But then, I didn’t expect NOT to love it.
When the BBC aired their 10-part adaptation The White Queen, I was hooked. I had never read any of her books before – not even during the The Other Boleyn Girl hype, and so I thought, why not take a look?
I’ve always loved the Wars of the Roses/Tudor period in history, so I was thrilled when I found she had written so many books about the time.
So I began…
Rather obsessively I suppose, I decided to aim for chronological order…in a manner.
My first purchase, and my first read was The Constant Princess. This was my introduction to Gregory and it well and truly got me hooked!
The story is written from the point of view of Katherine of Aragon, from her early childhood through her initial marriage to Henry V111’s brother and up until the beginning of Henry’s affair with Anne Boleyn.
I was hooked from the first few pages. It often takes me a while to really get into a book (you know: can’t put it down, must know what happens next kid of hooked!) but not with this one. The style of writing is easy and the story engaging, and there is so much information about the period, that you feel like you’re learning as well!
Next came The Other Boleyn Girl. Now, if you’ve seen the movie, don’t think that means you know what the book is about. I had seen the film years ago and I was stunned at how different it is from the book. In fact, I would go as far as to say that the only thing they have in common is the name. This book was brilliant, in my opinion, and whether or not it is all factually correct is neither here nor there as far as I’m concened. It even got to the point that, although I knew that Anne and George Boleyn were executed (we’ve all been in primary school History?) as I was reading, I was really hoping and believeing that they might succeed and that they might escape their fate! Foolish, I know…
I read a bouple of others from the Tudor Court series, but I won’t mention them. Next I bought The Red Queen. Margaret Beaufort’s lifelong devotion to God, bizzare view of the world and maniacal ambition was gripping. I never warmed to the character, in fact I was rooting for her downfall, but still I could not put the book down!
Although we all know the stories: they’re our British history, and we know how everything ends, it is the journey that Gregory captures and what makes the books so engaging and interesting. Her factual accuracy has been widely questioned, but to me, that’s irrelevant. I want to read a good book with a good story. That’s all.
If you are at all interested in history…or scandal…or even witchcraft, romance or simple drama, then give Philippa Gregory’s books a try. I don’t think you’ll regret it.