The White Queen by Philippa Gregory

220px-ElizabethWoodvilleI love this period of Plantagenet history and always found it fascinating that Elizabeth Woodville (aka the White Queen) was called “the most beautiful woman in the Island of Britain” with “heavy-lidded eyes like those of a dragon”,’suggesting a perhaps unusual criterion by which beauty in late medieval England was judged’.

The book shows her rise to power (which seems to happen in an instant in the book) from being the widow of not royal Lord John Grey to captivating a fairly young at 22 King Edward IV, she is 5 years older.

It does not go down well as a match made in heaven – badly received by the Privy Council, who according to Jean de Waurin told Edward at the time with great frankness that “he must know she was no wife for a prince such as himself.” Gregory hints that Elizabeth’s mother may have offered a helping hand through witchcraft …

The book portrays the love affair between Elizabeth and Edward (he was not a specially faithful man) and her family’s rise to power . It touches on the rumour of Richard 111 wanting to marry her daughter.

Not Hilary Mantel as characters are a bit one dimensional but an enjoyable read — Next book is about Margaret Beaufort, mother to Henry Tudor!!

The Sunne in Splendour by Sharon Penman covers same story.

TV series later this year Borrow book from Leeds Libraries – lots of copies