The three most important parts of a book are: a well constructed plot, compelling characters, and a satisfying conclusion.

Saturday, June 21, 2014

THE WHITE PRINCESS (The Cousins' Wife #5) By Philippa Gregory

The White Princess by Philippa Gregory
Reviewed by WC
Publisher:  Touchstone
Release Date:  July 23, 2013
Pages:  544
Genre:  Historical Fiction

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

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

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

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

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

WC's Review:  "Let's hear it for the boy..." taking excessive liberty from the popular eighties song, this fictionalized historical piece featuring the omnipresent youth who lays claim to the throne of England during the 15th century seems to foretell doom. The boy Prince, whenever and wherever, and as many times as he chooses, appears in Scotland, Flanders, Ireland, the coastal waters of France and England to threaten the crown. Suspected brother of Elizabeth, the young lady forced to become the consort of conquering Henry VII, the boy poses a continued threat to Henry's reign and his relationship with his beautiful bride. Henry, who overthrew Elizabeth's lover Richard III when his legions abandoned him, gains control over the House of York and the English kingdom.

That's about it, although the story resonates with intrigue, deceit, and pretentious acclamations of people in power. Elizabeth, suffering the loss of her beloved Richard and the whimsical incarceration of members of her family in the Tower, prevails. Compounded by her betrothal to conquering Henry and commitment to bear heirs to the crown, and the insufferable insouciance of the King's mother, Liz actually flourishes in her role as Queen of England. So do her sisters, and her mother, who is unwittingly permitted to garner support for the boy to endanger Henry's command of the throne. Henry, somehow, maintains his presence.

Fascinating at times and always entertaining, this well written fictionalized account reads like a misplayed game of chess where the combatants are not really paying attention.
Philippa Gregory About the Author:  Philippa Gregory was an established historian and writer when she discovered her interest in the Tudor period and wrote the novel The Other Boleyn Girl, which was made into a TV drama and a major film. Published in 2009, the bestselling The White Queen, the story of Elizabeth Woodville, ushered in a new series involving The Cousins’ War (now known as The War of the Roses) and a new era for the acclaimed author.

Gregory lives with her family on a small farm in Yorkshire, where she keeps horses, hens and ducks. Visitors to her site, become addicted to the updates of historical research, as well as the progress of her ducklings.

Her other great interest is the charity she founded nearly twenty years ago; Gardens for The Gambia. She has raised funds and paid for 140 wells in the primary schools of the dry, poverty stricken African country. Thousands of school children have learned market gardening, and drunk the fresh water in the school gardens around the wells.

A former student of Sussex University, and a PhD and Alumna of the Year 2009 of Edinburgh University, her love for history and her commitment to historical accuracy are the hallmarks of her writing. She also reviews for US and UK newspapers, and is a regular broadcaster on television, radio, and webcasts from her website. 

Philipa's Facebook page: