Book Review & Giveaway: The White Queen by Philippa Gregory

The White Queen by Philippa Gregory is a great historical tale mixing fact with fiction that tells the story of the Plantagenets who came before the Tudors in the ruling of England. I really enjoy Gregory’s books, The Other Boleyn Girl being my absolute favorite, but I have to say The White Queen is right up there with it weaving the fact in with the fiction in a most creative way.

The White Queen follows Elizabeth Woodville Grey in her rise from poverty to Queen of the Kingdom. At twenty-seven years old Elizabeth is a widow left with nothing but two young sons to raise. She decides to stand along the side of the road and try to get King Edward’s attention as he goes by. Now keeping in mind that Elizabeth is an extraordinarily beautiful woman this was not hard to do. The young King, five years younger than Elizabeth, is quite taken with her and of course tries to have her. She will have none of it, she will not be a mistress to the King. They finally marry in secret and King Edward goes to war promising her he will return.

When King Edward returns he still says their marriage must be kept secret but finally gets up the nerve to tell his advisors that he has married Elizabeth. They, of course, are infuriated. He was to marry in order to advance his Kingdom, not for love. Here in lies the story and all of the tumult that follows. King Edward battles not only his advisors but his brother because of this marriage. Worse yet are the rumors that Elizabeth comes from a family that practices magic. This doesn’t matter at this time though as Elizabeth’s family rises to power as the backing behind the King.

As always though there is scheming in the background and everyone plotting against each other. There is enough treachery and betrayal in this book to go around. The King’s brother George tries to destroy him from the beginning feeling that Edward shouldn’t be on the Throne. His brother Richard is loyal but after Edward dies he takes a route to gain the throne that doesn’t put him in the best light either. Then there is the mystery surrounding the missing Princes from the Tower. From start to finish there is enough going on to keep those pages turning late into the night as they did for me.

Then there is also the element of magic in this novel. Elizabeth comes from a line of women who descend from Melusina, a water goddess. Elizabeth, her mother and then Elizabeth’s daughter all have the Sight. They can see things in dreams or hear things coming off the water. In some instances they can cause storms or ailments to afflict someone. I did enjoy the magical element because that’s my kind of thing and it’s not an overwhelming aspect to the story as it’s more behind the scenes probably because people were beheaded in those times for being witches. I liked that Gregory added this spin on the book, it added a different flavor to the story and it also set the scene for some things that occured in the book and then in the future.

As for characters I liked the way Elizabeth was portrayed in this book. She was a strong woman who would stop at nothing to protect her family and ensure their rise to power. King Edward, although quite the womanizer, still cut an empowering figure and I liked him. Again there are things about this world back then that just horrify me like betrothing your children when they are still babies to others just to ensure alliances and secure finances. I just can’t imagine the life women had then pretty much being bargaining chips.

The White Queen is Book One in The Cousins’ War – this is to be a trilogy telling of the feuds of England known as the War of the Roses – and I can’t wait to read the next one. It’s called The Red Queen and will focus on Margaret Beaufort who was the mother of Henry VII. Be sure to pop by and visit Philippa Gregory’s wonderful website here. The White Queen releases tomorrow, August 18, but you can buy now in the US here and in Canada here. I’d like to thank Kelly Bowen with Simon and Schuster for my copy of The White Queen.


I’d like to thank Kelly with Simon and Schuster as well for offering up 2 copies of The White Queen for my readers. This giveaway is open to US & Canadian residents only (no PO boxes) as they will be sent out by the publisher. What can you do to enter…

  • For 1 entry leave me a comment with a way to contact you.
  • For 2 entries follow my blog. If you already do, thanks, and please let me know in your comment so I can pass the extra entry on to you.
  • For 3 entries blog or tweet this giveaway and spread the word.

I will be drawing for the winners of The White Queen on Sunday, September 6, 2009. Good luck everyone!


  1. Marie Burton says

    (Don't enter me)
    I love your review, there is so much information about it isn't there? I enjoyed the book as well, and hope that through this others will also pick up other books on the Wars of The Roses. I am already looking forward to the next one by PG. I love all the drama PG creates with the historical advocates whenever she writes a book.

  2. Gwendolyn B. says

    I was lucky enough to win a copy of THE WHITE QUEEN from A Girl Walks Into a Bookstore, but I'll post your giveaway on my special White Queen Giveaway List on my sidebar. (I can hardly wait to read this book!)

  3. ccqdesigns says

    I have always loved this period of English history. Please count me in for this give away. And this author is one of my favorite as well.


  4. coffeeeeeeeee says

    How much do I LOVE Philippa Gregory! Please put me in for this draw.



