Tuesday, October 9, 2012
New Review: Sandra Worth’s THE ROSE OF YORK: LOVE AND WAR – A Great Love Story Wrapped in Excellent Historical Fiction
LOVE AND WAR tells of Richard and Anne’s early life, before he became king, when they were first childhood friends and then bonded sweethearts, though still in their teens.
As a young boy, Richard of Gloucester (“Dickon”) is forced to flee England with his cousin, the Earl of Warwick (“the Kingmaker”), to save his life and that of his brother, George, while his older brother Edward stays to fight the Lancasters. When Richard returns at the age of 9, he meets 7-year-old Anne Neville, Warwick’s daughter, and the two children instantly recognize each other as kindred spirits.
Though Anne eventually is forced to marry the Lancaster heir, Edouard, son of Marguerite d’Anjou, he is slain in battle, and she and Richard finally hope to marry. Instead, because of treachery by Richard’s brother George, the couple encounters another devastating obstacle that threatens to part them forever.
You will be amazed at how these young people, as young teens, accomplished so much and carried such a great weight of responsibility. If it weren’t history you would criticize the author for making the young characters seem too adult. But it really happened the way she presents it.
Worth writes well, captures the feel of the late medieval period, and weaves history into an absorbing tale like a rich tapestry. But in telling that history, there is much sadness, too, so be prepared. While the trilogy tells of the love between Richard and Anne (and that of other couples as well), it is not romance in the classic sense. Yes there is a happy ending (at least for this first book), but it is more historical biography or historical fiction that features as a central theme the love story of the main character.
Parts of it are truly depressing, not because of Worth’s storytelling, but because of the tumultuous time in England’s history and an English court the author describes as “rotten with intrigue,” where treachery abounded, good men were betrayed for a king’s whim and slain for the threat they presented, the dreadful Elizabeth Woodville (commoner Queen of England) plotted to end her rivals, and honorable mean were slain.
If you like a lot of history with your love stories and find the wars between the Houses of York and Lancaster fascinating, this is the series for you. All three of the books are related since they are the continuing saga of Richard’s life.
NOTE: Sandra Worth will be a guest on this blog on October 31, 2012, so take a look at her interview and meet the author!
The Rose of York trilogy:
LOVE AND WAR
THE CROWN OF DESTINY
FALL FROM GRACE
NOTE: The cover features the painting Godspeed by Blair Leighton. (See my article on that wonderful artist of medieval romantic paintings here: http://reganromancereview.blogspot.com/2012/09/the-beautiful-art-of-edmund-blair.html.)