Monday, 18 October 2010

A book a week in 2010: The White Queen by Philippa Gregory

After struggling with Wolf Hall, a friend recommended Philippa Gregory as a lighter, more fluid and engaging read.

I've started with The White Queen. It's the story of Elizabeth Woodville, a beautiful, young widow from the House of Lancaster (symbol of the red rose), who climbs her way to the very top of political and royal power by marrying King Edward IV from the House of York (the white rose).

Aided by a pushy mother, she embeds her family in the power structures of the nation. As queen she gives birth to many children, including two young princes, who will never be safe from the war of the roses.

Sounds a bit like Dallas or Dynasty, doesn't it? That pretty much sums it up.

This is a great read. You are swept up in the passion of that first moment when Elizabeth meets King Richard. And that passion never abates, despite all the dalliances that a Tudor king indulges in.

Gregory wears her erudition lightly. This is at times an intense love story; at times a visceral picture of royal rivalries in English history.

Next stop in the saga is The Red Queen. I'll keep you posted.

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