The White Queen – Philippa Gregory

This book has nothing to do with my upcoming study module but I’m enjoying writing these reviews. We’re going to discuss the book on our radio book club this evening so I thought I’d type some notes up.

The White Queen is first in a series of four written from a female perspective of the War of the Roses. This first one being told by Elizabeth, a young Lancastrian widow who meets the new young York King Edward. Originally planning to ask for the return of lands lost with the change of power she ends up with those and more as she secretly marries Edward and becomes Queen.

There follows the start of her life as a royal along with her family and their children told over a period of about 25 years.

The short chapters help whiz the story along and make the passage of time fly by. And there is never a dull moment. For the reader, sometimes it’s hard to keep track of all the parties especially as they often switch sides several times. I wonder how the common folk of the time kept up?? This was before internet, before even newspapers. Even Elizabeth herself has to wait weeks for letters just to tell her if she is still the queen! I imagine the general public just got on with their lives and left the royals to it. It’s fun to imagine how Elizabeth would take to internet and being followed by paparazzi of the 21st century. I rather imagine she would love it.

So much has been written about the battles during the War of the Roses it’s nice to see a female perspective. Although my 21st century ways find it hard to digest the gentry only being allowed to marry for duty. To marry for love was considered a sin or a scandal. Both Elizabeth and her mother did this and it’s one of the reasons behind her rivals dislike for her. This theme is re-visited in more detail in the follow up The Red Queen about arch nemesis Margaret Beaufort which I’m reading at the minute.

There is so much that could be said of the book. It’s popularity has led to a TV series on the BBC. I’m enjoying the second book just as much and hope to review it shortly.

Our book club is held monthly and can be found on the South Leeds Community Radio station (link below). There’s the option to listen again and catch up on previous shows (not many, we’re only a new group). Please visit us and help support us.

South Leeds Community Radio


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