked or mentioning the incestuous relationship between uncle and niece? These were horrible times, when women were nothing, a man could do anything to his wife and she was nothing more than an object. The fact is th I actually enjoyed various theories presented by this book. You can't expect someone to write about the 14th and 15th centuries with modern sensibilities. If Henry did, in fact rape his future wife, would that be in keeping of the brutal times they lived in? And how come no one is shocked or mentioning the incestuous relationship between uncle and niece? These were horrible times, when women were nothing, a man could do anything to his wife and she was nothing more than an object. The fact is that Elizabeth was pregnant when they married. The fact is that Margaret Beaufort was ambitious for her son to be king. She did do many of the things that Gregory reports and I do think that Elizabeth was a child born of fear, living constantly with a sword of Damocles over her head. Her grandfather and great uncle were killed trying to take the throne from her cousins, brother went against brother- mother against sons- Her siblings were murdered and she didn't know if if was by the man sworn to protect her, or another member of her wide flung family. Elizabeth was the daughter of a power couple, could she have quietly wanted to fly under the radar- I wouldn't be shocked if she did. Sounds to me, Gregory presented a girl who just wanted to be safe, her children safe, and if she did it with a no nothing attitude- well, she wouldn't be the first in history. I thought her believable. I did however, enjoy the B story more than anything else. I had never thought about Perkin Warbeck as being anything more than a Pretender and Gregory's representation was quite creditable. She gave the whole story legs and made me want to read about Henry's infatuation with Warbeck's wife. Elizabeth was a pale shadow compared to both her mother and grandmother Jaquetta. I always thought of her as able to influence her husband with her Yorkish savvy and intelligence. Perhaps I was wrong, but it sure did skip a generation to rest in the heart and mind of her granddaughter Elizabeth 1 , one of the greatest queens of all times.

  25. 5 out of 5

    Katie Scarlett O Hara

    This book should be called I don't know or about a boy, though that one is already taken. My ears are literally bleeding from all the repetition. But king Henry VII kind of grow on me. Update: Review is finally on my blog http://thestuffdreamsaremadeof21.blog...

  26. 4 out of 5

    Lois

    I like the character of The White Princess more than her story. Rereading this series is kinda ruining my fond memories. Maybe it's just cause I know what's going to happen? Original Review: Second favorite installment in The Cousins War Series.

  27. 4 out of 5

    Jessie (Ageless Pages Reviews)

