Tuesday, May 9, 2017

Review: The White Queen

I like history. I like it so much that I majored in history in college, read a hundred historical fiction books as an adult, and wrote ten more as a novelist. I revere the past like some people revere fine wines.

Television is another matter. I tend to avoid it unless the network news is on — or a baseball game or a particularly good movie. Like a lot of people, I would rather devote my time to other things.

Every once in a while, however, I find a program or series worth watching. More often than not, it is a drama rooted in the past, like Homefront, American Dreams, or Downton Abbey.

The White Queen, a 2013 British drama based on three bestselling novels by Philippa Gregory, is no exception. I discovered the ten-episode series this month and went through it in a week.

Set against the backdrop of the War of the Roses, a civil war that raged in Britain from 1455 to 1487, the story is told mostly from the perspectives of three women: Elizabeth Woodville, Margaret Beaufort, and Anne Neville. Each manipulates events behind the scenes so that men in their lives can attain or retain the throne.

As best I can tell, the series sticks close to the historical record, though it does take liberties in places. Those who know Richard III through Shakespeare's play, for example, will find a kinder, gentler king in The White Queen. And the fate of one of his nephews, one of history's great mysteries, is made clear in television production.

I would recommend The White Queen to anyone who likes history and intrigue. I hope to find similar series in the future. Rating: 5/5.

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