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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A great read
This was the first book of Philippa Gregory's I read and I enjoyed it. She's a historian with a PHD, so you're obviously reading an accurate record of the account with fictional bits fit into it. Someone said that her books are like history books but fun, and I completely agree. This book was at times so sad, so vividly written with emotions and description, that I...
Published on Sept. 19 2009 by Cozy Evenings with a Book

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22 of 23 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Underwhelmed
That's about the only word I can come up with to describe my feelings. The White Queen is the first in a new series Gregory is writing based upon the Plantagenets and the Wars of the Roses - or The Cousins War as she calls it. The book begins as a widowed Elizabeth Woodville waits on the side of the road with her two young sons to plea for her dower lands from Edward IV...
Published on Aug. 24 2009 by Misfit


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22 of 23 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Underwhelmed, Aug. 24 2009
By 
Misfit (Seattle, WA USA) - See all my reviews
(TOP 500 REVIEWER)   
Ce commentaire est de: The White Queen: A Novel (Hardcover)
That's about the only word I can come up with to describe my feelings. The White Queen is the first in a new series Gregory is writing based upon the Plantagenets and the Wars of the Roses - or The Cousins War as she calls it. The book begins as a widowed Elizabeth Woodville waits on the side of the road with her two young sons to plea for her dower lands from Edward IV. Several years younger, Edward is captivated and must have her - but Elizabeth holds out for a wedding ring and gets it. Elizabeth is crowned queen and immediately goes about getting the best positions and marriages for her relatives, which earns the enmity of just about everyone else. The story continues as Edward battles with Margaret of Anjou and the deposed Henry VI, as well as his treacherous brother Clarence and Warwick, The Kingmaker, and finally culminates at the death of Edward IV (that's known history, no spoilers here), and his brother Richard ascends the throne. That's really about all I want to tell you about the plot. If you're familiar with the period you know the basics and if you're not it's way too complicated to try and put it all into a review.

Unfortunately, I found the writing overly repetitive to the point that I felt like I was being clubbed over the head. Whether it be the first chapters where she keeps referring to twenty-two year old battled hardened Edward as a "boy" (counted it at least six times on one page), to the locket with the names written in blood, as well as the ever present and over bearing references to her ancestor Melusine - I got the point the first time. Outside of the first few chapters at the beginning of their relationship I didn't pick up much chemistry between Edward and Elizabeth - they should have sizzled right off of the pages and instead they fizzled. But worst of all was the magic and spells cast by Elizabeth and her mother, whether you buy it or not I found the casual way everyone in the book treated it more than just a tad bit unbelievable - it's just a day in the park and I'll whistle up another storm to thwart my enemies. I think with all the people who hated her someone would have had her tried as a witch.

One last minor nitpick and thanks to some readers at another site who spotted this - one of Elizabeth's palaces is Nonesuch (or Nonsuch). Google that and you'll find that it was built by Henry VIII. Oops. I am recommending this one only for die-hard Gregory fans, you're better off reading Penman's fabulous Sunne in Splendour. If you're not sure get it from the library first. Glad I did.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A great read, Sept. 19 2009
Ce commentaire est de: The White Queen: A Novel (Hardcover)
This was the first book of Philippa Gregory's I read and I enjoyed it. She's a historian with a PHD, so you're obviously reading an accurate record of the account with fictional bits fit into it. Someone said that her books are like history books but fun, and I completely agree. This book was at times so sad, so vividly written with emotions and description, that I felt like I was right there sitting beside the main character and looking at her beautiful face. I am not looking to buy more of her novels, but since history back then is filled with family betrayals, murders, lust and lying; I will probably read a lighter book before I launch into English history again. I recommend this book to anyone who is interested in English history, who wants to read about what happened to Elizabeth Grey, and if you wish to experience an amazing life story of one woman and all the horrors she had to witness.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars The White Queen, Sept. 20 2009
Ce commentaire est de: The White Queen: A Novel (Hardcover)
If you like English history and have a lot of patience, this is the book for you. I was quite disappointed with the slow pace of the story - too much detail and not enough action. However, it provided a nice overview of the Wars of the Roses and showed the unstable government that people had to live under. I'd recommend it to avid Gregory fans - or history buffs.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Words of a Master Storyteller, Aug. 11 2010
By 
Toni Osborne "The Way I See It" (Montreal, Canada) - See all my reviews
(TOP 100 REVIEWER)   
Ce commentaire est de: The White Queen: A Novel (Paperback)
The first book in the Cousins' War series

This latest series tells the story of the Plantagenets, the first novel is centered around Elizabeth Woodville and her family. Based on facts and mixed with the author's vivid imagination, this historical fiction proves once more that Ms Gregory is more than a researcher, she is also a master storyteller.

