Brother turns on brother. The throne of England is at stake. The deadly Wars of the Roses have begun....
They ruled England before the Tudors, and now internationally best-selling author Philippa Gregory brings the Plantagenets to life through the dramatic and intimate stories of the secret players: the indomitable women.
Elizabeth Woodville, a woman of extraordinary beauty and ambition, secretly marries the newly crowned boy king of England. While she rises to the demands of her exalted position and fights for the success of her family, her two sons become the central figures in a famous unsolved mystery that has confounded historians for centuries: the lost princes in the Tower of London.
Philippa Gregory brings the artistry and intellect of a master writer and storyteller to a new era in history and begins what is sure to be another best-selling classic series.
©2009 Philippa Gregory (P)2011 Simon & Schuster
"It would be hard to make history more entertaining, lively or engaging." (Sunday Express)
"Queen of the historical novel." (Mail on Sunday)
"Gregory brings to life the sights, smells and textures of 16th-century England." (Financial Times)
Short, Simple, No Spoilers
Elizabeth Woodville a strong, ambitious commoner marries Plantagent King Edward for love. The York family featured in this book is part of Gregory’s “Cousins War” series exploring the War of the Roses from different sides. This was my first book in the series and while I enjoyed learning a little history while being entertained, I won’t read any of the others immediately; maybe at a later date. All Philippa Gregory books I’ve read are interesting, a little fact mixed with fiction, drama, intrigue, and love interests blended in a standard formula. You can enjoy and multitask simultaneously. Narrator delivers a solid performance with strong voice for Elizabeth and moves seamlessly between other characters.
Starz miniseries “The White Queen” airs in August exploring the stories of Elizabeth, Margaret Beaufort, and Anne Neville. Listening has given me enough background to prep and hopefully enjoy the new series. Reports thus far give the drama good marks and name Rebecca Ferguson as a possible breakout star. This book was worth my credit.
"A reader lives a thousand lives before he dies. The man who never reads lives only one." - Jojen Reed. #ADanceWithDragons
No line in any Phillipa Gregory novel rang more true to the very idea of what any of her books have been about than this one: "Your ambition will be your curse..." This was a line that comes later in the book and is uttered by one Elizabeth of York. I must say I thoroughly enjoyed this book and I do believe that any fan of Phillipa Gregory would enjoy it.
This book did take a number of liberties in the storyline if you ask me with the inclusion of a fair amount of mysticism and superstition. In fact at the end of the book Phillipa Gregory warns us herself that due to the very time in which the novel took place and the scarcity of some facts she did assume quite a bit where some things were concerned. With all that being said though and with me being a bit of a fan of fantasy literature as well, the addition was welcomed. It also was done in such a good way that even though it is noticeable it is not an overpowering aspect in the story.
Typical fans of Phillipa Gregory can expect the same combination of treachery, back dealing, plotting, romanticism, historical facts and above all else excellent writing. The best thing and the most appreciative thing about Phillipa Gregory works is the strong writing which makes the novel flow. You follow Elizabeth Woodville's rise to power, subsequent fall from grace and her constant plotting throughout the book. The book is set in a time where everyone and their uncle with a speck of royal blood (literally) are plotting a way to ascend the throne of England. The battle between the Yorkist brothers and also the introduction of the Tudors comes apparent in this book as well.
Excellent book and it leaves you wanting to continue to the next one. If you are into no so historical, tipped with some but not overbearing romance, a little bit of mysticism topped off with really awesome narrative and writing in general.... you'll love this book.
Apologies in advance for spelling errors in this review. Ms. Gregory dips her toes into the Plantagenant waters as she explores the Wars of the Roses through the eyes of Elizabeth Woodville, wife of the York King Edward of England. This book is an easy listen with the narrator's voice drawing one into the story and making the listener like Queen Elizabeth as a person and view her as a mother to her many children. Elizabeth is probably best known as the mother to the two princes who were killed in the Tower by their uncle, Richard, Duke of York, King of England, who would (eventually) lose his throne to Henry Tudor. But as is the case with most of Ms. Gregory's stories, this novel is told through the day-to-day happenings of the women in the story.
I found myself unable to turn off my iPod while listening to this book. The story was well-written, the action of the story (which takes place through Elizabeth's eyes) was well-researched and the characters were likable. It's a good "summer read" or, in my case, nice to snuggle up and listen to while knitting. The novel is not complex, but it was well worth listening to.
In general I love historical fiction. I love well written biographies. I was hoping for something of both in this. It started with possibility but quickly degenerated into a list of events, with very small personal scenes thrown in at random. Well written historical fiction makes you care about the characters, makes you feel like you are there (the smells, the textures). This book has none of that depth or interest. I made it about half way through and decided it wasn't worth the time to complete. The narration was well done, I would be willing to listen to her again. But I've taken Philippa Gregory off my wish list. And I was so hopeful.
