Thursday, May 23, 2013

Review: "Royal Mistress" by Anne Easter Smith

From Goodreads:  Jane Lambert, the quick-witted and alluring daughter of a silk merchant, is twenty-two and still unmarried. When Jane’s father finally finds her a match, she’s married off to the dull, older silk merchant William Shore—but her heart belongs to another. Marriage doesn’t stop Jane Shore from flirtation, however, and when the king’s chamberlain and friend, Will Hastings, comes to her husband’s shop, Will knows his King will find her irresistible.

Edward IV has everything: power, majestic bearing, superior military leadership, a sensual nature, and charisma. And with Jane as his mistress, he also finds true happiness. But when his hedonistic tendencies get in the way of being the strong leader England needs, his life, as well as that of Jane Shore and Will Hastings, hang in the balance.

This dramatic tale has been an inspiration to poets and playwrights for 500 years, and told through the unique perspective of a woman plucked from obscurity and thrust into a life of notoriety, Royal Mistress is sure to enthrall today’s historical fiction lovers as well.

My Thoughts: I love all of Anne Easter Smith's books and Royal Mistress is no different.  It is a wonderfully well-written story that I could not put down.  I think Edward IV is a really interesting historical figure and Royal Mistress provides a look at the end of his reign from a very unique perspective.

Jane Shore was one of Edward IV's mistresses and the author made her into a truly fascinating character.  She was a strong-minded woman who knew what she wanted and wasn't afraid to go after it.  I thought it was so interesting to see a woman in that era actively  pursue an annulment because of her unsatisfactory marital situation.  I don't know if I have seen that before and I thought it was really neat. 

This story focused not only on Jane Shore but also on the rise of Richard III.  I really enjoyed the sections that highlighted Richard's rise to power and the downfall of Jane Shore and I liked how the author portrayed Richard.  She didn't make him out to be a villain; Easter Smith's Richard III is a much more complex character and I think that added a lot to the story.

Like all of her books, Royal Mistress had an extensive author's note at the end of the book that discussed what was fictional and what wasn't as well as where the author got all the information about the characters in her story.  This was an extremely well-researched story; I love that Royal Mistress is not only a great read and that the author is very clear about where her information is coming from.  I hate when authors make claims about historical figures with no evidence to back it up.  

If you are fan of the Plantagenets, or historical fiction in general, I highly recommend Royal Mistress!  4 stars.


  1. I've loved Anne Easter Smith's books so I can't wait to read this. My favorite of hers was A Rose for the Crown, and hearing that this books deals with the rise of Richard III, I'm hopping for a few cameos from the characters from that book as well.

    1. A Rose for the Crown is probably my favorite as well!


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