Elizabeth cherishes the idea that she is a descendant of the water goddess Melusina and the daughter of a woman believed to be a witch. Applying her magic she charms the previously betroth King Edward into marrying her in secret this allows her to eventually move into the castle. Keeping the throne and staying in power is not easy. Her husband had recently dethroned King Henry thus making him the new target...

The story recounts the struggle for ultimate power during this time period. Although witchcraft plays an important part in this fictional plot it also highlights Elizabeth Woodville influence on history.

I like the way Ms Gregory depicted this era, it is quite entertaining but some may not like the route she took and may prefer the traditional point of view. You will find the characterization is one dimensional.... they are all described as having a wicked side to them.....

This tale is definitely not for the historical buff....
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Courtesy of Lost for Words, Aug. 4 2010
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Ce commentaire est de: The White Queen: A Novel (Hardcover)
This book chronicles the tumultuous reign of Elizabeth Woodville, the White Queen and her husband, King Edward IV. She was a woman of astounding beauty, a widow, and young mother who wanted to claim the land and fortune taken by her mother-in-law after her first husband's death. She broached the subject to the young King of York, and he granted her wish, and then some. They married secretly, and once he was officially pronounced King of England, he announced that he had married, and so the reign of Queen Elizabeth Woodville, and King Edward IV began.
This was my first historical fiction read by Philippa Gregory, and I quite enjoyed it. The history from this era was recreated vividly, and plausible explanations were given for certain scenarios in history that are still unsolved. The Princes in the Tower being one of the unsolved mysteries of said time. I love history, but haven't read that much historical fiction. That said, this isn't a time period that I know much about, so I really enjoyed reading Gregory's version of Plantagenet life.
Elizabeth was an intriguing character. She was very much a mother, and cared for her children, but she also cared for her throne. She quickly arranged marriages for her siblings to those in higher positions, therefore securing her position as queen. She was a loving, yet ruthless and bitter woman. She held lifelong grudges, and she apparently was a witch who also had the Sight. The only thing I didn't find "real" in this book, was that key points in battle hinged on Elizabeth's use of witchcraft, and the resolution of said "crafting". It just didn't feel plausible that every spell, or working cast provided results. However the mystery generated with the disappearances, or death of the princes in the Tower was captivating. I know even now, that I am left wondering what actually happened to them.
All in all, Gregory deftly weaves a brilliant tale of history merged with fiction, bringing the characters, and era to life with just a few words. A plausible explanation of the mystery surrounding the princes in the Tower, and a tale of Houses divided, which will resonate with readers for some time. An excellent start to the Wars of the Roses.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars An Extraordinary Woman Cast in an Ordinary Novel, May 25 2010
By 
Ian Gordon Malcomson (Victoria, BC) - See all my reviews
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Ce commentaire est de: The White Queen: A Novel (Paperback)
In 1464, the widow Elizabeth Woodville, the enchanting daughter of the Earl Rivers, was secretly married to Edward of York shortly after he usurped the English throne. Elizabeth is one of those major historical characters who has acquired a certain legendary stature over the centuries for how she, with the help of her immediate family, helped alter the course of history. While the important details of this love affair and subsequent reign of Elizabeth as England's Queen during the conluding years of the War of the Roses are well known, the popular novelist Philippa Gregory offers her version of the story in a fast-paced historical fiction called "The White Queen". The title is a reference to the white rose that represented the House of York. Though Gregory is careful to allow her novel to be driven by the key events of Elizabeth's life, she limits her normally great literary imagination to unlock the mythical powers that Elizabeth supposedly had at her command. As a result, the novel came across as a flat, one-dimensional study where everything of any significance is strictly seen through the eyes of Elizabeth as she was caught up the political intrigue and volatility of the time. The rapid speed at which things happen seems to allow little opportunity to understand how relationships possibly form between the likes of Elizabeth, Edward, and their many offspring. Her beauty, sexuality, charm, incredible courage, and fierce loyalty are all qualities unfortunately left undeveloped in this historical romance. After all, most histories I've read about Elizabeth show her as one of the most loving, endearing personalities to ever become queen, but you wouldn't know it from reading Gregory's rendition. What we get, instead, is a steady diet of Elizabeth's maternal instincts and frettings that reflect a woman totally obsessed with protecting the legacy of her little ones. The one redeeming aspect of this book is that it remains true to the historical record. Gregory takes some time to develop the Melusina myth which might, according to the superstitions of the period, help explain Elizabeth's popular appeal and her equally great threat to the enemies of the York. However, Gregory could have done so much more with this idea if she had taken the time to work it into the plot as part of the ongoing efforts of her enemies to discredit her. Alas, the legend becomes another incidental in a storyline that never quite realizes its full potential in defining the real nature of this very remarkable woman. I am reluctant to recommend this particular work of Gregory's because she has written infinitely better stuff like "The Other Boleyn Girl". Here she seems to be better able to make the main characters more fulfilling and the times more exhilarating. Overall, a disappointing read.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Ehh...I think I'm done with PG, April 21 2010
Ce commentaire est de: The White Queen: A Novel (Paperback)
I'm sure most people who are interested in buying this, would have at least encountered PG's "The Other Boleyn Girl", or to be honest, any of her earlier works regarding the Tudors. They are what ultimately interested me in her writing, and with her newest book about the dynasty before the Tudors, well, it should be a wonderful experience.

