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!


Sunday, August 16, 2009


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:

Booking Mama
A Girl Walks Into A Bookstore
Kittling: Books
The Literate Housewife
Medieval Bookworm
Peeking Between The Pages
Tanzanite's Shelf & Stuff


Daphne said...

Spoiler Warning Aheaed:

I agree with you on the use of the curse that calls into question Henry's involvement with the princes. It will be interesting to see how Gregory weaves this through the rest of the series given the problem the Tudor men have fathering male children who live to adulthood.

Lezlie said...

Daphne ~ Definitely! I'm curious if she'll answer the mystery in her own way or if she'll leave us wondering.


Brooke Reviews said...

I'm glad I got to read your review. :) I'm currently giving away two copies of this on my blog, and it's weird giving away a book I haven't read! lol

Great review :)

Teddy Rose said...

Thanks for the review. I also run hot and cold with her books. However, I like her enough to have my eyes light up a bit when I she she's written a new one.

I am the same way with magic in a book. That's why I'm not to big on fantasy although I admit I liked the first two Harry Poter books.

Booklogged said...

I've been entering contests for this book all over the blogosphere. That magic element sounds a bit weird.

Marg said...

Hot and cold for me too I am afraid! I will be getting this one from the library I think.

Meghan said...

I may be the only one who actually liked the use of the magic. I guess I just like historical fantasy! I'm just a little tired of reading about the Wars of the Roses at the moment since it's all I do, and because of the magic (and the sympathetic treatment of Elizabeth Woodville) the book felt like something different to me.

bermudaonion said...

I've never read any of Phillipa Gregory's work and I don't think I'll start with this one since it incorporates magic. I can't believe you don't have a Twitter account!

Lezlie said...

Brooke Reviews ~ Thanks! That would be odd, giving away a book I hadn't read. Since it comes out Tuesday, I'm sure you'll be seeing lots of reviews now, so at least you can recommend it in conscience. :-)

Teddy Rose ~ Exactly! I also get pretty excited when I see she has a new on coming up. I especially will be interested in following this series, since I thought is was really great that she moved on from the Tudors. Well, mostly moved on. :-)

Booklogged ~ I thought it was a little weird, but I do think she brought it around well at the end. It made me like the book more than I might have otherwise. I hope you win a copy!!

Marg ~ She's always worth a read though, don't you think? I'm never sorry I read a book of hers even if it wasn't my favorite.

Meghan ~ Have you written a review? If you have, I'd love to link it here! It's good to see both sides of the debate. If I had known a lot about the Wars of the Roses and/or Elizabeth, I may well have enjoyed the different treatment also. That is an excellent point! I was coming at it as a newbie to that historical period. Interesting thought to ponder!

Bermudaonion ~ My personal recommendations are The Other Boleyn Girl and The Boleyn Inheritance, if you do want to read her. I'm avoiding Twitter, Facebook, etc., because I want to focus my online time on my blog, but every once in a while, some temptation rears its head! :-)


Literate Housewife said...

I'm with Meghan in liking the mystical elements. I think that they thought they had some power. Her mother was a bit smarter with her usage because she knew that whatever she sent out could come back at them. Elizabeth was much more ruled by her emotions and fears and frequently her curses came back to harm her own family. Because of that, it gave her character more depth. It didn't bother me that they didn't/couldn't use magic to win the war, because it wasn't an all-powerful kind of thing. I'm not sure if that was because they were human or not.

Great review! I'm looking forward to the rest of this trilogy and love the new website. I am following Elizabeth Woodville on Twitter and it's fun to see her pop up from time to time. It reminds me of the novel over and over again.

Lezlie said...

Literate Housewife ~ This is great, hearing from the pro-magical side of the debate! I haven't changed my mind, but I can see the attraction more after listening to you and Meghan. I will add your review link, too, once you have it posted.


Darlene said...

I liked the magic but I do agree with you. If I had the power to make things happen then a lot more would have been happening in the wars, etc. lol. I really enjoyed this one though. It ranks up with The Other Boleyn Girl for me. I still have yet to read The Boleyn Inheritance but it is on my shelf. Note to self---get to it!

Lezlie said...

Dar ~ For sure make time for The Boleyn Inheritance sometime. It's awesome!! In my humble opinion, anyway. :-)


Trish @ Love, Laughter, Insanity said...

So, you don't come right out and say it, but was this one of the colder books? I've only read TOBG and while I enjoyed it I can't bring myself to pick anything else up by her (I do have a few on the shelf, so access isn't the issue). Although, I have been buying them for friends. Too bad about the magic--I actually thought it sounded a bit interesting.

Amy said...

Get thee to twitter! Didn't read the rest of the review because I haven't read the book yet. :)

Lezlie said...

Trish ~ Yeah, I guess I would say this one was "colder" for me, though I warmed up more to it at the end. It appears that the magic element bothers people less who have read more about the Wars of the Roses. I can see where that would happen. It's nice to see a different twist on a familiar story. I wouldn't give up on her yet. :-)

Amy ~ LOL! I think about it every time I read about how much fun all of you have over there! :-) I tend to skim/skip reviews of books I plan to read, too. I just look for the paragraph that tells me if the reviewer liked it or not.


Mon said...

Hmmm, that's a good point about the magic. Haven't read this one and was pondering doing so.

Lezlie said...

Mon ~ There are a lot of readers who are loving the magical aspect, so I wouldn't pass it up on my word. :-) It still was interesting to read, and I liked her spin on the princes in the tower.