  5. traveler says

    Thanks for this wonderful giveaway. Any book by Philippa Gregory always has me riveted. saubleb(at)gmail(dot)com

  6. PurpleHoodieChick says

    I was just told about your blog.=] And so far I have enjoyed it. I'm also in love with your dog. Animals are

    I'm now a follower and you can contact me at:
    kayla.yoesting AT yahoo Dot com


  7. Nely says

    I would love to win this one! I'm a big fan of Philippa's and this sounds fantastic.


  8. Jake Lsewhere says

    Looks like a good book, please enter me into this drawing.

    I'm also a follower via Blogger.

    Thanks for hosting this giveaway.

  9. Sunny @ the Library says

    Ack! I *cannot wait* to get my hands on this book. Please, give me an entry. I'm also a follower. Thanks!

  10. dolleygurl says

    You don't have to enter me, I just wanted to say that I am so excited to read this book. I won it over at The Burton Review. Your review is wonderful!

  11. Cheryl says

    Oh I really like this author. I would like to be entered. Thanks

    Of course I am already a follower

    clbstitch at yahoo dot com

  12. MoziEsmé says

    I would love to read this book! And I'm a follower. And I'm vaguely feeling like I've already entered this contest…

    janemaritz at yahoo dot com

  13. kalea_kane says

    Dar this looks wonderful. do not enter me though. I just won hugely from you recently so I want to be fair. I just wanted to thank you for a great interview! It looks amazing!

  14. Brenda says

    I love this type of book as I've always been fascinated with the time of Henry VIII. Please include me in the drawing!

    I'm a follower!


  15. Julie says

    Please enter me! I would love a chance to win this. I'm generally not a fan of Gregory's but this book is getter a much better response!

    I'm also a follower


  16. Literary Feline says

    You do make this sound good, Dar! I keep meaning to read more by this author. I've only read one of her books so far, and while I liked it, I wasn't overly impressed. It wasn't quite what I was expecting, I think.

    Please don't enter me in the giveaway. Good luck to those who are entering!

  17. Trish says

    I was trying to figure out what time period this is! I thought because of the "white" it must be the war of the roses and glad to find at the end of your review that it is! I love English/British history and this sounds like a great chapter–and I love that Gregory includes a little bit of magic in the book. Sure, I'd love to be entered. I've been collecting her books and buying them for friends but have only read The Other Boleyn Girl. You know I subscribe (even though I'm hanging my head a little because I'm not an actual "follower"). I guess it isn't the same thing, but the only blogs I "follow" are my three family members who have private blogs that don't feed into my Google Reader.

  18. Anonymous says

    Another Philippa Gregory book !!! How exciting !!!! Please enter me in your drawing, Dar. I peak in once in a while but need to be more of a regular follower …. You have an awesome site !

    Rita ( Page Turner )

  19. Pam says

    I'm glad I just found your blog, and I've just made an rss feed to it. Thanks for the book review of The White Queen. I can't wait to read it – now I have to wait to see if I won it before I do!

  20. Linda says

    Having read other books by PG I have a so-so opinion of her writing, but even so I'd love to try this novel.
    I follow your blog through Google Reader.
    Thanks for the giveaway.

  21. Jemima says

    I would love to win this! I am a follower and I also added this giveaway to my sidebar.

    email: thereadingjourney[at]gmail[dot]com

  22. Alice Teh says

    No need to enter for me, Dar, but I'm just dropping by to say HELLO. I've been seeing this book around a lot. :)

  23. Carol says

    I've heard so many good things about this author. I would love to read this book!

    I follow your blog.

    Carol M
    mittens0831 AT

  24. Anonymous says

    I would love to add this one to my home library…please count me in…thanks.

    karen k

  25. Zibilee says

    Oh Dar!
    I would sooo love to win this book, Phillipa Gregory is one of my guilty pleasures. Please enter me in this contest, and thanks for hosting it!


  26. Luvdaylilies says

    I would really, really enjoy this book=) Please enter me in your giveaway!
    Thanks bunches,
    Luvdaylilies at bellsouth dot net

    ~~I am a follower~~

  27. Bonnie says

    I would love to win this book Dar!

    I'm a follower of course!!

    I've blogged about this in my sidebar under Other Blog Giveaways.


  28. Jennifer says

    I have anxiously awaiting this book. I would be thrilled to win a copy of The White Queen. Thank you for the chance.
    knittingmomof3 (AT) gmail (DOT) com

  29. JaneGS says

    Phillipa Gregory is one of my guilty pleasures–I know she messes with history, but I forgive her because she tells good stories. I'm looking forward to reading this one as all I know about Elizabeth I learned from Shakespeare :)

  30. CourtneyJo says

    1. Awesome giveaway! yay for books

    +2 I am following your blog nowww!!