The time period, as PG describes it in an interview, is that the poeple are "more complicated, more wicked, and more passionate" (straight from her interview that can be found on amazon.com on the product page), but when I read the book, I nearly fell asleep from the bland descriptions of Elizabeth Woodville's account! And she's suppose to be a really fascinating queen--she was the first commoner to have been elevated as Queen of England, during a turbulent time known as the War of the Roses (and its aftermath)

Unfortunately, PG just goes on and on about spells, the ancestors of the Woodville family (some water goddess or another...personally, it made no difference to me), and how Elizabeth just keeps schemeing for her family just because. Like I understand that PG is trying to portray her characters' in a sympathetic light (and because it's from Elizabeth Woodville's POV), but still...it seems so bland! And there is little conviction to convince the reader that any of the things that they're doing are for their own good, except for the fact that Elizabeth said so.

Yeah...that makes great fiction.

Other characters in the book also fail to spring to life, as they all repeat similiar lines. Edward the King just pretty must says how awesome he is, and that he'll not let go Elizabeth, Anthony is just saying something for the heck of being wise, and well, I'm sure there were many more. But its like everyone's casted into a mould, or they just don't have anything interesting to say.

Mark my words though, its not a terrible book. I did manage to read through the whole thing without falling asleep halfway, but if anyone is looking for the spark of life in PG's earlier books, they're better off re-reading their old favourites as oppose to embracing this new installment.

If you are interested in the time period though, I would recommend the awesome, almost everyone else read it and loves it: Sunne in Splendor by Sharon Kay Penman.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars Not impressed, April 13 2010
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Ce commentaire est de: The White Queen: A Novel (Hardcover)
I did not really enjoy this book I found the prose a little stilted and the constant use of magic to obtain the results Elizabeth and her mother wanted rather silly. Apparently the Thames river also had messages for Elizabeth and her family telling them of deaths. The Rivers' family is apparently decended from a river goddess! They would have been accused of witchcraft and probably killed. The reference to Richard, Duke of Gloucester showing his arm and saying it was withered by magic is straight out of Shakespeare, also as Buckingham is routed, the quote "So much for Buckingham" is also from Shakespear's Richard III. Close to the end Richard visits Elizabeth in sanctuary and tells her that his right arm is weak and he can barely wield his sword - a portent to the Battle of Bosworth, extremely silly as by all accounts Richard went down fighting "manfully to the end". Better to read The Sunne in Splendour by Sharon Penman a wonderful book that takes you to another world.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars An absorbing read, Oct. 2 2009
Achat vérifié(Quest-ce que cest?)
Ce commentaire est de: The White Queen: A Novel (Hardcover)
Another absorbing historical novel by the Philippa Gregory dealing with the monarchy in Tudor times. What I particularly like about Gregory's novels is that she fleshes out historical facts with believable characters, their motivations and ambitions, in a richly detailed socio-political context. The White Queen continues in this tradition and is a real page-turner.
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4.0 out of 5 stars Intriguing and Intuitive, Nov. 3 2014
What you're in for: A widow. A young king. Magic. Love. War. Power. Traitors. Side-switching.

My Thoughts:
Good author. I read The Other Boleyn Girl years ago and instantly became a fan of Philippa Gregory. She is a very good storyteller. She does a great job of turning pieces of history (in this case, partially unknown) into a captivating novel.

I found the story intriguing and I was interested in learning more. I am not a history buff by any means, so it's interesting to learn parts of history while enjoying a novel that is part fiction at the same time. The author portrayed the characters well and was very intuitive as to what may or may not have actually happened. It very well could have gone down this way!

I am not a huge fan of historical fiction. I'm not sure why, as I do find it very interesting. But, I just don't find myself as captivated by historical fiction novels as I do other genres. Having said that, I do plan on reading more from this author. She is worth it to me.
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The White Queen: A Novel
The White Queen: A Novel by Philippa Gregory (Paperback - April 6 2010)
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