The White Princess - Philippa Gregory The "White Queen" TV show has reignited my obsession with the fifteenth century, so here I am again devouring Philippa Gregory books. Disclaimer: I know next to nothing about British history and history in general, so I can't speak to the historical accuracy of this book.

This one is compelling, but also pretty depressing. It continues where [b:The White Queen|5971165|The White Queen (The Cousins' War, #1)|Philippa Gregory||13560666] left off, this time with Elizabeth of York, wife of Henry VII, as our protagonist. Even though Henry VII is an asshole, to his wife and to his country, it's fascinating to watch his descent into absolute paranoia, as he becomes convinced that everyone he knows is trying to bring him down and put a York king on the throne. Honestly, with everyone who was trying to take his throne, I'm kind of surprised that he kept it.

The story of the missing princes in the Tower also continues, with the younger prince, Richard, haunting Henry at every turn, either as someone else pretending to be him, or (maybe) as himself, miraculously having survived his imprisonment in the Tower. Gregory has Elizabeth Woodville switch Richard out with an impostor in The White Queen, and she strongly implies that he comes back in this book as "Perkin Warbeck." From what I understand--again, not a history expert--the "official" version of the Perkin Warbeck story has so many holes in it that it's almost certainly not the actual truth of whoever this young man was, so I have no problem with Gregory proposing that he was Richard of York. Honestly, it's as likely an ending as any other one to the Princes in the Tower story. Certainly at the time, enough people believed he was Richard (or wanted a York king and thought he was close enough), and threw their support behind him, that he was a giant inconvenience to Henry.

Elizabeth grows more and more horrified as her husband becomes obsessed with this boy to the point of taxing the country into starvation in order to finance wars against his supporters, and executing anyone who has anything to do with him. She compares him to her father, Edward IV, who ruled so easily because people loved him, while Henry is basically trying to bully the entire country into supporting him. It's easy to hate Henry, but the book ends on a poignant note, as he realizes just how far his obsession has taken him and the price he has had to pay for his kingship.