Monday, June 13, 2011

Review: "Queen by Right" by Anne Easter Smith

From Goodreads:  From the award-winning author of A Rose for the Crown, Daughter of York, and The King’s Grace comes another masterful historical novel—the story of Cecily of York, mother of two kings and the heroine of one of history’s greatest love stories. Anne Easter Smith’s novels are beloved by readers for their ability “to grab you, sweep you along with the story, and make you fall in love with the characters.”
• In Cecily Neville, duchess of York and ancestor of every English monarch to the present day, she has found her most engrossing character yet.History remembers Cecily of York standing on the steps of the Market Cross at Ludlow, 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, whom 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 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 hopes and fears and help her husband decide what is right for their family and their country. Queen by Right marks Anne Easter Smith’s greatest achievement, a book that every fan of sweeping, exquisitely detailed historical fiction will devour.

My Thoughts:  I have thoroughly enjoyed every one of Anne Easter Smith's books.  They all center around the Wars of the Roses but Queen by Right looks at this period from a completing different perspective.  Cecily Neville, Duchess of York, was the wife of the man who began the push to depose Henry VI of England and this book is told from her point of view.  Anne Easter Smith made Cecily Neville into an extremely strong and admirable character who had to deal with such adversity.  One of the things I liked best about this book is that the author really made the reader see how much of a family feud the Wars of the Roses actually were.  While Cecily Neville was married to a York, she herself was born a Lancastrian and it seemed throughout the novel that these battles put family member against family member.  Cecily Neville was also the mother of two kings, Edward IV and Richard III, and the author gave the reader a picture of these two as children.  Whether or not they really behaved that way is irrelevant, it was fun to see these two portrayed as little boys.  Besides the fact that she creates amazing stories, the main reason I love Anne Easter Smith's books is that she is not afraid to tell the reader what is fact and what is fiction.  She never tries to portray her books as being one hundred percent non-fiction and I respect her for that.  If you like historical fiction and have not read her books I highly recommend them. 4 stars.

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