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Happy Booker

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Review; The White Princess by Philippa Gregory

The White Princess - Philippa Gregory

I love this series but this is probably my least favorite book of this series so far. I can usually count on any Philippa Gregory book to be well written and entertaining even if, as so many say, they are only loosely based on actual history. Gregory's books usually highlight all of the secrets, scandal, and struggles of the monarchy and they make me want to find out more about these fascinating and often tragic rulers. 

The White Princess focuses on the court of Henry VII and Elizabeth of York at what Henry believes is the end of the Cousin's War. For some reason, this time, I was underwhelmed by the characters. It seemed that all of the dynamic players in this saga were mostly secondary characters in The White Princess. Henry's devout and powerful mother Margaret and Elizabeth's wily and resourceful mother Elizabeth were the real forces to be reckoned with. Henry and Elizabeth were very much overshadowed their more charismatic parent and ended up sounding ineffectual and even rather pathetic. My inability to connect with or empathize with Elizabeth diminished my enjoyment of her story. 

One thing that I noticed about Gregory's characters is that, when writing about the relationships between two sisters, they seem to always be shown as extremely antagonistic with the sisters being barely cordial to one another yet still loyal to their house. I found this to be true with Anne and Mary's relationship in The Other Boleyn Girl as well as with Anne and Isabelle in The Kingmaker's Daughter and actually remarked on the similarities between the two in my review of The Kingmaker's Daughter. I was a little disappointed to see this same theme repeated in The White Princess. 

Overall, The White Princess is good, it's not great, and definitely not what I was expecting. My friend who is a huge fan of The Cousins War series and has been dying to read this newest book even said that each time she begins reading The White Princess, she ends up falling asleep. I'm hoping the next book (will there be another in this series?) will be much stronger and more what I've come to expect from Gregory.