24 Jul 2015

THE WHITE PRINCESS (COUSINS WAR #5).

Book five and the penultimate book read for this years What's In A Name? challenge: 'Book with a colour in the title' category.

THE WHITE PRINCESS by PHILIPPA GREGORY.

SOURCE: A Christmas present.

INNER FRONT COVER BLURB: Somewhere beyond the shores of England, a Pretender is mustering an army. He claims to be brother to the queen, and the true heir to the throne. But is he the lost boy sent into the unknown by his mother, the White Queen? Or a counterfeit prince - a low-born enemy to Henry Tudor and his York princess wife.

When Henry Tudor picked up the crown of England from the mud of Bosworth Field he knew he would have to marry the princess of the rival house - Elizabeth of York - in an effort to unify a country divided by war for nearly two decades.

But his bride was still in love with his enemy - and her mother and half of England still dreamed of a missing heir and a triumphant return for the House of York.

The new Queen Elizabeth has to decide if she can stand by a king whose support and courage are crumbling before her eyes. She has to choose between Tudor and York, between her new husband and the boy who claims to be her beloved lost brother: the rose of York come home at last.

FIRST SENTENCE {Sheriff Hutton Castle, Yorkshire, Autumn 1485}: I wish I could stop dreaming.

MEMORABLE MOMENT {Page 123}: As they come down the curve of the stair I see first the booted feet of the leading man, then his deep scarlet leggings and then his bright scarlet tunic trimmed and quartered with gold lace: the uniform of the yeomen of the guard, Henry's newly created personal troop. Behind him comes another, and another; they have sent a corps of ten men to collect a pale and shaking little boy of eleven.0

MY THOUGHTS: An odd series in so much as to read it in the order of publication* is to read it in a different order to the chronological order. I personally felt that to read the story in chronological order would be easiest to follow.

The latest instalment in the Cousins War saga, The White Princess as told from the perspective of Elizabeth of York (daughter of Edward IV and Elizabeth Woodville aka The White Queen) follows on from where The Kingmaker's Daughter left off.

As I've come to expect from Philippa Gregory a generally well researched novel though as she admits in her author notes the book is a 'fiction about a mystery - so two steps from any historically recorded fact'.

Given that two of the main female characters - Elizabeth Woodville and Margaret Beaufort (aka The Red Queen) - have featured before (the former in 2009, the latter in 2010) whilst it was good to see them further fleshed out I feel as if a re-read of their stories might have proved beneficial.

Still, an enjoyable enough read but perhaps not quite as strong a story as the previous books in the series. A tad too long - at times it really felt as if two dozen words where used when a dozen would have sufficed - with a tendency to be repetitive. I feel as if the author went over the top in striving to get across certain aspects of the story - aspects generally involving Henry, his anxieties, his suspicions, his seemingly all consuming paranoia.

An author readers seem to love or hate/can take or leave. What can I say? A long-standing fan of her work I'm eagerly anticipating reading The King's Curse (my choice for the 'Book with an ING in the title' category of What's In A Name? 2015) and what I'm led to believe will be the seventh book in the series (The Last Rose).


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* Publication order (Chronological order in brackets)
#1 The White Queen (#3)
#2 The Red Queen (#2)
#3 The Lady Of The Rivers (#1)
#4 The Kingmaker's Daughter (#4)
#5 The White Princess (#5)
#6 The King's Curse (#6)


12 comments:

Suko said...

Tracy, thank you for sharing your thoughts about this book. It sounds like an excellent novel overall.

Kelly said...

Good to hear your thought on this one. As you know, I've only read the first (for my book club) and have considered continuing on with the series. The order in which she wrote them almost makes you wonder if she didn't have a clear plan when setting out as to what all she wanted to include in the series. While I enjoyed The White Queen, I've heard others say they preferred her Tudor series to this one.

Mary (Bookfan) said...

Someday I'll get around to reading this author. Thanks for sharing your thoughts. I wonder, with series such as this, if it's good to read in rapid succession. Maybe it would be too much? Although, continuity of characters might be easier.

Melissa (Books and Things) said...

I've wanted to read this author and have her on my must read author list, but I just haven't picked up a book by her. I guess it is because it is so overhyped. I'm glad you enjoyed it even if it wasn't as strong. Hm... might have to pick her up sooner than later.

Melliane said...

I heard grea tthings about this author but I'm not sure I did try a book before so I should do that with book 1!

Brian Joseph said...

Great review Tracy.

These books sound very good.

These day it does seem very popular for books in series to jump around in time.

I do not mind if an author takes liberties with history as long as it is clear that the work is fiction.

So many books, so little time said...

Good to hear your thoughts I have the red queen and the white queen on my tbr, maybe get all of them before picking them up though.

Lainy http://www.alwaysreading.net

Natasha Hill said...

I've never read a Philippa Gregory book but I really need to as my friend always recommends them to me - great review, as always Tracy! - Tasha

Literary Feline said...

I've only read one of her books and thought it was okay. I haven't tried anything else by her, although some of her stories do appeal to me--so there's hope.:-) I am glad you liked this one, Tracy!

Gina R said...

Too historical for my tastes but you have to admit her covers are always wonderful. Thanks for the share!

Bo said...

I tried to watch The White Queen on Starz. I really did. I finally ordered Starz last summer so I could watch Outlander. Unfortunately, The White Queen was already underway and far into the series, it might have actually been season 2. I was lost and never went back to try to watch it from the beginning.

Tracy Terry said...

Not a series I liked Bo but then it isn't very often that I do like these adaptations.