I’m starting to read more fiction. I have always loved reading but I have just always been more into history/biography (nerd at heart here). I’ve read the ‘classics’ but I always get stuck on modern fiction because, honestly, a lot of it really sucks! Or maybe I’m just really fussy, who’s to know?
I really like reading books in a series because if the first is really good, I’m guaranteed another couple of books that I’m going to like. A Song of Ice and Fire (a.k.a Game of Thrones); the Divergent trilogy; and Harry Potter are all great examples of this!
I’d read The Other Boleyn Girl by Philippa Gregory about a year ago so I thought I would enjoy The White Queen series. I used to hate historical fiction because I love history so much and the inaccuracies and ‘creative licence’ would really irritate me but I’ve grown to appreciate and even, dare I say, like it.
This series covers ‘The Cousins War’ period in English history, based around the Plantagenets, predecessors to the Tudors. I really like the Tudor England period and find it really interesting so it was nice to read something set just before all that to give some more context.
There are six books in the series, one of which hasn’t come out yet:
The White Queen – about Elizabeth Woodville, wife to Edward IV
The Red Queen – about Margaret Beaufort, mother to Henry VII
The Lady of the Rivers – about Jacquetta of Luxembourg, mother to Elizabeth Woodville
The Kingmaker’s Daughter – about Anne Neville, daughter of the Earl of Warwick (the ‘kingmaker’) and wife to Richard III
The White Princess – about Elizabeth of York, daughter to Edward IV, wife of Henry VII and mother of Henry VIII
The King’s Curse (due out in September apparently) – about Margaret Pole, niece of both Edward IV and Anne Neville
I actually started wrong way around with this series! I started with The Kingmaker’s Daughter, then read The White Queen and The White Princess and I’m now onto The Red Queen. If you can keep track of the chronology, I think it’s not really a problem to jump in and out of them like that.
I’m really enjoying this series and it’s fascinating seeing the same event from the perspective of the different characters. This is especially so for The White Queen, The Red Queen and The Kingmaker’s Daughter as they all cover roughly the same period and the women are contemporaries of each other.
Those three books were also adapted into a 10 part TV series by BBC (The White Queen).
It had a similar feel to The Tudors but I have to admit I liked The Tudors a lot more.
It’s not hard reading by any stretch but it is enjoyable and I really like seeing things from the women’s perspective – a side that is usually underrepresented in history due to lack of decent source material. There is a fair amount of creative licence taken and Philippa Gregory takes a few theories (especially about the princes in the tower) and weaves them into her story, making this series definitely on the more fictional side of historical fiction.
I’ve really enjoyed reading these books, and watching the TV show as well. I’ll be finished with The Red Queen soon, and I’ll need to track down The Lady of the Rivers to read that one as well.
After that, I’ll be on the hunt for a new book to read – any good recommendations?