Working with The White Queen | Wyatt’s World

The Starz network premiered its ten-part miniseries based on Philippa Gregory’s novels The White Queen, The Red Queen, and The Kingmaker’s Daughter from “The Cousins’ War” series, immersing viewers in the battles and plots that lead to the establishment of the Tudor dynasty. The series is likely to spike interest in the Cousins’ long and weary War, read-alikes for Gregory, and watch-alikes for the show. Here are five suggestions for patrons who get hooked.

  • Lady of the English by Elizabeth Chadwick (Sourcebooks). Gregory fans wanting read-alikes may enjoy the dramatic feel of Chadwick’s vividly realized historical novel set in 12th-century England. Tracing the fate of Empress Matilda, the daughter of Henry I, as she vies for her father’s throne and launches England into a civil war to ensure her son’s claim of succession, Chadwick stresses the repercussions of strong women fighting for their stakes in royal politics.
  • Blood Sisters: The Women Behind the Wars of the Roses by Sarah Gristwood (Basic: Perseus). Readers interested in the history of the Wars who also appreciate Gregory’s female-centric focus might particularly enjoy Gristwood’s deft evocation of the period, in particular her choice to view the Cousins’ Wars through the lens of seven women caught up in the politics of power off the battlefield—including Elizabeth Woodville and Margaret Beaufort.
  • The Queen’s Governess by Karen Harper (Putnam). Another read-alike for Gregory is this character-rich and lushly detailed account of Katherine Ashley, who served as Princess Elizabeth’s governess. First sent to the Royal court as a spy for Thomas Cromwell and as a companion for Anne Boleyn, Katherine is soon caught up in the politics of survival. She withstands scandal, prison, and much more as she protects Elizabeth and navigates the treacherous maze of Henry’s reign and Elizabeth’s ascension.
  • The Tudors (HBO). Fans who are more in a mood to watch something like The White Queen rather than read either Gregory or her potential companion authors might enjoy this 38-episode HBO series following the life of Henry VIII. Setting real-life figures in a glittering world that blends historical fact with dramatic license, it shares with the Starz series the same fast pace, lushness of costumes, and focus on political and courtly intrigue.
  • The Wars of the Roses by Alison Weir (Ballantine). Elegantly styled and sure-footed, Weir’s vibrant history of the wars between the Lancasters and the Yorks offers interested readers an accessible and comprehensible guide to the many players and motivations fueling the decades long dynastic battles. Weir expertly lays out the complicated family in fighting, the vast list of players, and the shifting ground that dictated fortunes, lives, and ultimately, who wore the crown.
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Neal Wyatt About Neal Wyatt

Neal Wyatt compiles LJ's online feature Wyatt's World and is the author of The Readers' Advisory Guide to Nonfiction (ALA Editions, 2007). She is a collection development and readers' advisory librarian from Virginia. Those interested in contributing to The Reader's Shelf should contact her directly at