The White Queen by Philippa Gregory
(Cousins' War, Book 1)

75%

27 Critic Reviews

...it has everything the aficionada of the genre might desire: colourful characters created by a knowledgeable historian, page-turning action, clear designations of heroes and villains, and lots of rich detail.
-Globe and Mail

Synopsis

The inspiration for the critically acclaimed Starz miniseries The White Queen, #1 New York Times bestselling author Philippa Gregory brings to life the extraordinary story of Elizabeth Woodville, a woman who rises from obscurity to become Queen of England, and changes the course of history forever.

Elizabeth Woodville is a woman of extraordinary beauty and ambition. Her mother is Jacquetta, also known as the mystical lady of the rivers, and she is even more determined to bring power and wealth to the family line. While riding in the woods one day, Elizabeth captures the attentions of the newly crowned King Edward IV and, despite her common upbringing, marries him in secret.

When she is raised up to be his queen, the English court is outraged, but Elizabeth rises to the demands of her exalted position and fights for her family’s dominance. Yet despite her best efforts, and even with the help of her mother’s powers, her two sons become pawns in a famous unsolved mystery that has confounded historians for centuries: the lost princes in the Tower of London.

In this dazzling account of the deadly Wars of the Roses, brother turns on brother to win the ultimate prize: the throne of England.
 

About Philippa Gregory

See more books from this Author
Philippa Gregory is the author of several bestselling novels, including The Other Boleyn Girl, and is a recognized authority on women’s history. She studied history at the University of Sussex and received a PhD from the University of Edinburgh. She welcomes visitors to her website, PhilippaGregory.com.
 
Published August 12, 2009 by Touchstone. 436 pages
Genres: History, Romance, Literature & Fiction. Fiction
Bestseller Status:
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Peak Rank on Jun 14 2015
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Weeks as Bestseller
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Critic reviews for The White Queen
All: 27 | Positive: 24 | Negative: 3

Kirkus

Above average
on May 20 2010

As always Gregory fills out all the dark corners of history and creates a thrilling read, and again creates a portrait of female society that has more power...than is generally acknowledged. Yet the intimacy of Elizabeth Woodville’s story is too often overshadowed...and in Gregory’s attempt to get it all in, some depth of character is left out.

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Blog Critics

Good
Reviewed by Amanda on Aug 06 2009

The White Queen introduces readers to the Cousins' War through the eyes of Elizabeth Woodville, a long forgotten (and generally disliked) York queen of England...Gregory has proven once again that she is the queen of royal fiction with The White Queen. The novel is a perfect and compelling start to a new series...

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NY Journal of Books

Above average
Reviewed by NICOLE LANGAN on Apr 06 2010

The book is heavy in explanatory exposition and could have moved at a faster pace if it did not follow such a rigid time line. Some moments that occurred during Elizabeth’s life could have been told with a brief chapter introduction...Overall, love at first sight ends with heartbreak in the Tower.

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WSJ online

Above average
Reviewed by GEOFFREY MOORHOUSE on Aug 23 2009

...I realized that what I was reading was not so much a romantic potboiler as what used to be known as a rattling good yarn, extremely well told...High English literature it certainly isn't; nor is it merely a medieval bodice-ripper. It is something ­betwixt and between, rather like the heroine's own life.

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Examiner

Good
Reviewed by Kathrine Moser on Oct 02 2013

Gregory’s prose is romantic and seems like she is actually describing a woman’s romantic account when she falls in love with a man in the 15th century. In Gregory’s The White Queen, Elizabeth Woodville was one of the most intriguing and thought provoking queens of England.

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Examiner

Good
Reviewed by Jennifer Lafferty on Nov 06 2012

This story, centering on Elizabeth Woodville, the wife of Edward IV and the grandmother of Henry VIII, is a passionate, adventurous and captivating tale, taking place during one of the bloodiest and most riveting periods in Britain’s history...is a vivid, compelling and entertaining read.

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Examiner

Good
Reviewed by Gerianne Bartlett on Jun 19 2011

The White Queen is the first in a series of three novels called "The Cousins' War."...This novel is interesting and based on a fascinating historical figure (Elizabeth Woodville, Queen consort to Edward IV), and will be enjoyed mostly by females :) Happy reading!

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Book Reporter

Above average
Reviewed by Kathy Weissman on Jan 24 2011

I don’t mean to make THE WHITE QUEEN sound like hard historical labor. It’s not; it’s impassioned and absorbing and, despite some repetitious passages that an editor should have caught, beautifully written. You just have to get your bearings...It is as if English history was an enormous jigsaw puzzle, and Gregory is laying down the landscape...

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Globe and Mail

Excellent
Reviewed by DIANE BAKER MASON on Aug 23 2012

...it has everything the aficionada of the genre might desire: colourful characters created by a knowledgeable historian, page-turning action, clear designations of heroes and villains, and lots of rich detail.

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The Washington Post

Above average
Reviewed by Diana Gabaldon on Aug 25 2009

Most of the story is blunt, brutal and bloody, but Gregory has a deft hand with historical imagination, making the most of ancient mysteries, such as the fate of the little princes in the tower, the death of the Duke of Clarence and the enduring rumor that Elizabeth Woodville and her mother were witches.

