Wednesday, August 28, 2013

The White Princess

The White Princess is the tale of Elizabeth, the daughter of The White Queen and sister to the Princes in the Tower. At the conclusion of the Cousins' War, when Henry Tudor takes the throne, Henry also takes Elizabeth as his wife. The pair is less than pleased to be wed, but they know it is necessary to unite the houses of York and Lancaster, and it is most necessary for there to be a whole slew of Tudor Princes, else Henry won the war for nothing. Henry struggles to hold the throne, hold the love of England, and gain the love of his wife. Things seem to be going well, but then there is "the boy." The boy who may very well be Prince Richard of York, Elizabeth's brother. The boy with a better claim to the throne then Henry. 

Philippa Gregory is very upfront with the fact that this is fiction about a mystery, and we don't know the truth of the Princes in the Tower or their death. She is only presenting a case of what might have happened, a story strung together by the facts we do know. Loving Gregory's work as I do, I tend to believe her story, that it is possible things could have happened this way. 

As with all historical fiction, we already know how the story ends. There isn't going to be a big twist. Yet The White Princess is still an enjoyable read. It's not my favorite Gregory work because Elizabeth wasn't as complex a character as her mother or grandmother (I also felt the book ended too soon). She is, however, still a unique character. Same as Henry. Both of them are very realistic and make choices I feel to be true to character. Reading The White Princess also helps one understand Henry VIII better because one comes to understand his heritage. I thoroughly enjoyed and recommend this book. 

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