Widowed Elizabeth Woodville stands ready to greet her King, her sons in tow and dressed at her most beguiling. The bond they forge leads to a passion that leads her family to the highest position in England – but not a stable one. Elizabeth must plot, scheme and do all in her power to subdue her enemies, please her husband and protect her family, but the odds against her are great…
Historical fiction based on real people is always troubling for me. On the one hand, I appreciate the opportunity to learn about a person and period in a fun and interesting way – but on the other, I resent that thoughts, actions and motives are placed upon them in a way that just cannot be accurate. Imagine someone in four hundred years trying to piece your life together into a story… I don’t think I’d like it much. BUT despite my reservations and long term avoidance of Gregory also due to an aversion to Tudors caused by their over-study in the British history curriculum, I was hooked.
I mean, I’d even seen the BBC version of this. I knew what was going to happen. I vaguely knew the history. But I was still gripped and held the whole way through. Gregory has got this down to an art – the twist of power, the tension running high and the ability to turn a life into a pacy story. I thoroughly enjoyed my stay in this world.
It’s interesting to find out more about a less-told story too. I’ve heard of the princes in the tower before, but never really come into their story. And, as far as I know from this book and however much of it was true, it’s a good one.
We very much focus on Elizabeth Woodville in this story. I can well imagine that some history and some stories paint her as a baddie: she schemes and uses magic and is in no way a victim. But Gregory paints her sympathetically; a women of brains and beauty who will use both to get what she wants. I have no idea how representative that is, but it was very enjoyable to read.
So despite myself, I’m going to recommend this one, and censure myself for my long-term snobbery about Philippa Gregory. Not that I’m going to seek to read any more of her books. One really, really can have enough of the Tudors.