    Read This Review & More Like It On Ageless Pages Reviews! The Cousins' War series continues with the story of Elizabeth of York - granddaughter to Jacquetta Woodville, narrator of Lady of the Rivers (book three in the series), daughter of the protagonist from The White Queen (book one), daughter-in-law to the main character of The Red Queen (book two), and niece to Anne Neville, the focus of The Kingmaker's Daughter (which is book four). Though the series is not completely told in chronologic Read This Review & More Like It On Ageless Pages Reviews! The Cousins' War series continues with the story of Elizabeth of York - granddaughter to Jacquetta Woodville, narrator of Lady of the Rivers (book three in the series), daughter of the protagonist from The White Queen (book one), daughter-in-law to the main character of The Red Queen (book two), and niece to Anne Neville, the focus of The Kingmaker's Daughter (which is book four). Though the series is not completely told in chronological order (which would consist of The Lady of the Rivers as the first, not third, entry), Gregory makes it easy to pick up Elizabeth's story and connect it to what has gone on in the novels that preceded her story. Gregory is at her best when she writes adult historical fiction, and The White Princess is a strong, if repetitive and slowly-progressing, addition to her long-running series on what was then called the Cousins' War and is now termed The War of the Roses. Following Elizabeth from 1485 when she was the not-so-secret lover to the last Plantagenet King (and her uncle) Richard III to 1499 and the execution of her nephew by her Tudor husband, this detailed historical fiction fleshes out her character moderately well. It's a long book, and while some areas do drag in pace, Gregory gives voice to a woman who is long overlooked in favor of both her lover and then her husband. First person has been hit or miss for this author in the past, but she acquits herself well with the voice and narration of Elizabeth. Those familiar with Gregory's style will find much the same to offer here in The White Princess. This is an author that knows what works for her, and sticks with it. There's no POV switching or too much subtlety, but there is minute detail and description that works well to foster atmosphere and a real sense of place for the audience. It's an interesting book, but it can be rather dry and slow-going, especially when it takes the author a bit of time to really get the plot moving a long and the characters interacting with one another in meangingful situations. Characters from the other novels play pivotal roles, especially the mothers of both Elizabeth and Henry, so while reading the prior novels isn't required, doing so would prove helpful in order to keep who is who and who wants what and who is against who, etc. straight. Elizabeth, as the narrator and most defined character, is one of the better aspects to the novel. Her life is a complicated one due to her torn loyalties amongst the factions at her new husband's recently established court. England under Henry Tudor's nascent reign is a snarl of loyalties, families, alliances and betrayal; one that Elizabeth must navigate to help her family survive as losers in the winner's Court. She undergoes a constant tug-of-war between loyalty to the house of her husband and child and that of the house of her father and former lover. Though her relationship with her husband begins roughly (he killed her love, he rapes her to create Arthur), it grows into companionable friendship and creates real struggle for her as her own mother foments rebellion and plots to put another in Henry VII's place. The White Princess can take turns into harsh territory, especially in regards to the treatment of women. Notably the first interactions between the future King and Queen can be hard to read. Henry, and his formidable mother, are shown in less than flattering light when first shown. It can be hard to grow to like him after the way he mistreats his intended, but Gregory succeeds in eventually portraying him as more than he appeared. Constantly wracked by suspicion and fear, her Henry VII is a complex and unpredictable man. You may not like him as a character, but you cannot deny that he is more than a one-dimensional character. Where she might lack in suspense and plotting, Gregory has proven her characterization is top-notch and lends well to creating interesting, well-defined versions of historical personages. This is a series that just continues to grow. The White Princess ends with 10 years left in the reign of the fist Tudor king, and with a sixth book due out (The Last Rose), Gregory's novelization of the War of the Roses will continue - likely from another character's point of view. Fans of this author will find more to enjoy with her latest effort, and it stands as a rather solid entry in her bibliography. With a Starz tv show centered around this series, I only expect it to find a wider audience in the future, and have faith that the author can keep up at the same level.

