24 Following

Of Letters and of Sciences

Welcome! This is a blog about literature and books that are critical to any social discourse: literary, cultural, racial, gender-based. A blog for humanists, scholars, the curious, and thinkers and thinkeresses.

The White Princess - Philippa Gregory

Bowled over.

Possibly one of the best books in The Cousins' War series, and, ironically, it was the only one I initially had very little interest in.

It ends everything; it brings everything together; the sisters of the Kingmaker's Daughter; echoes of the mysticism of The Lady of the Rivers; the history of The White Queen and The Red Queen; the crucial understanding of the transfer of power. And even the setting up of the plot for The Constant Princess and of the personalities of the Tudors that Philippa later explores in her works on Henry VIII.


How difficult and complex, indeed, it must have been for Elizabeth of York; born a princess of York; married to the "usurper" Tudor who defeated her uncle at Bosworth Field.


Creating a new dynasty that is both terrified of how to wield its new power and is spiteful of the old York influence and charm must have been a gargantuan political task---and Elizabeth of York takes personal targeting in this book for her house, her blood, and her allegiances.


And we see those allegiances evolve---as she goes from York princess to mother of Tudor royalty. She begins a new life, and she has children she loves.


When the time comes (though it pervades the book), which is she: York or Tudor?

Whom does she love more: her Tudor children or her York brother?


Would she see someone who claims to be her dead brother overthrow her husband and her childrens' inheritance in order to claim back the throne for the family into which she was born?


Or would she rather stand with the new faction to which she forcibly belongs and has learned to live in; the one that defines her beloved children?


Where are her allegiances?


Philippa Gregory does an astounding job---putting a human face on the very political machinations of crossed allegiances, confused identity, and transfers of dynastic power.

This is superb.


AND, for the record, I think her use of mysticism in the way certain dynasties are prophesied to be cursed depending on their involvement in the murder of the princes in the tower is brilliant.