The White Queen - Philippa Gregory I learned from this book that everyone in England (and most of Western Europe) is either named Richard, Edward, George, Elizabeth, or Margaret. Seriously, how do you keep them all straight? Even the protagonist, who already has a son named Richard, goes and names another son Richard just for the hell of it. WHY.

This book concerns the wars between the Lancaster and York houses of English royalty, and it sounds like an uncertain and brutal time, with alliances and kings changing every few years. (Spoiler alert: Henry Tudor eventually becomes King of England. Everyone else dies, although not all of them in this book.) Both sides have victories and defeats, and I like that all sides are shown to have done awful things in their quests for the throne. However, the book is pretty packed with events, and the pace moves too fast at times to really get a sense for what's happening and how it's affecting the characters.

I picked up this book because of the mystery of the Princes in the Tower, which is one of those great Unsolved Mysteries of history. (There are apparently two skeletons that are thought to be those of the two boys. I wish they'd dig them up and test them again, just to solve the damn mystery, but there are probably reasons why they haven't.) I always like fictional explanations for historical mysteries, although this one never fully answers the question of what happened to the boys. I wish it had gone on a bit longer. The protagonist, Elizabeth Woodville, lays a curse on the man who murdered her son, that his firstborn son might die also, but we never find out whether or not the curse comes to fruition. I suppose the book must leave it ambiguous because it's not known in real life what happened, but that's no fun.

I liked the The Mists of Avalon flavor the book had, since Elizabeth and her mother were both rumored to be witches and in this book they manage to cause a lot of plot points. Of course, these are all things that may have happened anyway, such as a torrential rainstorm that lasts for days, or the king falling in love with a commoner. But it's more fun to say it's ~magic~. The myth of Melusina is woven throughout the story in interesting ways as well.

In all, an entertaining read, but not among the best historical novels out there.