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This Son of York by Anne Easter Smith

This Son of York by Anne Easter Smith

“Now is the winter of our discontent, Made glorious summer by This Son of York…” — William Shakespeare, Richard III

Richard III was Anne’s muse for her first five books, but, finally, in This Son of York he becomes her protagonist. The story of this English king is one of history’s most compelling, made even more fascinating through the discovery in 2012 of his bones buried under a car park in Leicester.

This new portrait of England’s most controversial king is meticulously researched and brings to vivid life the troubled, complex Richard of Gloucester, who ruled for two years over an England tired of war and civil strife. The loyal and dutiful youngest son of York, Richard lived most of his short life in the shadow of his brother, Edward IV, loyally supporting his sibling until the mantle of power was thrust unexpectedly on him.

Some of his actions and motives were misunderstood by his enemies to have been a deliberate usurpation of the throne, but throughout his life, Richard never demonstrated any loftier ambitions than to honorably discharge his duty to his family and his country.

In a gentler vein, despite the cruel onset of severe scoliosis in his teens, Richard did find love, first with a lover and then in his marriage to Anne Neville. Between these two devoted women in his life, he sired three and perhaps four children.

Bringing the Plantagenet dynasty to a violent end, Richard was the last king of England to die in battle. This Son of York is a faithful chronicle of this much maligned man.

The book is told from Richard’s point of view and covers his life from childhood to his death.

This was the first book I’ve read from the author, even though I own a couple. Overall, I liked the book, but I wasn’t a huge fan of the characterization of Richard. He just came off as whiny and without backbone and it grew old very soon. I like Richard III but too often he’s described either just too good or either very bad like a Disney character or something. I like something in the between.

Every chapter starts with a quote from Philippa Langley, who was present during the whole research process for Richard’s bones. I found those quotes unnecessary, but I seem to be in minority with this so…

All this being said, I did enjoy the book even if it may sound like I didn’t. It also made me realize that I haven’t read a book about Richard for so long.

3/5

Published: Bellastoria Press (November 10, 2019)
Format: ebook
Source: Historical Fiction Virtual Book Tours

About the Author

Anne is the award-winning author of The King’s Grace and the best-selling A Rose for the Crown, Daughter of York, Queen By Right, and Royal Mistress. She is an expert on Richard III, having studied the king and his times for decades. Her sixth book, This Son of York, will be published soon. She grew up in England, Germany and Egypt, and has been a resident/citizen of the US since 1968. Anne was the Features Editor at a daily newspaper in northern New York State for ten years, and her writing has been published in several national magazines.

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Blog Tour Schedule

Sunday, November 10
Review at Broken Teepee
Review at Gwendalyn’s Books

Monday, November 11
Excerpt at Words and Peace
Review at Jorie Loves a Story

Tuesday, November 12
Review at Passages to the Past
Review at So Many Books, So Little Time

Wednesday, November 13
Review at Macsbooks
Interview at The Writing Desk

Thursday, November 14
Review at A Chick Who Reads

Friday, November 15
Excerpt at The Lit Bitch
Interview at Jorie Loves a Story

Saturday, November 16
Review at Curling up by the Fire
Review & Excerpt at Nursebookie
Review at Red Headed Book Lady
Review at WTF Are You Reading?
Review at Historical Fiction with Spirit

Sunday, November 17
Review at Bookramblings
Review at Just One More Chapter
Review at Locks, Hooks and Books
Review at Carole Rae’s Random Ramblings

reviews

Lionheart by Sharon Kay Penman

Lionheart by Sharon Kay Penman

A.D. 1189. After the death of his father, Henry II, and the early demise of two of his brothers, Richard is crowned King of England and immediately sets off for the Holy Land. This is the Third Crusade, marked by internecine warfare among the Christians and extraordinary campaigns against the Saracens. Richard’s surviving brother, the younger John, is left behind—and conspires with the French king to steal his brother’s throne. Only their mother, Eleanor of Aquitaine, now freed from decades of captivity, remains to protect Richard’s interests and secure his destiny.

In this engrossing saga, Sharon Kay Penman delivers a novel of passion, intrigue, battle, and deceit. Lionheart is a sweeping tale of a heroic figure—feared by his enemies and beloved by those he commanded—who became a legend in his own lifetime. (back cover)

I have to admit I’ve never tried to read a book about Richard whilst he was on crusade. I feared it would be boring but it certainly wasn’t. I confess I had a crush on him in Devil’s Brood so I was so excited that this book came out.

Have to feel sorry for Berengaria though, even if the marriage started well. They were so ill-matched that I’m surprised it started that well at all. Sometimes opposites attract and all that but sometimes it’s just too different.

I really liked Joanna and how she could knock some sense into her brother’s head at times. It seems like it’s been too long since I read Devil’s Brood and I tried to remember if we met Joanna in that book also? I can’t remember.

It’s not a fast read but I didn’t find it boring. There’s a huge cast of characters and POV changes that might be annoying to some readers.

4,5/5

Published: Ballantine Books (January 1, 2013)
Format: Paperback
Pages: 624
Source: My own

reviews

A Triple Knot by Emma Campion

A Triple Knot

A Triple Knot by Emma Campion

Joan of Kent, renowned beauty and cousin to King Edward III, is destined for a politically strategic marriage. As the king begins a long dynastic struggle to claim the crown of France, plunging England into the Hundred Years’ War, he negotiates her betrothal to a potential ally and heir of a powerful lordship.

