Elizabeth Woodville is a widow who attracts the attention of Edward, the recently crowned King of England. Edward marries Elizabeth in secret. When the secret is revealed, Elizabeth ascends into royalty. She uses her power to put her relatives in high positions. Before long, Elizabeth gives birth to several daughters. However, her family will only remain on the court if she gives birth to a male heir. Then, Elizabeth becomes pregnant again, and this time, it’s a son! After that son, she gives birth to another boy. Suddenly, England is caught in another war, and both her sons are kidnapped!
Before I read The White Queen, I had never even heard of the Plantagenets. As you can imagine, my knowledge of world history is rather limited. Anyway, I read The White Queen with an open mind, and I had no idea if Gregory remained historically accurate or not. After I finished reading the novel, I wikipedia’d and learned exactly what was fact and what was fiction. Did my lack of knowledge about the Plantagenets affect my likes for this novel? I don’t think they did. When I learned the actual history, I realized that the changes Gregory made felt necessary. Of course, if you like your historical fiction to be accurate, then this may not be the book for you.
I enjoyed reading The White Queen. Elizabeth Woodville is a great protagonist. I can definitely see why Gregory would write a novel about her. Readers will enjoy her rags-to-riches story. Picking the time period with the Cousins’ War was also a smart move. This time period really gave Gregory a lot of material to work with and helped create a fascinating story. The only real complaint I had was that the story dragged around the middle. The novel became boring. Here’s an allegory: Have you ever sat in a history class where the teacher discussed something that should have been interesting like a war, but the teacher made it dull? The White Queen was like that in parts of the novel. However, the novel was definitely more interesting than boring, and I look forward to the rest of the series.
Overall, The White Queen is a fascinating story about a little known queen.