Review by Alyssa
*This audio book was received for review by Simon & Schuster Audio
July 2013 by Simon & Schuster Audio
Amazon + Good Reads
"The fifth novel in The Cousins' War series tells the story of Elizabeth, daughter of Elizabeth Woodville, The White Queen.The haunting story of the mother of the Tudors, Elizabeth of York, wife to Henry VII.
Beautiful eldest daughter of Edward IV and Elizabeth Woodville - the White Queen - the young princess Elizabeth faces a conflict of loyalties between the red rose and the white. Forced into marriage with Henry VII, she must reconcile her slowly growing love for him with her loyalty to the House of York, and choose between her mother's rebellion and her husband's tyranny. Then she has to meet the Pretender, whose claim denies the House of Tudor itself."
As a general rule, I really do enjoy Philippa Gregory's writing. I am a sucker for historical fiction... and especially when the historical fiction centers around Tudor England or the era that preceded the Tudor rule (namely, the Cousins War). However, one problem that I typically encounter with Gregory's writing is that it runs dry about half way through her books... and her books are usually around 500 pages (15 CDs? Hello?!) and that can cause some serious problems. So when I received The White Princess as an audio book - I was initially concerned but ended up being very pleasantly surprised.
I have never listened to an audio book before so the entire process and experience was totally new to me. I couldn't help chuckling the first few times that the reader, Bianca Amato, did a male voice but found that I became totally engrossed by the story. I came to the point that I couldn't wait to make longer car trips so that I could hear more of Elizabeth's story. By the way, Amato did a fantastic job. I found that listening to the book, rather than reading it, kept me from becoming trapped in the slower points of the story and kept me riveted the entire time. I truly think that listening to Gregory's books is the better option for me.
It's hard for me to actually comment on the story itself. If you read the synopsis (or if you didn't), you'll know that The White Princess follows the story of Elizabeth, wife of Henry VII, mother of Henry VIII, and the last true York princess. Gregory takes the facts of Elizabeth's life and embellishes in a way that is historically accurate for the time period, as well as honorable and respectful of the historical figures that she has chosen to focus on. Was Elizabeth's story interesting? Absolutely. This woman endured so much and found the will to keep moving forward. Her brothers were the missing boys from the Tower of London and heck, she was the mother of Henry VIII. I do think that this is one of the better books out of The Cousins War series.
I think that if you're a fan of historical fiction -especially English historical fiction- you would enjoy this story. If you're like me and get overwhelmed by the who's who of historical fiction, do what I did and take sometime to do a quick Wikipedia scan and get a general timeline and family tree down. I found that it helped me tremendously. And I definitely would recommend checking out the audio book - I enjoyed it, immensely.
What are your favorite historical fiction books? Let me know, I'm always on the prowl for more.