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Book review: 'The White Princess' is an intriguing glimpse of English royalty in the 15th century

Published: Sunday, Aug. 30 2015 2:49 p.m. MDT

"The White Princess: A Cousin's War Novel" is by Phillipa Gregory. (Simon and Schuster)

Editor's note: This is one of a half dozen books that explores the lives of different figures in British royal history, including several set in the court of Henry VIII.

"THE WHITE PRINCESS: A Cousin's War Novel," by Phillipa Gregory, Touchstone, $27.99, 544 pages (f)

“The White Princess: A Cousin’s War Novel,” by Phillipa Gregory, is a historical fiction novel based on Elizabeth of York, who was queen of England from 1486 to 1503, wife to Henry VII, mother of Henry VIII and grandmother of Mary I, Elizabeth I and Edward VI.

Gregory’s novel explores the historical mystery of the disappearance of Elizabeth’s younger brothers: the crown prince Edward and Richard, and Henry VII’s frustrated attempts to capture a boy claiming to be Richard.

As England rebels against Henry in favor of Richard, Elizabeth is forced to choose between loyalty to her loveless husband and beloved children, and loyalty to her brother and kin.

Gregory manages to capture the spirit of the times as she elaborately entwines the lives of the royal family of York, the “Pretender King” Henry Tudor and the events of the time period into an intriguing novel of love, loss and loyalty.

The novel includes several sexual scenes.

Overall, the novel is a well-written, intriguing glimpse of England’s royalty at the turn of the 15th century.

“The White Princess” is the latest of The Cousin’s War series, which includes five other novels, one of which is being adapted as a TV series by BBC. Gregory is best known for her novel, “The Other Boleyn Girl,” which was adapted as a major motion picture in 2008.

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