The White Princess is the fifth instalment of Philippa Gregory’s The Cousin’s War series. This latest novel revolves around Elizabeth of York, wife to Henry VII and daughter of the White Queen.
This story picks up where The White Queen left off. Elizabeth of York, born a princess, must face dreadful circumstances. Although she is betrothed to Henry Tudor, known then as a pretender to the throne, she had been in love with Richard III and intended to marry him instead. However, at the battle of Bosworth, Richard III was surprisingly defeated by Henry Tudor. Now Elizabeth must marry the man responsible for the death of her lover, and her family’s rival to the throne. She struggles as a member and pawn to this new royal family.
As her new family grows, she also struggles with her loyalty: does it lie with the house of York, or this new Lancastrian house of Tudor? This particular struggle is ever-increasing as the Tudor’s hold on the throne becomes progressively unstable. Henry begins to fear traitors at every turn. He turns to Elizabeth for advice, but simultaneously suspects her, as he knows her loyalties are divided.
Henry’s greatest fears are realized when a boy who claims to be the lost Prince Richard of York rises and seeks to invade England. Elizabeth must choose between recognizing the boy as the brother she loved, or remaining loyal to the husband and family she is coming to love.
I really enjoyed this book. I find the mystery that surrounds the Princes of York incredibly interesting. I’m a fan of Philippa Gregory, and find that she brings history to life. I love her books and this one was no exception! It has become one of my favourites. Although this particular story is based on mystery, and we may never know what really happened, I find Gregory’s version of events quite compelling. If not entirely accurate (which it is impossible with this subject), it certainly makes for a great story. Gregory’s stance on the mystery supports theories of Tudor conspiracy. I haven’t read any academic texts on the matter, but I like Gregory’s take on Perkin Warbeck! It makes a lot of sense (to me anyway!), and made a really interesting, and gripping story. I LOVED this book and would recommend it to those who enjoy historical fiction. But, you should read The White Queen first.
Beth is the founder and editor of Fuelled by Fiction. She is a twenty-something east coast Canadian girl who loves writing about books and feminism.