But Joan, haunted by nightmares of her father’s execution at the hands of her treacherous royal kin, fears the king’s selection and is not resigned to her fate. She secretly pledges herself to one of the king’s own knights, one who has become a trusted friend and protector. Now she must defend her vow as the king—furious at Joan’s defiance—prepares to marry her off to another man.

In A Triple Knot, Emma Campion brings Joan, the “Fair Maid of Kent” to glorious life, deftly weaving details of King Edward III’s extravagant court into a rich and emotionally resonant tale of intrigue, love, and betrayal. (publisher)

I have to say that I read pretty much anything about Edward III or the Black Prince and I really want to read more about them but I only barely could finish this.

Even if Ned, The Black Prince or Queen Philippa wasn’t portrayed like I’ve thought them to be, I could have liked this. Even The Black Prince throwing tantrums at every possible moment wasn’t enough but I just couldn’t like Joan. What a naïve, little idiot. Over half of the book she spent pining for Holland and the other half she was scared of Ned. She moved very quickly from being scared of Ned to lusting after Holland was dead. Just saying…

Joan and Holland were honestly surprised about how much their marriage was being objected. Like Holland said at some point “I didn’t know the King cared that much” or something like that. Umm, you marry the king’s cousin without permission and you think he won’t mind? Idiots.

The book would have been much more interesting told from Queen Philippa’s POV and to see why she did the things she did. Joan just wasn’t interesting enough to carry the book.

1/5

Published: Broadway Books (2014)
Format: ebook
Source: netgalley

reviews

The Killing of Richard III by Robert Farrington

The Killing of Richard III by Robert Farrington

1483: King Edward IV dies, leaving two innocent young princes in line to the throne. But when scandal and conspiracy explodes around their claim, Richard of Gloucester is proclaimed king. Shortly after, the princes vanish, and storm clouds begin to gather around the newly crowned King Richard III.

Fighter, philanderer and royal spy Henry Morane is tasked with investigating the princes’ disappearance, the attempted kidnap of the exiled Lancastrian leader Henry Tudor and the hunting out of traitors amid Richard’s supporters.

And at the bloody battle of Bosworth Field, King Richard and Henry Morane will face a fatal trial that will dictate the path of history. (back cover)

When Henry Morane, chief clerk to the King’s Secretary, finds out he’s mistress is also William Stanley’s mistress, he’s in for a trouble. Even more so when Alice slips information about rebellion that is going to happen. After attempted murder the king sends him to Brittany to capture Henry Tudor. He fails but will notice he’s life is intervened with the king.

The book started little slow and at first I was wondering where this was leading but it picked up towards the end.

I liked Morane and his humour and I was interested to see what will happen to him. He fought at Tewkesbury and remained loyal to the Yorkist cause and to Richard III during everything that happened.
After Stanley’s men tried to kill him, he was found and saved by woman named Matilda. I wasn’t huge fan of Matilda by herself and she was little annoying but I loved to see Matilda and Morane together. Their relationship and bickering was so much fun to read. Matilda could use a knife and kill but would suddenly just cry and sob and at times I just wanted to shake her. But she wouldn’t do anything just because Morane told her to and I liked her for it.

I liked how Richard III was portrayed but it took some getting used to how Francis Lovell was. He wasn’t evil but not exactly likeable either. I found it odd how everyone was calling the king as Dickon. Not to his face but when talking someone they kept calling him Dickon. I can be wrong but I didn’t think calling someone by nickname was that common back then?
I thought the idea that Elizabeth Woodville and Jane Shore were in good terms was interesting one.

“They were on good terms, those two, the Queen and the royal mistress, although they rarely lost the opportunity of sinking their barbs into each other.”
Pg. 1

I’ve never come across that anyone has suggested that but it was an interesting notion.

The book ends just after the battle of Bosworth Field where also Henry Morane fought and trying not to tell too much but I thought the book stopped too soon after the battle.

3.5/5

Published: Sphere (2013)
Format: Paperback
Pages: 401
Source: publisher

reviews

My Lord John by Georgette Heyer

My Lord John by Georgette Heyer

John, Duke of Bedford grew to manhood fighting for his father, Henry IV of England. A prince of the royal blood, loyal, strong, the greatest ally that his brother — the future Henry V — was to have. Filled with the clash of bitter rivalries and deadly power struggles, this is Georgette Heyer’s last and most ambitious novel. (Goodreads)

I don’t think I’ve ever read anything about this era so I spent more time on google than reading and thank goodness for character list! But it’s so annoying and confusing when you can’t call someone the same name the whole time. I mean there’s half dozen Henry/Harry, John, Richard, Hugh, Thomas… No need confusing the reader by calling the person sometimes by their given name and other time by their title.

It was also quite slow to read. Heyer has tried writing how people spoke at the fifteenth century and it slows down the reading. There were many times I had to read the sentence few times to understand it.

I liked how John was portrayed and the scenes that focused on him but at times I felt like I was having history lesson instead of reading historical fiction.

Heyer died before the trilogy was finished, but did the book had to end in mid sentence?! Even if the manuscript breaks off like that. What were the editors thinking!

I liked this more than The Conqueror but I still wouldn’t recommend this.

2,5/5
Published: Pan (1975)
Format: Paperback
Pages: 384
Source: library