Thursday, August 12, 2010
For The Love of Philippa Gregory
Question: Why do you love Philippa Gregory?
I love Philippa Gregory for many different reasons. One of the main reasons is that when I first got into historical fiction it was right around when the movie “The Other Boleyn Girl” came out in theaters. I happened to pick up a book at my local store that was by Robin Maxwell on Anne Boleyn and after I had finished it in one day I went forward from there. My first author I went for after Robin was Philippa Gregory because she was in leading the front line of the main stream historical fiction. I completed the "The Boleyn Inheritance" first and later went on to read all of her other novels in a fury. I think I had completed all of her novels in less than one month because I enjoyed them all that much. I read all of them before I started my blog and when I really started tracking my favorite authors I had picked up that Gregory was working on a new series. You can only imagine that since I started my blog I have been in high anticipation for the releases of Philippa’s new series The Cousins’ War. I have noticed that because Philippa is many readers first love in HF she is the driving force that has lured many new comers into the historical fiction reading world and that is more than enough reason for me to be grateful that she keeps on writing.
Controversy seems to follow PG like a little looming black cloud on the horizon. It is like you know it is coming but there is nothing you can do about it but wait for it to roll in. It seems to me that Gregory has a knack for striking up this controversy for one reason and that reason is that sometimes she takes writing liberties to the extreme. Some view it as bad liberties that go way beyond the realistic means of actual historical events. I however do not and will not ever see it this way. As many of you might have already picked up on, I am not one that has to have absolute historical accuracy but I do drawn the line at some things. I feel that if you as a reader need to have complete historical accuracy then you should be reading biographies and non-fiction not historical fiction. One of my favorite aspects of historical fiction in general is that it is fiction and yes writers do take liberties but that makes it even more fun to find out what the actual history was after I finish a novel.
It has been argued that “The White Queen” for example was said to be “fluffy” and historically inaccurate at points but I once again would have to disagree. I enjoyed the fact that Elizabeth Woodville was “nice” in the read. I figured that was probably more how her own family saw her because you have to admit that there was something that was alluring enough about her to attract a king and keep everyone else around her on high alert after Edward was gone. Elizabeth Woodville as a witch with magical powers, some think that is too far but if you think about it logically then it just might make sense. What we modern day thinkers think of as a witch is not what was considered a witch back in the 15th century. Maybe it just might be possible that she was what we would call today a psychic or a mystic. I see it as anything is possible and bravo for Gregory for adding a new spin on Elizabeth because I did read it and I did enjoy it. Is there anything that we as readers could ask for in a good book, action, scandals, love, war, and family feuds at its best.
“The Red Queen” I waited so patiently for because really I have not found another fiction book that is completely based on Margaret Beaufort. I was not disappointed with the historical accuracies on this one but I do have to bring to light that Margaret herself is not a very like-able person. I called her the all time “Tudor Villain” in my review because I can not see her as anything else but evil. I can only imagine how hard it is to write about a person that is so unlikeable and my hat goes off to Gregory for bringing villainous Margaret to life for me. I enjoy reading about the War of the Roses because it was such a traumatic time in England. But I do have to point out that there are so many different points of view on this war of who said what, who did what and there was so much done it is hard to sift through the history of it all. For me it boils down to this you are either sympathetic to Richard or not, did he or did he not have something to do with Elizabeth Woodville’s lost princes, I am not sure we will ever completely know the truth. It is one of histories greatest cold cases which you can read more about here, As for me I am kind of in a limbo I feel I can not pick a side until I have more knowledge on the era, and let me tell you there is so much to know. I am not sure I will ever be able to come to a conclusion on it which is why I stand by the sidelines and see what others think on it. I think it is just is pointless to argue over a read that is fiction because it is fiction and if you do not like it do not read it. Gregory continues to draw in new historical fiction readers and brings mainstream ideas to a almost hidden world. I say it is hidden because in truth I had no idea this online world of HF book lovers existed until I stumbled upon it by mistake and if Gregory gives to new readers what she gave to me then I am a firm supporter of her and her novels.