    +3 I retweeted this giveaway and i am already following you!

    I would love to read this book!
    thanks for the op!

  31. Nymeth says

    Oooh, I love that there are fantasy elements! I'll definitely keep an eye out for this.

    (Not entering either.)

  32. Jenny Girl says

    You don't have to enter me.
    Just wanted to say I enjoyed your review. There are so many mixed ones out there, and you just laid out the facts :)

  33. Jena says

    It's been years since I've read a Philippa Gregory novel, but I really really want to! And even if I'd never heard of her before or read The Other Boleyn Girl, I'd still want to read this book! muse2323 @gmail .com

  34. Tina says

    Would love to read this book…;D I just joined your blog,…
    and I will post a link to my blog,
    contact info is on blog…
    Thanks and I loved the review…

  35. Lisanne624 says

    I love this time period in history, so it sounds like a fascinating book!

    I'm a follower!

    lahlstedt (at) gmail (dot) com

  36. budletsmom says

    I would love to win this book please enter me in your giveaway.

    I am a current follower.

    budletsmom at yahoo dot com

  37. Pam says

    I haven't yet read any of her books though a couple have been on my wish list for some time. I'd love to win this!

    I'm a follower

    melacan at hotmail dot com

  38. Anonymous says

    I am always looking for different authors to read. This one sounds like I would enjoy it.
    Please count me in to win the book

  39. Terra says

    I love The Other Boleyn Girl, the first book I read by Phillippa Gregory, and I would adore to win a copy of The White Queen.
    She is a talented writer and also it is a fun way to learn about history.
    I follow you so I get 2 chances .
    Contact me at thekilns at excite dot com

  40. Neas Nuttiness says

    Thanks so much for this giveaway…I would sooooo like to win this one.

    I'm a follower.


  41. Karen H in NC says

    +1 Please enter me in the drawing for this book

    +2 I am a current follower

    kkhaas AT bellsouth DOT net

  42. Shiva says

    I read extensiveky on the War of the roses and the Tudors. King Edward's love for this queen brought the house of York down. I have read accounts oF Elizabeth Woodville as a witch, a fierce mother and a greedy queen who sought to benefit her family over the state. I am curious to know how Philippa paints this queen's persona in her book and why is she called the "white queen".
    Would love to win this one.

  43. Carol W. says

    I am an avid fan of Philippa Gregory's historical fiction. Please enter me in the giveaway.


  44. ishuddertothink says

    I adore Philippa Gregory! Her historical fiction is incredibly well researched and well written – one of my favorite female authors of all times!

    coveredinfeathers at ymail dot com

  45. Lindsey says

    I would be so thrilled to win a copy of this book! I love Philippa Gregory! :-) Thanks for the giveaway!

    ladyufshalott at

  46. Elizabeth says

    I want to win this so much; the War of the Roses fascinates me!
    While you are waiting for the Red Queen, try The Reluctant Queen by Jean Plaidy. It's an oldy, so your library will probably have it. It's about Anne Neville, who was Queen after Elizabeth Woodville.

  47. mannequin says

    Oh dear. I honestly don't think there's a book I've so longed to read as The White Queen. I'd love to win, please enter me.

  48. Debbie Rodgers says

    I would so love to win this! Thanks for the chance.

    I subscribe to your blog

    tatamagouche AT netbundle DOT ca

  49. Joanne says

    I really enjoyed Philippa's Boleyn books, so I'm really glad to hear you thought this was great too!

    Thanks for the awesome review and I would love to be entered in your giveaway. I'm a follower and my email is shiloki(at)gmail(dot)com :)

  50. Bella says

    Ooh, I am right there with you about her books, and the Other Boleyn Girl was also my fav!

    Please enter me, I am a follower and I tweeted @b42bella.


  51. Sandee61 says

    I've read alot of Ms. Gregory's books and love them. Please add my name to your list for this book giveaway. I'm new to your blog…just discovered it, and so glad I did. Thank you!



  52. Sandee61 says

    I've read alot of Ms. Gregory's books and love them. Please add my name to your list for this book giveaway. I'm new to your blog…just discovered it, and so glad I did. Thank you!



  53. heatherzilla says

    The White Queen is on my wish list and I would love to win a copy.

    Also, I am a follower.


  54. Anonymous says

    I just discovers Philippa Gregory and would love a chance to win The White Queen.

    lilwhiteninja at yahoo dot com


  55. Mitzi says

    Can you direct me to the announcement of the winner of this book giveaway??? I've been checking for updates but have been unable to find it.

    Thanks for the contest and I hope your dad is feeling better.

    mitzihinkey at sbcglobal dot net

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