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"The White Queen" by Philippa Gregory

The White Queen - Philippa Gregory

WARNING: There are very few names in this book. There are about five each of Elizabeths, Richards, Georges, Henrys, and Margarets. That's probably a slight exaggeration with some of those. But I promise there are at least six Richards. Two of the Richards are brothers, even. That's right. Elizabeth (the protagonist, not to be confused with her daughter Elizabeth or any of the other Elizabeths) names TWO of her sons Richard. That's not the author's fault, of course. She actually does a pretty good job of keeping the characters straight. But it's still confusing at times.

Overall, I very much enjoyed this book. I loved how Elizabeth (protagonist) fought for herself and her family in a world that didn't allow women much power. It was also fascinating to me to learn more about the Princes in the Tower and to read Gregory's theory on the subject.

I also thought it was realistically complex when Elizabeth first proclaims that she just wants her sons to be happy and healthy, regardless of whether or not they are princes, but then she puts them in danger because she's determined that they have their birthrights. Her daughter (also Elizabeth) sees through it and accuses her of being ambitious to a fault, but she doesn't see it in herself. Evidence of this is her statement that "The worst has already happened" when her son Edward was being held captive by his uncle. There was so much uncertainty at that point. Edward could be killed, her other sons -- who were also out of her protection -- could be killed, she and her daughters could be forced out of sanctuary and hurt or killed... But sure. The worst has already happened because your son's crown has been taken from him.

(show spoiler)