My rating: 4 of 5 stars
It is the War of the Roses. Cousins are fighting cousins as the Houses of the Lancasters and the Yorks squabble over England. Elizabeth Woodville is the daughter and widow of Lancaster men. As a punishment for their rebellion her lands have been seized by the new regime of the York King, Edward. Elizabeth has two sons to protect and she has a plan. She is a beautiful woman and the new king is known to have a weakness for women.
Elizabeth catches the King’s eye. She gets him to promise to have her lands returned to her and then she makes him fall in love. They marry in secret but soon she is declared Queen of England.
Elizabeth’s mother was a powerful lady under the Lancasters and Elizabeth has learned her lessons well. She arranges appointments and marriages to put her family firmly in control. But, constant warfare wears down her King and her family and soon even cunning and witchcraft may not be enough to save them all.
Image from here.
It helps to have a family tree handy at times when reading these stories because everyone is related to everyone else and they are all either named Edward, Richard, George, or Henry.
I know from doing some genealogical research on my mother’s family that the main bad guy in this book is the nephew of a many, many times great-grandfather of mine. He was probably just misunderstood. Of course, it appears that he cheated my relative out of one of his deserved titles so maybe he was just a nasty fella.
See on the timeline above where it said that Edward IV had lots of bastards. They talk about that a lot in the book. I’m a fan of monogamy. Actually, I don’t care what you do as long as it is fair and equable for everyone involved. Whenever the discussion came around in the book to one of Edward’s other women, I would feel my blood pressure rising. It wasn’t fair to Elizabeth. She was a politically savvy woman in a time when that kind of thing had to be kept secret.
Linking up to British Isles Friday.