I don't know what genre to place this book in. Stripped to its essence, I would have to say that this is a romance. It just happens that it takes place in the historical setting of the battle for the English throne known as the war of the roses. As such, it contains all the elements of an adventure novel as well as some aspects of a mystery. It also contains aspects of magic and witchcraft. What this book is not, and never professed to be, is a history book.
The White Queen is the story of Elizabeth Woodville, the commoner and former Lancaster supporter, who married the newly crowned Edward IV from the house of York. They married in secret, for love, and kept it quiet for a time because marriages during that time among nobles were arranged for political alliances. Told mostly in the first person from Elizabeth's point of view, the book starts in 1463 when Elizabeth first meets Edward until 1485 when Edward's brother Richard III holds the throne.
The book was meticulously researched and contains an extensive bibliography (for anyone wanting to read the history.) By using the first person, Ms Gregory is filling in the thoughts of Elizabeth as well as the behind the scenes dealings in the king's court. These are not historically accurate, nor were they ever portrayed as such. One can only guess what went on behind the scenes as no historical documents exist to tell us, and with all the backstabbing going on I am not surprised that nothing was put in writing.
Another nice touch added by the author was the introduction of magic to the story. Elizabeth's mother claimed to be descended from Melusina, the water goddess who was half woman and half fish. Melusina's legend exists in many cultures and is probably most well known as that of a mermaid. This legend is woven into the events of the war of the roses masterfully, and Elizabeth and her mother are both accused of witchcraft at one point or another. Whether to believe or not is left up to the reader.
If you enjoyed Outlander, by Diana Gabaldon as I did, then I think you will also enjoy The White Queen. They are both similar in that they are first and foremost love stories. The main difference is that there is no time travel in this book. Instead, the reader is transported to the fifteenth century and sees life through the eyes of Elizabeth Woodville.
Listening to this audiobook is like being the secret confidant to the queen. She shares her hopes, her fears, everything. It is like she is talking to the one person she trusts in the world. Meanwhile, the story itself, with its twists and turns, keeps you spellbound. The narrator has to be one of the best for the genre of a story. Her voice is elegant and engaging. You could listen to her for hours. And I did.
Top 3 books!
Awesome book, watched the series on TV too! Couldn't stop! I am going to read the rest of the series and her other books too!
These books do a great job at revealing history in the most interesting way. I know some historians love to hate on miss Gregory but she always makes sure to include a note about what was fact and what was speculation. She also includes her bibliography.
The books are well written and great to listen to. The narrator for this book was very good.
Er, with a grain of salt perhaps.... Interesting history and seemed to be written for a TV series, which I thought it worked well for. I saw the Series prior to listening to the book on tape and I have to say it's the FIRST time I enjoyed the TV series more than the book!
I'm not sure I did.... She got really into the self-pity and drama of the narrator and if I wasn't interested in the history I would have stopped listening to the book.
It is a TV series... And as a TV series the drama of the book works a little better. As a narrative it comes off a little too dramatic and whiny for me.
I almost quit listening which has never happened before, it just kept droning on and on and I never built a relationship with the characters. The narration was good, better then lots, but the story was written mostly in facts and statements rather than thoughts or feelings, I never felt the emotional turmoil of the characters, and I couldn't build a picture of the scene in my head. It was interesting, but my favorite part was the end when the author spoke of her inspiration for the story. In the end I am grateful to live in a country without kings or queens and don't have a desire to learn anymore about past English bureaucracy and the lengths they'd go for the throne.