by Philippa Gregory
"The White Queen tells the story of a woman of extraordinary beauty and ambition who, catching the eye of the newly crowned boy king, marries him in secret and ascends to royalty. While Elizabeth rises to the demands of her exalted position and fights for the success of her family, her two sons become central figures in a mystery that has confounded historians for centuries: the missing princes in the Tower of London whose fate is still unknown." (From the cover flap.)
I run hot and cold with Philippa Gregory's novels. I didn't care for The Virgin's Lover, I liked The Other Boleyn Girl, I LOVED The Boleyn Inheritance, I thought The Other Queen was pretty good. Generally speaking, I've always found her books to be decent entertainment even if I'm not as ga-ga over them as many others. Ms. Gregory certainly doesn't need my blessings in order to sell millions of books. :-)
Flap over the The White Queen has long preceded its arrival, so I won't be debating its historical accuracy here. I'm not one who requires flawless history in her fiction, especially if the author explains his or her point of view in an author's note. My personal view is that, hey, it's fiction! Feel free to be creative. If I want to know the real story, I'll dig up some non-fiction and give myself a history lesson.
I will, however, throw my hat into ring regarding the debate over the use of magic in the story. I am in the camp that found the magical elements distracting for the most part. I couldn't help but think things like, "If Elizabeth Woodville and her mother had powers strong enough to conjure up storms that thwarted a rebel army, why didn't they win the war?" That may be petty of me, but there it is. **Potential minor spoiler ahead!** That being said, I forgave some of it when she brought the curses around to a point that called into question Henry Tudor's possible involvement in the disappearance of the princes from the tower. I thought the way that particular curse raised doubts and made me look at other potential suspects was pretty clever, and had the women not already been solidly developed as possessing the ability to cast the curse to begin with, it wouldn't have been as effective. **Potential spoiler over.**
In what could be the coolest use of Twitter I have ever heard about, part of the promotion for The White Queen will be Elizabeth Woodville Tweeting! How great is that! Almost makes me want to start a Twitter account. :-) If you'd like to learn more about that or any other aspect of The White Queen, stop over at Philippa Gregory's Official Website. She always has great information on her books and research, both previous and upcoming.
Other reviews of The White Queen:
A Girl Walks Into A Bookstore
The Literate Housewife
Peeking Between The Pages
Tanzanite's Shelf & Stuff
NOTICE: (Updated March 5, 2010)
Beginning December 19, 2009, Books 'N Border Collies will be posting but only intermittently while I pursue personal goals. I plan to share some reading I'm doing, but there will be no reviews. I will, however, be sharing my exploration of vegetarian cooking and the cookbooks and websites I use to educate myself. I hope you enjoy it!