Throughout this series, we had been given delicious, tantalizing glimpses of this book's central character, Elizabeth of York. In [b:The White Queen|5971165|The White Queen (The Cousins' War, #1)|Philippa Gregory|https://d.gr-assets.com/books/1406950364s/5971165.jpg|13560666], she is shown to be a more powerful witch than her mother, having more accurate predictions, with the river crawling out of its bed to tell her things, and her cursing power being absolutely final. She is also portrayed as a passionate young woman, who curses her mother for her unending ambition, and defies all others for the sake of her affair with Richard of York. In [b:The Red Queen|7148256|The Red Queen (The Cousins' War, #2)|Philippa Gregory|https://d.gr-assets.com/books/1281335912s/7148256.jpg|7413156], she is also passionate and strong, even daring to tell Margaret Beaufort that, though her mother was a nobody and she had been declared a bastard, "I shall be Queen of England, and this is the last time you sit in my presence." In [b:The Kingmaker's Daughter|12326644|The Kingmaker's Daughter (The Cousins' War #4)|Philippa Gregory|https://d.gr-assets.com/books/1332688725s/12326644.jpg|17305288] she appears to be rather foolish and selfish, but it is very clear that this is just how Anne Neville sees her. In the end of the book, she is smart enough to understand Anne's fears by the smallest suggestion, and compassionate enough to say exactly what would give the Queen peace.
Having that in mind, and knowing this book would tell the aftermath of Henry's victory, I was very much looking forward to read this book. *sigh* What a disappointment.
This is so much worse than the previous books that it looks like a caricature. Elizabeth goes as far as to describe herself as passionate and strong, but she's far from it. The characters are so shallow you could hardly believe they're actual historical figures; their reactions are exaggerated and histrionic; everything that happens feels like an unnecessary drawing out of unimportant events.
Philippa Gregory obviously sympathizes with the York family. I have no trouble with that, we can't help but have favorites, but I would have expected her to maintain at least the pretense of impartiality. After all, I have just read 4 books written by her, telling the same events through the eyes of different people, and, despite all their issues, she was very competent in showing that there are two sides to every story. In this book, she's so desperate to show her readers that the Yorks are nice and the Tudors are bad it borders on pathetic. Margaret Beaufort, who was such an interesting and well-developed character in [b:The Red Queen|7148256|The Red Queen (The Cousins' War, #2)|Philippa Gregory|https://d.gr-assets.com/books/1281335912s/7148256.jpg|7413156], has been turned into a Shakespearean shrew; Henry is the pinnacle of vices, being cowardly, ugly, tyrannical, stupid, and even a rapist; even Elizabeth's sister Cecily, who was such a joy to her mother in previous books, is so thoroughly unpleasant from the beginning of the book that you just know
she'll turn out to support Tudor. She's so tendentious when comparing the two houses it goes to the point of being childish.
All that, along with the way Philippa Gregory likes to say everything at least three times in each paragraph... I had to force myself to finish reading it. It was that
bad. I'll probably try to read [b:The King's Curse|15849910|The King's Curse (The Cousins' War, #6)|Philippa Gregory|https://d.gr-assets.com/books/1405267460s/15849910.jpg|21596251], but more because I've already read five books and I might as well read a sixth than because I'm looking forward to reading it. (And also because I've already bought it.) But I'll give myself a break for now.