  28. 4 out of 5

    Rachel Swords

    Oh, Philippa Gregory. You started out as a decent writer, you really did. I forgave your historical inaccuracies in "The Other Boleyn Girl" because that book was (and is) so darned entertaining. "The Constant Princess," "The Boleyn Inheritance," "The Queen's Fool," "The Other Queen," and "Earthly Joys" are all good too. So, several years ago, when you announced you'd be starting a new series about the women involved with the War of the Roses (whatever happened to the announced Jane Seymour book, Oh, Philippa Gregory. You started out as a decent writer, you really did. I forgave your historical inaccuracies in "The Other Boleyn Girl" because that book was (and is) so darned entertaining. "The Constant Princess," "The Boleyn Inheritance," "The Queen's Fool," "The Other Queen," and "Earthly Joys" are all good too. So, several years ago, when you announced you'd be starting a new series about the women involved with the War of the Roses (whatever happened to the announced Jane Seymour book, btw?), I was interested and intrigued. Beyond Shakespeare, I sadly don't know that much about that vast chapter in England's history. And, even though I was pretty sure you'd have inaccuracies here too, I decided to give you a chance based on your past track record of entertaining me. Well, I have to say The Cousins' War series has been a huge disappointment, from beginning to end. "The Red Queen" was the worst book of the series, because its protagonist was so unlikable, with "The White Queen" coming in second. I don't remember what I thought of "The Lady of the Rivers," and "The Kingmaker's Daughter" was the best of the lot. Given the character development of Elizabeth of York as seen in "The White Queen" and "The Red Queen," I was expecting a spirited young woman who is put in an awful position (she was going to be queen whether Richard III or Henry Tudor won) and rises above it to produce one of England's most notorious monarchs. And did I get that? Not. At. All. I found myself wishing a dollar would appear every time Elizabeth of York, nee Elizabeth Tudor, uttered/thought "I don't know." Somewhere in Fiction-land, she and Mary Boleyn from "The Other Boleyn Girl" must be best buddies; these two characters constantly put themselves down when other characters aren't doing it for them. And that makes for a very long, tiresome read. Other things I did not like: 1)Margaret Beaufort, star of "The Red Queen," is back in all her self-centered pious glory. And even though she's a supporting character, she's still as annoying as ever. 2)So is Elizabeth from "The White Queen." She's older, but still the same conspiring twat from her book. 3)Henry Tudor is thoroughly unlikable. He's constantly flip-flopping on poor Elizabeth (I did feel sorry for her when he was around), and even though he calls her his love, he's written in a way that makes that love seem as everlasting as a stick of chewing gum. 4)Elizabeth constantly remembering her days at Richard III's court, where she was the shining star and beloved of the York king. We're never given too much detail about that, but, to paraphrase another goodreads reviewer, clearly it was Twu Wuv Forever. Actually, I'd have rather read a book about Elizabeth and Richard. That would have been intriguing and interesting, especially given the recent wave of publicity over the discovery of Richard III's body. Also a smart cash cow. 5)there's way too much foreshadowing. I have never liked this in any of the books written by Ms. Gregory. Somehow, Elizabeth magically knows that the Tudor line will end with a Virgin Queen, and-gasp!- her name will be Elizabeth too! Yes, the previous books in the series have shown Elizabeth's family possesses the Sight, but this was taking it a little too far. 6)Repetition of phrases. Ms. Gregory, with whatever power I have, I hereby ban you from using "D'you think" in any more of your books. You did it back in "The Boleyn Inheritance" and it didn't work then, and it really doesn't work now. Also: no more "Hush, (name). Hush." Equally irritating. Somehow, Ms. Gregory, in spite of all this, I kept reading "The White Princess." Whether that was out of curiosity as to whether the plot would get any better or if Elizabeth would conjure up a personality overnight, I'm not sure, but I did. Maybe I'm just hoping that somehow you will return to the writing magic that possessed you when you wrote the Tudors books. I don't know-hey look, I said it for once! But I digress. Ms. Gregory, I'm a fan of yours. I really am. And I also really love history, especially British history. So, it just makes me sad when it gets mangled, and when a good idea gets mangled too. Please, no more Cousins' War books. How about writing that Jane Seymour book? Or maybe going back before the Cousins' War and trying, oh, I don't know, Henry V's wife, Katherine? Or more books set in the 18th century, like "Earthly Joys"? Just please. Stop the madness. The Yorks/Lancasters/Nevilles/Tudors deserve better. Signed, An affectionate history/historical fiction fan

  29. 5 out of 5

    Nattie

    Yet again another PG tale that I couldn't wait to end, when it finally did; I almost cried with joy. I like Philippa Gregory's books, they are quite often very good, but I haven't read one yet that wasn't overflowing with annoyances. In this one, Henry VII is so paranoid, that it became nauseating. His position was understandable, but I grew weary of the constant worrying and nagging and his eyes popping out of their sockets every other page. He asked Elizabeth the same questions over and over aga Yet again another PG tale that I couldn't wait to end, when it finally did; I almost cried with joy. I like Philippa Gregory's books, they are quite often very good, but I haven't read one yet that wasn't overflowing with annoyances. In this one, Henry VII is so paranoid, that it became nauseating. His position was understandable, but I grew weary of the constant worrying and nagging and his eyes popping out of their sockets every other page. He asked Elizabeth the same questions over and over again until I literally wanted to fling the book across the room. It wasn't like he was going to believe his wife anyway, so why bother? On Elizabeth's end; if I had read one more time how much she loved Richard, was meant to be with Richard, should have been with Richard; I don't know what I would have done. Also, I grew weary of Elizabeth constantly repeating Henry's questions to her as if she were a parrot. Nobody talks like that in a conversation, not even during the 1400's. One of the most irritating things was when "The boy" was referred to by Henry, and he would accuse his wife of knowing the boy's true identity, and she would act like she had never even heard of the subject. The boy? She would repeat stupidly. Yes, Elizabeth, the boy, the one that Henry is constantly going on and on about. Next he would ask her if she had any idea who people thought the boy might be, and once again she would look around stupidly and shake her head no, then finally decide that they might think he was her long lost brother, even though every darned body in the room knew that's who he was thought to be, and she and Henry had discussed it themselves many times. Then there was the problem of the same dialogue page after page, only said differently so as to try not to let on that the same exact things are being said thousands of times, and that most of the book is filler. I really wish PG would do something about her writing style, because her books are good, and some of the best around, but the way she writes always detracts from the story for me.

