The White Princess : The Plantagenet and Tudor Novels

  • by Philippa Gregory
  • Narrated by Bianca Amato
  • Series: The Plantagenet and Tudor Novels
  • 19 hrs and 5 mins
  • Unabridged Audiobook

Publisher's Summary

The newest novel from #1 New York Times best-selling author and "queen of royal fiction" (USA Today) Philippa Gregory tells the passionate story of Elizabeth of York, daughter of the White Queen, who gets caught in the middle of a battle for the crown of England.
The White Princess opens as the news of the battle of Bosworth is brought to Princess Elizabeth of York, who will learn not only which rival royal house has triumphed, Tudor or York, but also which suitor she must marry: Richard III her lover, or Henry Tudor her enemy.
A princess from birth, Elizabeth fell in love with Richard III, though her mother made an arranged betrothal for her with the pretender to the throne: Henry Tudor. When Henry defeats Richard against all odds, Elizabeth has to marry the man who murdered her lover in battle, and create a new royal family with him and his ambitious mother: Margaret Beaufort, The Red Queen. But, while the new monarchy can win, it cannot, it seems, hold power in an England which remembers the House of York with love.
The new king’s greatest fear is that somewhere, outside England, a prince from the House of York is waiting to invade and re-claim the throne for the house of York. Fearing that none of his new allies can be trusted, Henry turns to his wife to advise him, all the time knowing that her loyalties must be divided. When the young man who would be king finally leads his army and invades England, it is for Elizabeth to decide whether she recognizes him as her brother and a claimant to the throne, or denies him in favor of the husband she is coming to love....


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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful

Tomorrow and Tomorrow and Tomorrow

No, not quoting Macbeth in comparison to this work of historical fiction, merely trying to illustrate how repetition consumes this novel. If you've read several of Philippa Gregory's works, you know the recipe of a little fact; a lot of conjecture; and a great deal of restating the same ideas. These works are B+ romantic novels and I'm not embarrassed to admit I enjoy some of her books.

It doesn't put me off how she takes leeway with some facts. Having read several of her Tudor novels, I was empowered to read and research material on the subjects on my own. Enjoyed the journey to discovery.

I had high hopes wanting to know about Henry VIII's mother and the childhood of the four children. Minimal pages are devoted to the offspring and quick references to Henry's gluttony of food and playing games were given paucity of attention. The beginning was interesting (even if not historically correct) and I sympathized with Elizabeth being trapped in a loveless marriage. However, the next 3/4 of the book regurgitated the same idea of how Henry VII was a usurper and his paranoia of chasing the possibility a true York king coming to take his throne were churned out superfluously.

Greggory should take her time and get back to the originality and fervent storytelling from her earlier novels instead of churning out books so quickly. Ignore the big paychecks for quantity and take time for quality.
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- FanB14 "Short, Simple, No Spoilers"

My ears are bleeding

I truly don't know where to start with how much I disliked this book so I'll actually begin with the few positives.

Bianca Amato's narration was extraordinary and the only feature that allowed me to finish this novel.I have listened to books she has read in the past where I wasn't in love with her voice, but for this book, her voice was well-paced and soothing to listen to. She got the gender voices done without over-exaggerating the differences. Truly, I would not have finished this book (and almost didn't) but for the narration. I have never put those words in a review before.

The novel brings the War of the Roses series to a conclusion and merges it into the Tudor series (The Constant Princess would logically follow from the conclusion of this story). I'm very glad Ms. Gregory wrote the Tudor books and The White Queen first so that I know that, somewhere, she has some knowledge of the time period. This book most certainly does not demonstrate any such knowledge.

The negatives are based in the "levels" of the book that Ms. Gregory defines at the end in her "Author's Note." Apparently, her intent was to create a "novel about a mystery that has never been solved." Therefore, she unabashedly makes stuff up left and right throughout the entire novel. I would love to see a single piece of historical research that even hints that Henry VII raped Elizabeth of York repeatedly prior to their wedding in order to see if she was fertile and only married her once she became pregnant. For Tudor fans out there who have done an iota of research, this is painful to read material. I completely understand that Ms. Gregory is of the school of thought that one of the two princes survived the Tower of London and that Richard III was not responsible for their deaths. I'm not taking a stand on that question in this review -- even if you accept as true that the younger prince (who would have rightfully been Richard IV of England) was not in the Tower of that he somehow survived or that someone other than Richard III or one of his minions killed the princes, the story doesn't work.

I will give a fiction writer every reasonable inch of "willing suspension of disbelief" to allow them to tell their story. What I will not enable with any positive comments is not warning the reader in advance that the author's plan is to do so. A recent book called "The Boleyn King" says at the outset: what if Anne Boleyn and Henry VIII had a son and Anne Boleyn was not executed? That is a very good premise for a novel and I enjoyed the story. It was fun, it was completely against any and all historical facts and I had no problem with the story BECAUSE of the disclosure. Ms. Gregory attempts in her Author's Note to justify her diversion from anything resembling truth.

Even more grating was the author's use of repetition as a literary tool. I've complained about this style in other novels she has written (specifically, "The Red Queen"), but she perfected whiny repeated phrases in this most recent epic tale. Once again, I found myself thinking "ok Philippa, I get it... Henry VII is afraid of 'the boy' who might be young Richard... I get that Henry VII and his ridiculous mother, Margaret Beaufort, trust no one and have a spy network. I get that Elizabeth of York is emotionally torn between her duties as a York princess and her duties as a Tudor wife." I felt like my ears were bleeding from the use of the words: "the boy." I'd be very interested to see a proportional word count of how many times that phrase appears. It could easily be up to 25% of the words in the entire novel. Maybe it's the presence of Margaret Beaufort -- the repetition was ghastly in the novel about her as well.

I have never, ever given a story one star until today. This book was simply horrible. Ms. Gregory fails in her attempt to re-write history; written by the victors or not. The characters are shallow and false. The writing is borderline unbearable. The "mystery" that is "solved" by the novel has nothing to do with Elizabeth of York so even the title of the book is misleading. If Ms. Gregorty wanted to write a "what if" story about the younger prince in the Tower, she should have called it "The Missing Prince" or something else that more truthfully highlights what the story is about -- not used an interesting woman from York/Lancaster/Tudor times and crammed her into being the emotional outlet for a fairytale that has no basis in fact.

If you have read all of the other books and really want to finish the story, go ahead and wade through this tome. Otherwise, use your credit more wisely.
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- Bonnie-Ann "bakesq"

Book Details

  • Release Date: 07-23-2013
  • Publisher: Simon & Schuster Audio