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The Telegraph

Above average
Reviewed by Maureen Waller on Sep 14 2009

After her series about the Tudors, Philippa Gregory takes us back to the Wars of the Roses in this entrancing novel...Gregory is very good at describing the bitchiness of the women in this tale of dynastic rivalry. Even Elizabeth turns shrew.

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Pajiba

Above average
Reviewed by badkittyuno on Oct 08 2013

If you like Gregory’s other books, you’ll mostly likely enjoy this one. Elizabeth is an interesting figure, strong and levelheaded but also totally in love with her king...There’s a lot of references to mystical events and spells, which was kind of a departure from your average historical fiction...

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Pajiba

Below average
Reviewed by Pereka on Jun 08 2010

Unfortunately, Gregory decides to take the least believable route. Inspired by the whispers of witchcraft that surrounded the Woodville family (which was supposedly descended from a water goddess), Gregory portrays Elizabeth Woodville, her mother, and daughter Elizabeth (later Queen Elizabeth, wife of Henry VII) as practitioners of wizardry.

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BookPage

Good
Reviewed by Rebecca Bain on Aug 01 2009

...all the people in this important and fascinating time in British history come marvelously alive in The White Queen.

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Mysterious Reviews

Excellent
on Jul 05 2009

Philippa Gregory creates a thrilling historical adventure tale that includes a still unsolved mystery of two missing princes in The White Queen...The author crafts an intriguing and plausible story to explain what may have happened, but of course, the truth may never be known. The White Queen is an exceptional novel and is highly recommended.

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That's What She Read

Good
Reviewed by Michelle on Aug 12 2010

Overall, The White Queen is a strong beginning to an intriguing new series. Fans of Ms. Gregory will not be disappointed. Better yet, those who have not yet enjoyed one of Ms. Gregory’s stories will be drawn to the unique subject matter with its political intrigue and touching love story. The White Queen is definitely one to be enjoyed by all.

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Quick Book Reviews

Good
Reviewed by David Ben Efraim on Sep 17 2013

All in all, it seems as if Gregory was more interested in writing a novel based on the War of the Roses rather than re-telling its events, and the whole, it works quite well at retaining your attention and making you turn the pages. Unless you are looking for absolute historical accuracy, then I highly recommend you give The White Queen a try...

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All the Books I Can Read

Above average
on Jun 18 2010

There’s a lot more going on in the book than I’ve stated but I didn’t really want to give anything away. I actually enjoyed it quite a lot and was disappointed when it ended quite suddenly.

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Novelicious

Good
Reviewed by Debs Carr on Jun 21 2012

A gripping read from start to finish, with all the sex, violence and fascinating gender roles you would expect from historical fiction while at its core remains its heart - the characters, all of which are flawed, fascinating and totally human.

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Book Journey

Above average
Reviewed by Sheila on Mar 10 2012

The White Queen was all I had hoped for… not only a fascinating fictional take of the interweaving of the life and times of King Edward and Queen Elizabeth, but also Philippa’s magical touch of mixing the non fiction throughout.

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Literate Housewife

Good
Reviewed by Jennifer on Aug 18 2009

The White Queen hit just the right note for me. The story was engaging and fast paced. I liked all of the characters – most especially those who could not be trusted. Elizabeth’s family was strong and I really enjoyed the relationship she had with her mother and her brother, Anthony.

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Book Addiction

Above average
Reviewed by Heather on Mar 15 2010

The White Queen was no exception to this – I enjoyed getting to know Elizabeth while at the same time learning a bit about the War of the Roses...The White Queen was a highly entertaining historical fiction novel and is a must read for fans of Philippa Gregory. While the book was not perfect for me, I really liked it...

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She Reads Novels

Above average
Reviewed by Helen on Jan 09 2010

I would recommend The White Queen if, like me, you don’t have much knowledge of the Wars of the Roses and are looking for an enjoyable and relatively easy to understand introduction to the period. For those of you with a lot of background knowledge, I think there should still be enough new ideas to keep you interested.

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Medieval Bookworm

Good
Reviewed by Meghan on Aug 18 2009

Gregory writes well, and in general the book is absorbing even for someone who has heard it all before...In other words, I do recommend The White Queen. It is historical fiction, after all, and if you’re going to read another book that fictionalizes the Wars of the Roses, I highly suggest this one.

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Burton Book Review

Good
on Aug 03 2009

Phillippa Gregory does it again! All the possible controversial theories are utilised here in this work of The Wars of The Roses and shall be used for fodder by history enthusiasts.

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Tudor Book Reviews

Good
Reviewed by Claire on Aug 05 2009

Well, “The White Queen” ticks all of the boxes and I heartily recommend it to all those who enjoy the very best of historical fiction.

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https://planetbooks.wordpress.com

Good
on Aug 16 2009

...From the beginning, I thoroughly enjoyed Elizabeth. Her thoughts are strong and well written and her adventures from widow and mother to Queen of England and beyond held my attention.

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Reader Rating for The White Queen
78%

An aggregated and normalized score based on 1631 user ratings from iDreamBooks & iTunes


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