  30. 5 out of 5

    Dominique

    *Spoilers* (sort of/mild spoilers/is it even possible to have spoilers for historical fiction??) I don't really want to do an official review for this, because, as you can probably guess by the rating, I don't have much praise for it and I feel really unfair wholly criticising books without praise, but....I really just need to...rant about this book. The White Princess is the daughter of The White Queen (currently airing on TV right now) -- which means that it follows Elizabeth of York, Henry VII *Spoilers* (sort of/mild spoilers/is it even possible to have spoilers for historical fiction??) I don't really want to do an official review for this, because, as you can probably guess by the rating, I don't have much praise for it and I feel really unfair wholly criticising books without praise, but....I really just need to...rant about this book. The White Princess is the daughter of The White Queen (currently airing on TV right now) -- which means that it follows Elizabeth of York, Henry VII's wife. For my AS history course I studied Henry VII, so I thought this would be a particularly interesting book to read as I already had some background knowledge about the period. The image Philippa Gregory paints of Henry VII did not match my own preconceived notions about him. When I studied his reign, I sort of concluded that, although he may not have been beloved in the same way as his son Henry VIII was (which is an issue that crops up a lot in his character) he was slightly misunderstood, but a good king who did a lot for the good of England. Well. I suppose that studying a king's actions and a king's person are very different things because, quite honestly, PG's portrayal of Henry VII is really incredibly difficult to like; perpetually fearful for his crown and security, he is constantly, unremittingly paranoid, always moaning and snapping at everyone -- or just plain absent. Henry definitely had moments were I did warm up to him and I thought he could redeem himself, but the next chapter he would go back to being the same as he always was: sullen, impatient, angry and anxious. His relationship with his wife began in a horrible fashion and didn't predispose me to like him at all; it was only in the scattered declarations of love and affection for his wife and children in which I thought perhaps Henry could change and learn to cope with his demands as king. That never happened. In fact, the whole book is arguably an observance of his deterioration of character -- although eventually Elizabeth admits that she loves her husband, it is by no means a happy marriage, and it is fraught with angst and distrust -- to the point where Henry takes a mistress. I'm not sure how much of that side-plot is grounded in historical evidence (before I read this, I had no idea that Henry had done that, but I suppose I shouldn't be surprised) but it quite effectively killed all the hope I had in his maturing character. Mostly because the bulk of his exchanges with his wife are either maliciously accusing her of something she hasn't done, or insulting her. Notice how most of what I have said so far is about Henry and not about the narrator -- his wife? That's because Elizabeth of York is a maddeningly unassertive and passive character. Henry is constantly accusing her of knowing something about the pretenders that seek to dethrone him and her reply is always 'I don't know'. But nor did she ever attempt to find out more -- to play a more active role in protecting her husband's throne and her children -- to prove her loyalty to the Tudors, and not her birth family, the Yorks. She simply lets everyone else do the work and watches them fail in despair. I understand that her power is incredibly limited -- but she was Queen of England for goodness sake. She did have some authority and influence which she could have used to at least do some scheming or plotting behind the scenes like her mother-in-law so famously did -- anything -- would have been an improvement on what she essentially was, which was a baby-making machine. She didn't seem to be very politically astute or even try to cultivate her knowledge. It was unbelievably frustrating. Really, the whole novel was just depressing. After a certain period, I expected it to lift, for there to be some relief, so PG could later reintroduce the tension. But that never happened. It is just one steady commentary on the anguish Henry VII undergoes with the pretenders to the throne, and rarely a moment of triumph or peace. I was quite glad to finish it. Though I have nothing to praise about the ending, either -- it was disturbingly abrupt, especially because I knew the story didn't there (her eldest son dies, she has another child and then she dies too.) But despite the last few lines, I felt like there was no real reconciliation between Henry and Elizabeth. The book just--ended. Quite randomly. I have no idea why Philippa Gregory decided to end it there. Perhaps to spare us the doubly-depressing death of her narrator only a couple of years later? I don't know. The only positive thing I have to say about this book (and that pushed it up to a 2 star rating) was probably the fact that it was very compelling -- I read it in a day -- despite all the complaints I have, it was difficult to stop reading it. Nor is Philippa Gregory a bad writer -- she's no Hilary Mantel -- but her writing is really too conventional for me to elaborate any more on that.

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