Tuesday, 29 March 2016

The White Queen by Philippa Gregory | Review

Genre : Historical Fiction , Adult , Romance
Publishing Date: Touchstone
Publisher: January 1st 2009
Pages: 408
Rating: 4/5 stars

Brother turns on brother to win the ultimate prize, the throne of England, in this dazzling account of the wars of the Plantagenets. They are the claimants and kings who ruled England before the Tudors, and now Philippa Gregory brings them to life through the dramatic and intimate stories of the secret players: the indomitable women, starting with Elizabeth Woodville, the White Queen.
The White Queen tells the story of a woman of extraordinary beauty and ambition who, catching the eye of the newly crowned boy king, marries him in secret and ascends to royalty. While Elizabeth rises to the demands of her exalted position and fights for the success of her family, her two sons become central figures in a mystery that has confounded historians for centuries: the missing princes in the Tower of London whose fate is still unknown. From her uniquely qualified perspective, Philippa Gregory explores this most famous unsolved mystery of English history, informed by impeccable research and framed by her inimitable storytelling skills.

White Queen is the first Philippa Gregory book that I have read so I didn't really know what to expect. I also don't read as much historical fiction as I should so this was really a new experience for me. I knew the story of Elizabeth Woodville and of the boys in the tower from documentaries and minimal research so I was intrigued to be thrown into that world. I like that this story has always had so much mystery to it so that Gregory could fill in the gaps and write an intriguing and unpredictable story.

This book follows a large portion of Elizabeth's life , like seriously , one page could cover more than 5 years and people who were newborns in the last chapter are suddenly running around and speaking multiple languages. I think there are roughly 20 years in the 400 odd pages , which I enjoyed but I think that some people might dislike that. 
At the start of the book I did like Elizabeth. She was self important and stubborn but she was ambitious and loyal to her sons and family. By the end I didn't like her as much as she was a 50 year old Queen who had pretty messed up priorities , in my opinion. I did feel sympathy towards her though and I loved how Gregory created a likable protagonist out of someone I didn't like very much from the knowledge I had of her.
All in all , I enjoyed this book! It was slow at times and the ending left a lot open but I think that added to it as much as it took away. I would recommend this book to anyone who likes to be thrown into the past or to others like me who adore stories about princes' and princess'. 

Wednesday, 16 March 2016

Forgotten Lives | Women's History Month

As may or may not know , March is women's history month! Ever since I was younger I always wondered why there were statues and memorials for so many men when the only recognition for women was joined together. The example I'm using for this is the 1916 Easter Rising in Ireland as it a lot of the centenary celebrations are also this month. People always speak of the men who fought and although they deserved to be talked about , so do the women who have been forgotten over the years!

Women had a huge part in the rising! They fought alongside the men in spite of anyone who disagreed with that. They were one of the first group of women to do that in history.Why don't we talk about that? I've written about two (of so many!) extraordinary women that fought in the rising below.

Countess Markievics was the female leader of the rising. She was the first woman to be elected to the British House Of Commons (she refused her seat!) and she was one of the first women to hold a cabinet in Ireland. She spent most of her life fighting for the right for freedom as a woman and an Irish person. She defied society and even some of her fellow leaders so that Cumann Na mBan were allowed to fight and die with the men. 

Elizabeth O'Farrell was a nurse who joined the women's paramilitary organisation and acted as a courier during the week of the rising. She was one of the last people left in the GPO (One of the main buildings that were taken over.)
When the Irish forces surrendered , it was her and Padraig Pearse that delivered surrender to the British but her involvement has been edited out of history.

A picture was taken of the two of them and she has been removed from it multiple times! Although you can only see her feet , removing her gives the impression that Pearse delivered the surrender on his own. They literally airbrushed her out of the picture and tell the story of Pearse surrendering with no mention of O'Farrell. It's such a significant moment in Irish history and it really shows you how history was told and learned with the women subtly forgotten.

There are countless forgotten stories of women in history from all around the world and it's terrifying that history is still mainly about the men.

Whether you're interested in Irish history or not , I think that this shows how important it is to remember all genders. I encourage you to research women in history. Find something that you are interested in and find out what the women were doing because I assure you , they were doing something! Strong women have existed as long as strong men have and their stories should not be forgotten!

Some links to pages related to this topic: 

Tuesday, 15 March 2016

Ch ch ch ch changes?

I love blogging but lately I haven't been reading as much as usual and I feel like I can't blog if there are no books to discuss. This has been frustrating me for a while now but it dawned on me today that it's my blog so I can do whatever I want with it. Right now I'm reading and enjoying White Queen by Philippa Gregory but it's a heavy book and I don't want to feel the need to rush it to review it. Basically I decided that I want to change the way I blog and post whatever I want.

Reading is a huge passion of mine but it's only one passion! I love art and history but I never speak of it. I'm getting really into movies and I felt like I couldn't talk about that. Basically I want this blog to remain as a mainly book blog but I want to incorporate my other loves into it as a sort of book/lifestyle blog. 

I'd love to do more movie reviews , photo diaries , art related posts and just general personal features. 

Tell me what you think or if there's any type of lifestyle post you'd like to see!