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19th May 2013

Five Philippa Gregory Novels That Should Be In Your Collection

She is not just an amazing history writer...

Sue Murphy

On this day, May 19th in 1536, Anne Boleyn was beheaded for adultery, treason and incest. Boleyn is a character from history that is often misunderstood. Desperate to provide the King with an heir, she resorted to any means necessary in order to keep herself alive. By the time of her death, Henry had already moved on to his third wife Jane Seymour.

Gregory brings the wonderful stories to life from the Tudor period and from the War of the Roses. A new series beginning this Autumn on BBC will be based on the White Queen, the first book in the Roses series. Here are four others by Gregory you should have in your collection.

1. The White Queen

Introducing the character of Elizabeth Woodville, one of the only people to marry into the royal family without royal blood. Woodville changed the course of the British monarchy, her daughter eventually beginning the Tudor line and marrying Henry VII. This fictionalized account of her life is bang on the money.

2. The Kingmaker’s Daughter

Gregory had intended to write the War of the Roses as a series of books concerning the women who were foremost in the events at the time. Anne Neville, who was daughter to the Kingmaker, Earl of Warwick, married Richard III, but due to her quiet demenour was apparently overlooked in favour of Elizabeth of York. A wonderful story well told and a perfect lead to Gregory’s next book.

3. The Other Boleyn Girl

Perhaps Gregory’s best known work, The Other Boleyn Girl was a huge box office smash. Based on the lives of Anne and Mary Boleyn and their attempt to love a King, the book was a lot kinder to Anne’s sister than it was to her. Boleyn was eventually sentenced to death but the implications of the marriage were great on the family.

4. The Queen’s Fool

Depicting the story of the changeover in Queen’s from Mary to Elizabeth through the eyes of trusted insider Hannah, Gregory perfectly captures the mood and fear of England during the reign of bloody Mary. Perhaps not one of her most famous books as it told from the outside looking in, but the Queen’s Fool is one of Gregory’s finest.

5. The Constant Princess

So much concentration is placed on the life of Anne Boleyn and her successors that the first Queen, Katherine, is often forgotten about. Although she was cast aside by Henry, Katherine never gave up on the fact that she was his first rightful wife and the Queen of England. Gregory introduces us to a heroine who is often discarded by the path of history in favour of the illustrious Anne.