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The White Princess, by Philippa Gregory

The White Princess

By Philippa Gregory


The White Princess is the next book in the awe-inspiring series, The Cousins’ War about the dark and hidden depths of Tudor history. Delving deep into a secret world of lies, prejudice and mystery, The White Princess is one of the best of its kind, exploring this time Henry VII’s reign and the rocky relationship between himself and his wife, Elizabeth of York, the daughter of the all-powerful and proud Dowager Queen of England, Elizabeth Woodville. What does Gregory have to offer us this time, I wonder?

Many things, I believe. Firstly, I admire the stark contrast between the bold Elizabeth Senior and the worry-mad Elizabeth Junior. Elizabeth J (as we will now call her) is always being pushed and encouraged by her power-crazy mother, and when she dies, it’s like a weight has been pushed off her back-and then put on her head. After her mother’s death Elizabeth’s survival in the hard and raucous world that is the court, with spies everywhere and the selfish and pious Margaret Beaufort always having an eye on Elizabeth becomes very much harder. And having the King of England as an enemy, and you being his hated wife, things do not get much better for Elizabeth.

As well as this, Gregory creates a neither likeable nor dislikeable character in each and every one of the main people-not rude or unforgiving, but not kind or welcoming in any way known to man (or me, it seems.) This produces a very realistic environment where as many other fictional stories have a very clear bad and good-which, to me, spoils the show by revealing to you straightaway who is going to be the amazing hero and who will be the evil, cackily-laugh kind of Dark One-good books never reveal that, and if they do it’s never who you thought it would be… (aka Wheel of Time…)

Being the fifth book of its kind, The White Princess is the next book to unravel the mysteries of Tudor history (I didn’t mean for that to rhyme), after The White Queen, The Red Queen, The Lady of the Rivers and The Kingmaker’s Daughter. The first two books showed one side of the story; the Woodville’s side, the powerful daughters of Melusina, the water-goddess, which immediately make you side with them for the beauty, charm and elaborate grace. As with the fourth book being mainly associated to the Neville family, the ending of the fourth book is in some ways, a question: “Who do you side with?” It’s quite plain that the Woodvilles don’t enjoy the company of the Nevilles, but now it’s time to make up your mind: who do you like better?

For me, I side with the Nevilles, and most importantly Anne Neville, whose father was the traitor, ‘the Kingmaker’ as it was. The Woodvilles always seem to have a fairly enjoyable life, and from a humble, poor middle class seemed to be raised into nobility in the blink of an eye-with hardly any hardship undertaken. And how did this happen, you ask? Well, only with witchcraft-Melusina’s daughters aren’t just annoying little people, they’re sorcerer’s as well. The Nevilles were brought up the hard way, with their father’s death, being on the wrong side of the throne-the furthest you can be in fact-, their mother completely ignoring her two daughter’s even existence, the suspicious death of her traitorous sister-the list goes on and on. And whatever they seemed to do, they always ended up with their backsides to the throne. When Anne Neville finally gets to sit comfortably on her crown, somebody snatches it from under her-her own husband!-and instead coos to his lover, who just happens to be Elizabeth of York-Elizabeth Woodville’s eldest and most idiotic daughter. What a life!

This book is not for the faint-hearted, or the younger persons in your family. So I will say this now. ADULTS ONLY.  No, really, I mean it. Nobody else! Boys are not suggested for this book. I don’t believe the combination would turn out very well.

So, there you go. Also, as a note to everyone:

Please play Skyrim. It is fun.(Yes, quite random I know but just go along with it for now.)

Hope you enjoyed the review! Upcoming diaries from LoosSerine’s epic trip to Singapore, and a bit of Chinese New Year stuff to be expected. Will finally finish the Chinese trip Time after the last couple of food reviews, to be posted by Loos.   

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