Ah, the discovery. The day that you walk through the bookstore, minding you own business, only to find that a book that you have been anticipating slipped through its release date without you even noticing. That was me and The White Princess, Gregory’s latest addition to The Cousins’ War. I was being so good, purchasing only what was on my list and making record time to boot, and here was this beauty just calling to me. So I used the last of an anniversary gift to purchase it for myself and have been enjoying it in the short spurts that I get to read for myself in the midst of raising an 8-month-old. This also happens to coincide with the premiere of the Starz production of “The White Queen” series, which is based upon The White Queen, The Red Queen, and The White Princess.
As I began to read, having only recently finished The Kingmaker’s Daughter, I instantly had the urge to lay all four books of The Cousins’ War side by side and see how seamlessly Gregory moves from one character’s point of view and emotional space to another’s. Anne Neville saw Princess Elizabeth of York as plying her wiles to steal Richard III away from her, to remove Anne from her place and cement her own position. In Anne’s eyes, it had naught to do with love but was merely a ploy well-used by the Woodville women in the past. As you begin The White Princess, however, you see Elizabeth in deep and painful mourning for the man she loved, the selfsame RIchard III. She gives each character an original voice and their own, defensible position. Doesn’t matter if you’ve read the same story from three different viewpoints already, you instantly feel for Elizabeth, especially in the light of her sister Cecily’s spite, though poor Cecily herself has been ill-used by Richard III. Well, at least her own mind, if no one else thinks so. Now Elizabeth must cement her position again and marry Henry Tudor. He needs her to solidify his throne and the beginning of his dynasty; she needs him to save her family and restore them to a position of pride and power. She must do her duty as the daughter of Edward IV and as a Woodville woman.
I am looking forward to diving ever deeper into this book and losing myself in the world of the Roses once again.