As most of you probably know by now, The White Queen is the story of Elizabeth Woodville, the oh-so-beautiful commoner who captured the heart of King Edward IV and elevated herself to the Queen of England.
Lizzy and Ed, according to Gregory, had a pretty happy marriage (despite Ed's penchant for screwing anything in a skirt) but a rocky reign. The Wars of the Roses were winding down, but rebellions were common and Ed was away a lot trying to keep his throne.
In the end, Ed met his maker and his younger brother assumed the throne as King Richard III. Ed and Lizzy's two sons, however, met an uncertain end and are known to history as the Princes in the Tower.
So how does Gregory measure up in this newest novel?
We assume you're interested in this novel because you loved Gregory's break-through novel, The Other Boleyn Girl. The cover of this newest book, as a matter of fact, still issues the proclamation: From the author of the #1 New York Times Bestseller THE OTHER BOLEYN GIRL. That the publisher still relies a five year old novel as a chief selling point should tell you something important.
The sad fact is that Gregory has never been able to recapture that same magic. The White Queen fall short.
That Gregory plays fast and loose with historical fact isn't a deep, dark secret. Many historians and respected novelists have already pointed out the myriad of glaring errors present in this work so we won't bore you with the same repetition Gregory subjected us to throughout the book (Melusine anyone?).
A painting of Melusine. If you're gonna read this book, get used to her. There are roughly 6.412 references to her in The White Queen. (Kidding. We have no idea how many references there actually are. But a lot.)
So does A Reader's Respite have anything at all good to say about this novel?
Well, yes, as a matter of fact. We have to acknowledge that Gregory's heart is in the right place. She has a soft spot for women who lived in a time where women had little, if any, control over their own lives. Gregory attempts to reveal their inner strengths and we applaud that.
Additionally, Gregory's mass-market popularity serves as an introduction to historical fiction for many readers. Granted, her history may be flawed and her research sloppy, but those readers who truly fall in love with the genre will eventually find themselves reading what long-time historical fiction fans call "the masters": Penman, Dunnett, Higginbotham, and Chadwick, amongst others.
So for that, P.G., we thank you.
Now you just knew we weren't going to keep this one taking up valuable shelf space around here.
So if you'd like to take a peek and see what her latest effort entails, leave us a comment and on October 5th, we'll draw a random winner who will receive this pristine, hard cover edition of The White Queen.
International entrants always welcome and don't forget to check back here to see if you won!