Friday, June 27, 2014

The White Queen

Men go to battle; women wage war.

Just finished reading The White Queen, the first book in authoress Philippa Gregory's take on the infamous Cousins' War, The War of the Roses, a bloody battle between two rival branches of the House of Plantagenets; Houses Lancaster and York (the red rose the former, the white the latter).

Gregory's story follows that of one of England's most controvesial Queens, Elizabeth Woodville, through whom will begin Kings and Queens of the most famous royal line, The Tudors.

Elizabeth Woodville is also the mother of the famous Princes in the Tower, her two sons by the beloved York King Edward IV, as well as Queen Elizabeth who marries Henry Tudor (Henry VII) and is grandmother to historical England's greatest queen, Elizabeth I.

You would think that with so rich a historical basis that Gregory would build herself an enchating world of drama and political intrigue. In this instance, Gregory fails the Yorks. The first half of the book is woefully banal, even more disheartening as the two most interesting characters, Jaquetta Rivers (mother of EW who was tried and executed on charges of witchcraft) and the Earl of Warwick (widely known as the "Kingmaker") is featured heavily in it.

The second half picks up in pace which makes it a better read but one cannot help but grow bitter at the self-aggrandizing and ambition of the beautiful but prickly Elizabeth Woodville.

One can only hope that the next 4 books aren't as dull and lackluster as this one.