During the Wars of the Roses, life in England was particularly turbulent for the nobility. The battles between the Yorkists and the Lancastrians were particularly difficult for those near the center of the storm. This is especially true for Richard, Duke of Gloucester, the youngest brother of King Edward IV. After his father and brother are killed fighting the forces of Marguerite d’Anjou, Richard is sent to live with his cousin, the Earl of Warwick, where he is trained to be a knight. But over the course of the next ten years, he finds his loyalties and his heart divided as Warwick breaks away from Edward and tries to make it on the strength of his connection to King Louis of France. Richard is loyal to his brother, but Warwick and his family have become his family- and he has fallen in love with Warwick’s younger daughter, Anne. As the novel progresses, Richard finds it harder and harder to make sense of the issues that divide the connection which had once been secure.
This is Sandra Worth’s debut novel, and the first of the Rose of York trilogy. Though this novel is, for the most part, about Richard, there are some deviations into other members of Richard’s inner circle. However, these deviations are more like brief vignettes than any major departure from the subject at hand. It is evident from the beginning how much research Worth has put into this novel, and the result is a comprehensive, well-rounded look at Richard, as well as a peek at his contemporaries. Though it lacks the polish of her most recent novel, this is still a very good book.
I definitely recommend this for those who enjoy sympathetic portrayals of Richard III.
Rating: 4.5 stars
Qualifying Challenges: 100 Books
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