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Monday, June 13, 2011
Review: Queen By Right by Anne Easter Smith
Genre: Historical Fiction
Trade Paperback, 484 pages
Book Source: Historical fiction Virtual Book Tours
My Rating: 97/100
From HF Virtual Book Tours:
In Cecily Neville, duchess of York and ancestor of every English monarch to the present day, Anne has found her most engrossing character yet. Cecily earned two monikers from her contemporaries: Rose of Raby for her fair-haired beauty and Proud Cis for her fierce loyalty and courage in the face of the many history-making events she experienced in her eighty years. This was a woman who could have been queen had her husband lived to win the day over Henry VI and his queen, Margaret of Anjou, in the winter of 1461.
History remembers Cecily of York standing on the steps of Ludlow Castle, facing an attacking army while holding the hands of her two young sons. Queen by Right reveals how she came to step into her destiny, beginning with her marriage to Richard, Duke of York who she meets when she is nine and he is thirteen. Raised together in her father’s household, they become a true love match, and together they face personal tragedies, pivotal events of history, and deadly political intrigue.
All of England knows that Richard has a clear claim to the throne, and when King Henry VI becomes unfit to rule, Cecily must put aside her own hopes and fears and help her husband decide what is right for their family and the kingdom. As civil war escalates between the cousins of Lancaster and York, Cecily will lose her love, her favorite brother and her dearest child. But in the end, she will watch proudly as her oldest son takes his father’s place at the head of a victorious army and is crowned at Westminster Abbey as King Edward IV.
Over the years I have read many books involving someone from the War of the Roses, but never have I read about Cecily Neville (York). Proud Cis always lurked on the periphery, letting her displeasure of her son's marriage to that Woodeville girl or her disdain of Margaret of Anjou be known. Always very proud and protective of her family, it seemed as though I would never really learn about who Proud Cis was and why, until now.
Queen By Right gives us Cecily Neville's story from when she was a little girl and the apple of her father's eye. She met her future husband, Richard of York, through her father's guardianship of the young future Earl. From there, Richard and Cecily became fast friends and then eventually married. History always describes them as a love match and this story shows us why. Richard and Cecily were truly best friends and lovers.
The book begins shortly after Richard is killed at Wakefield, and Cecily is remembering her life with Richard. The events that AE Smith chooses to tell bring life to Cecily and Richard. Smith made these two historical characters real for me. We grow with Cecily as she matures into a young woman, desperately trying to control her tongue and manners. We share Cecily's hopes and dreams, and her worries when she believes she may have steered her husband onto a dangerous path. But regardless of the outcome, Cecily will stand by Richard, through thick and thin. And to top it all off, they love each other deeply. Richard and Cecily are a strong powerful couple in a time when families were being torn apart. Smith's story made me feel for both of these strong individuals.
This book is definitely from the Yorkist point of view, but that only makes me want to read a book featuring the Lancastrian view. Also, knowing the history of Cecily's children later in life, made me wonder as to what was going through these children's minds as adults. Why would brother turn against brother? Or their family at all? Promises of power do corrupt I guess.
This was excellent book about a character I knew very little about. The pages went by quickly and I actually stopped reading it for a while because I didn't want it to end. Therefore, I highly recommend this book.
The book also includes an Author's Notes section and a Q&A with AE Smith that is very informative.
For more information, please visit Anne's website: http://www.anneeastersmith.com/
Thanks again to Historical Fiction Virtual Book Tours for including me in the fun and sending me the review copy.
2011 Challenges Met: HF, Chunkster Challenge
Review: Queen By Right by Anne Easter Smith
HF Virtual Book Tours|War of the Roses|