We've gone from the medieval match of Charles V of England to the final moments
of Richard III's disputed reign. Now, to the resolution of the struggle!
Elizabeth of York, who ended the bloodshed by uniting the two warring
factions, is the featured heroine of several novels. Daughter of Edward IV, she
wed Henry Tudor, exiled knight who defeated Richard III at the Battle of
Bosworth Field to become Henry VII.
ROSE: THE STORY OF THE QUEEN WHO UNITED A KINGDOM AND BIRTHED A DYNASTY by
Barnes England seethes with turmoil as Richard III seeks to legitimize his
rule and defeat opponents who claim he seized the throne illegally. Elizabeth,
only remaining legitimate descendant of Edward IV, has the most indisputable
claim to the kingdom. Both her uncle Richard and the Lancastrian Henry Tudor
seek to use her to further their cause; the man who wins her will control the
destiny of England.
Historical fiction veteran Jean Plaidy weighs in
with another account of the struggle in TO HOLD THE CROWN: THE STORY OF
KING HENRY VII AND ELIZABETH OF YORK. After fourteen years of exile in
Brittany, Henry Tudor returns to defeat Richard III in battle. But his claim to
the throne was still tenuous; only his marriage to the legitimate Plantagenet
heiress, Elizabeth of York, could solidify it. From a union born of political
necessity, Plaidy creates a tale of a loving marriage whose long duration and
seven children began the Tudor age.
Worth offers another account in THE KING'S DAUGHTER: A NOVEL OF
THE FIRST TUDOR QUEEN. Surprisingly little is known about "Elizabeth
the Good," mother of the notorious Henry VIII, a woman torn between the
rival claims of two dynasties. Woven into Worth's story about Elizabeth of York
are the machinations of her mother, Edward IV's queen Elizabeth Neville Gray (THE WHITE QUEEN and
others,) her grandmother Jacquetta (LADY OF THE RIVERS) and
Henry Tudor's mother Margaret Beaufort (THE RED QUEEN).
But even the marriage of Elizabeth and Henry didn't completely end the saga:
there was still the question of what happened to Edward IV's missing sons.
One view of this intrigue is presented in THE KING'S GRACE by Anne Easter Smith,
narrated by another unusual heroine, Grace Plantagenet. Illegitimate
daughter of Edward IV and family confident, Grace was close to her
half-brothers, the princes in the Tower, and distraught when they disappeared.
Years later, with Richard dead and Henry VII on the throne, a man named Perkin
Warbeck appears at court, claiming to be her missing half-brother, Prince
Richard—the legitimate heir to the throne. Torn between affection for her
half-sister Elizabeth of York, who is now Henry VII's queen, and
love for her lost nephews, Grace determines to uncover the truth of Warbeck's claim.
Sandra Worth ends her
Rose of England series with her version of the controversy, PALE ROSE OF ENGLAND. Was
Perkin Warbeck the missing Prince Richard of the Tower? His wife, Lady
Catherine Gordon of Scotland, has no doubt. With royal courts abuzz with
intrigue and the support of Scotland's King James IV, she sets off with her
husband to establish his claim. But her dazzling beauty draws the unwelcome
attention of the Tudor king, even as her husband's threat to his reign sends
Richard to the Tower.
The final entry in the Warbeck saga is THE COURTS OF ILLUSION by
Rosemary Hawley Jarman. Told by Nicholas
Archer, estranged from his family who supported Richard III after the Battle of
Bosworth Field, he becomes one of Richard of York's most trusted aides. Jarman
paints a vivid picture of fifteenth century life as Richard and his loyal
supporter journey across Europe, seeking support for Richard's cause.
Had enough of the Wars of the Roses? Next time, we'll venture further back,
into the schemes and intrigues of late medieval England. Until then, here's to
history that refreshes!
Previous War of the Roses
The Sweetbriar's Thorns: Wars
Of The Roses Part I
The Sweetbriar's Thorns: Wars
Of The Roses Part II
Julia Justiss is the
author of several historical romances including her latest, SOCIETY'S MOST DISREPUTABLE
3 comments posted.
Am really surprised the best book about Richard and his brother edward and the end of The War of The Roses has not even been mentioned here. It is Sunnne in Splendour by the Superb Sharon Penman
(Jayne Smith 3:42pm July 6, 2012)
So far, I haven't been able to get my hands on any of these Historicals, BUT I'm DYING to read them! ;) Hopefully on the first of the month I will be lucky enough to get one of these books! My all-time favorite type of books to read are Historicals!! I love being transfered through time to these enchanting places. :)
(Quetzi Fernald 2:23am August 12, 2012)
Julia, I find the Wars of the Roses intriguing. Any war offers the opportunity for
character conflict, but a civil war is particularly rife with it. I own the Rosemary
Hawley Jarman and the Anne Easter Smith, though I haven't read the latter. I'm
with Jayne in loving The Sunne in Splendour.
(Nancy Northcott 4:26pm September 10, 2012)