262 of 279 people found the following review helpful
Ms. Gregory is Back!,
This review is from: The White Queen: A Novel (Cousins' War) (Hardcover)I have been anxiously awaiting the new Philippa Gregory book THE WHITE QUEEN. Like many, I enjoyed THE OTHER BOLEYN GIRL; however, I didn't exactly love the last book that I read by Ms. Gregory. I was sincerely hoping that THE WHITE QUEEN would love up to all its advance billing. After reading it (or you could say devouring it), I am so excited to say that Ms. Gregory is back. I loved THE WHITE QUEEN!
THE WHITE QUEEN is the first book in The Cousins' War Series. You can't see me, but I'm doing a little happy dance because that means there will be two more books about the Plantagenets -- THE RED QUEEN and THE WHITE PRINCESS. I am already excited about the release of the next book because I felt as if I was kind of left hanging at the end of THE WHITE QUEEN. I don't mean that in a negative way and I'm sure it was the author's intent, but I want to know what happens next!
While I definitely enjoy historical fiction, I am sadly lacking in knowledge about England and its Monarchy. As a result, I knew almost nothing about the Plantagenets except for a few small things that appeared as side stories in other novels. I can't tell you how much of this story is fact versus fiction; and frankly, I don't even care. I was fascinated by the story Ms. Gregory told about these characters' lives. THE WHITE QUEEN is better than any televised drama or movie I've ever seen. These characters are smart, determined, and ruthless; and I just loved reading about them.
I thought THE WHITE QUEEN had a little bit of everything; and I'm sure there is something in Elizabeth Woodville' s story that will capture your attention. First, THE WHITE QUEEN is just a fabulous historical story about the Cousins' War. There are so many scenes where brother is pitted against brother for control; and the characters involved have absolutely no idea who they can and can not trust. It was a great, suspenseful ride for the reader too! I also thoroughly enjoyed how Ms. Gregory used facts to tell the story while also embellishing the mysteries and holes in the characters' lives to make a very readable story. I realize that Ms. Gregory picked some fascinating people to write about, but a whole lot of credit goes to her for being such an amazing storyteller.
Another part of this story that will keep many readers entertained is the magical and sorcery elements. Elizabeth is said to be the descendant of a mythical water creature called Melusina. Ms. Gregory incorporated the myth of Melusina into the novel and actually used it as a recurring theme/symbol throughout the story. In addition, Elizabeth's mother practiced some examples witchcraft. Some people actually claimed that Elizabeth's mother put a spell on Edward to make him fall in love with her daughter. The character of Elizabeth also had premonitions about certain things and places in her life. She always had a bad feeling that something awful would occur in the Black Tower.
One of my favorite elements of the THE WHITE QUEEN was the love story angle. It seemed to me as if there was a perfect blend of romance and history in this book. Not only did THE WHITE QUEEN show the love affair between Elizabeth and Edward, but this book is also demonstrated the love between mothers and their children. More than once, I was amazed by what women did to protect their children especially in the case of Elizabeth and her sons.
THE WHITE QUEEN would make an excellent book club pick. In fact, if your group enjoys historical fiction like mine does, then you should definitely consider this book in the very near future. One added bonus is that the book is around 400 pages (shorter than many historical novels), and it is not at all overwhelming in scope. There is a great reading guide with fifteen questions that really allow you to delve into Elizabeth's life and her actions. Some of the topics for discussion include mother/daughter relationships, moral dilemmas, adultery, betrayal, and witchcraft. There is also a very interesting interview with Ms. Gregory that gives you some insight into the background of this novel.
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Showing 1-10 of 12 posts in this discussion
Initial post: Aug 19, 2009 6:30:45 PM PDT
Julia Flyte says:
Nice review! And helpful - thanks. I was looking at your other reviews. Do you really read a book a day? I'm impressed! Julia
In reply to an earlier post on Aug 21, 2009 8:09:47 PM PDT
Julie Peterson says:
I read about 5 books a week! :)
Posted on Sep 4, 2009 7:38:52 PM PDT
Christine Olson says:
Great Review, thanks for writing such a detailed (w/o giving away the book) review. I am also a stay at home mom and love to read but, I'm getting to the point were I have come to Amazon to read reviews on books I'm considering because there are too many books to read to waste time on bad ones! I also read your previous reviews and am going to build a list from it, so thanks again!
In reply to an earlier post on Sep 5, 2009 5:48:31 AM PDT
Julie Peterson says:
Thanks so much for the wonderful comment. I'm very flattered and you hve made my day!
In reply to an earlier post on Sep 5, 2009 8:47:21 AM PDT
Christine Olson says:
Your welcome and I'm glad it made your day. It really is nice to see a well written review and someone else who enjoys books. Have you ever read "Anna Karenina" by Leo Tolstoy? I just finished and I'm pretty sure it's my favorite. It sounds like our taste is very similiar so, you may want to give it a go if you haven't.
Posted on Sep 22, 2009 9:47:21 AM PDT
James R. Stanton says:
Sorry, Ms. Peterson, this male reader can't believe this is the same Phillippa Gregory that wrote The Queen's Fool, The Other Boleyn Girl, etc. Granted, I read only 50 pages before I threw it aside. Knowing how much research Ms. Gregory does, I can't believe that she wasted her efforts on tripe such as, "...I can feel my cheeks are burning but I cannot look away from him...", and "...The color rushes back into my face so that my cheeks are burning hot.." Methinks this lady has the swine flu! All she left out in this sentimental claptrap is a Frank Yerby's, "alabaster skin"!
In reply to an earlier post on Apr 28, 2011 10:22:24 AM PDT
Vimala Nowlis says:
It is strange that you should be so enthusiastic about a historical novel if, as you admitted, that you know very little about English history and the Plentagenet dynasty. If you know nothing about Elizabeth Woodville, how can you tell if the book is a well told and well written historical novel? The War of the Roses is the most written about period of English history. You should go read a few books about it before writing a review about it.
Posted on Feb 16, 2012 9:55:58 AM PST
Bartholomew Breva says:
Any book club that chooses its books based on number of pages and inclusion of reading guides sounds like one I want to stay away from. I am also surprised by your continual capitalization of the entire book title. Surely, if you read so much, you know that this is not how the English language works.
In reply to an earlier post on Feb 16, 2012 9:58:10 AM PST
Bartholomew Breva says:
I agree wholeheartedly. I have stopped reading Ms. Gregory's books because of this childish, romantic turn she has taken.
In reply to an earlier post on Oct 24, 2012 3:09:35 PM PDT
A. Gehlke says:
Wow, I took her comment to simply mean that it wouldn't take as much time for those who are slower readers, such as myself. I did not take it to mean that it should be the reason to choose it as a book club selection at all. That's a bit silly to read that into her comment.