Phillippa Gregory did extensive research for her biography of the White Queen, Elizabeth Woodville, a commoner who married a king. She was the granddaughter of the mythical water goddess Mellucinna, and daughter of Jacquetta, lady in waiting to the great Margaret Beaufort. This was a wonderful book, an extensive telling of an obscure but pivotal chapter in English history.
Of course. The performance and story.
The wonderfull blending of historical facts and an informed story line to fill in the balance.
Everything. She made me feel as though I was standing next to the characters as the story unfolded.
Queen Elizabeth Woodville. For her beauty and bravery.
Melusina. Just because.
I have read three others of Ms. Philippa Gregory and all are excellent.
Oh, I have just purchased two others.
The history and characters were interesting.
The pacing could be better and the characters more rounded.
I don't think I would have finished the paper edition because of the pacing.
Maybe but I would rather see a documentary.
I listened to The White Queen to fill a void in my understanding of the War of the Roses and because the audio version was on sale for $5 at Audible. To that end, the novel did a decent job although I still would like to find a good history of the era. While Philippa Gregory did a better job of rounding out characters than I remember she did in The Other Boleyn Girl, the novel is very much one-sided. I don't recall any racy scenes which for some is an improvement but may disappoint others. The story mostly held my interest but after about the first third or half, I checked out the historical time line because the action was dragging. The ending was not all that satisfactory because it felt too abrupt. I am not a historian so I am on the fence regarding Elizabeth Woodville being too modern.The circumstances she faced may well have made her appear ahistorical because she needed to be. There is a scene involving a solar eclipse to which she added the detail of the horses lumbering up and down because they could not figure out if it was night or day. Most horses sleep standing up, so that just seemed wrong. I have not made up my mind about reading the other books in The Cousins War Series. I can say I am better disposed of her writing than after reading The Other Boleyn Girl. The narrator did fine job.
I offer a qualified recommendation for people with an interest in the War of the Roses and historical women. Not a bad book but I am more interested in reading an actual history or something by Sharon Kay Penman. In the meantime, I have started Daughter of Time again and purchased Thomas Penn's The Winter King.
(Note - I wish I had a pointer to the review but one other reason I listened to this book was because I read a review by someone working on a masters or PhD who didn't appear all offend about historical gaffs).
I picked this book on a lark, as I am interested in historical fction and the performance was highly rated. I was not disappointed. Susan Lyon's deft narration was perfectly suited. Anyone other may not have been able to pull off the emotional range and nuances, as well as mystical Mellusina interwoven throughout the story. I notice several of the reviews are critical of Gregory's treatment of history and incorporation of mysticism, which I believe is nonsense. This is work of historical fiction, not any attempt to illuminate or expound on the War of the Roses. Naturally one knows how the story plays out ... in this regard it is Gregory's abililty to give life to the main characters relative to what is known, and present plausible storylines around what is not known, which makes for an interesting, engaging story.
Beginning of the book starts out very intriguing.....middle gets a little redundant but end leaves you wanting more...
This is exceedingly lightweight.
The historical research cannot of consisted of much more than a quick glance at Wikipedia. One can certainly learn more by spending 10 minutes reading Wikipedia.
It rambles on in the present tense with Elizabeth Woodville's rather 20th century outlook (apart from a belief she can see into the future and cast spells), occasionally reminding us we are supposed to be in the 15th century by a reference to an event or the rushes on the floor.
The last third may be better - This is one of the handful of books I gave-up before the end.
Don't waste your money or credits.
"Stick with it!"
At first I found the style of this book irritating but then became hooked on it. It is more lyrical than your average historical novel. Initially I felt the repetition of details, of who people were etc was annoying - as though I couldn't remember for myself - but then got into the way of it and realised it was a style of writing - perhaps mimicking the oral narrative of the times. The intrigues and plotting become compelling as the story unfolds and your sympathies are tested as the main character fights for power when you feel she should really run. A great insight into the times. The mesmeric voice of the narrator becomes addictive. A very different experience!
This is not the best Philippa Gregory story but not the worst either. I'm a fan of historical novels & enjoyed listening to it, and I'm interested to learn more about the War of the Roses. The thing that spoilt the story for me was the narration. I found the reader's voice languid & expressionless - at times to the point of monotony. It may appeal to others so I would definitely suggest listening to the whole of the sample.
Both a good story and well narrated. My first Philippa Gregory book and I can't wait to get tucked into the next one.
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