Tuesday, December 17, 2013

Elizabeth of York - The White Princess

Elizabeth of York, the renowned beauty whose marriage united a kingdom!
Her reddish-golden hair and fair complexion was passed on to her descendants within the Tudor dynasty. 


Elizabeth York
(Holding the symbol of her House, the white rose of York)
Elizabeth of York, was the daughter, sister, neice, wife, and grandmother of English Kings. The War of the Roses, a longstanding war between the House of Lancaster whose symbol was the red rose and the House of York with the white rose had been raging for decades. When Henry VII Tudor defeated the last Yorkist King Richard III, he married Elizabeth to bring an end to the feuding and finally unite the two houses.

The story of her life is depicted in Philippa Gregory's latest novel, The White Princess. 


Back Cover Blurb

Caught between loyalties, 
the mother of the Tudors must choose between the red rose and the white.

Philippa Gregory, #1 New York Times best­selling author and “the queen of royal fiction” (USA Today), presents the latest Cousins’ War novel, the remarkable story of Elizabeth of York, daughter of the White Queen. When Henry Tudor picks up the crown of England from the mud of Bosworth field, he knows he must marry the princess of the enemy house—Elizabeth of York—to unify a country divided by war for nearly two decades. But his bride is still in love with his slain enemy, Richard III—and her mother and half of England dream of a missing heir, sent into the unknown by the White Queen. While the new monarchy can win power, it cannot win hearts in an England that plots for the triumphant return of the House of York. Henry’s greatest fear is that somewhere a prince is waiting to invade and reclaim the throne. When a young man who would be king leads his army and invades England, Elizabeth has to choose between the new husband she is coming to love and the boy who claims to be her beloved lost brother: the rose of York come home at last.

Book Review

Through the books of Philippa Gregory, I have learned much about the royal women of England. In the biographical novel, The White Princess, the author writes about the tumultuous life of Elizabeth of York whose marriage was arranged to bring peace to the Lancaster and York dynastic houses, ending the War of the Roses.

When reading this novel, Philippa Gregory lets the readers know that it is her interpretation of history, a fictionalized account of the life of this remarkable woman. As a young woman, Elisabeth has had her share of grief, her uncle's death, and her two young brothers who mysteriously disappeared forever from the Tower of London. When Henry VII Tudor takes the crown of England from the reigning York king, he marries Elizabeth to unite the two families. She is a young woman, the daughter of a king, well prepared for the duties of a queen. Confident, savvy, and a woman who knows when to speak and when to maintain her silence, she is thrust into a world that will truly test her loyalties. Straddling both Houses, she is forced to walk a thin line, taking care to maintain her neutrality and not to offend either family. Her world becomes filled with suspicion and struggle as her husband never feels confident in his reign and as he is forced to put down rebellious plots. 

I loved the first person, present tense voice of the character, Elizabeth. It makes the story more vivid and allows the reader to get a better understanding of the heroine's inner thoughts and emotions. There were plenty of interesting characters along the way, but not too many that the reader had trouble recalling. This is very much the story of a young woman caught in an extremely difficult role as wife, mother, and queen who had the wisdom to endure despite the treachery that surrounded her. The book is suspenseful, insightful, and definitely entertaining - a wonderful way to learn about English history.

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