TITLE: Queen By Right: A Novel
AUTHOR: Anne Easter Smith
INFO: Paperback, Fiction, 484 pages
PUBLISHED: Touchstone, 2011
SOURCE: Received from Publisher for Review and Blog Tour
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 TAKE: I had never read much in depth about Cecily of York before reading this book. Anne Easter Smith has really outdone herself in making this fascinating woman relatable and accessible while still keeping to the historical facts of her life.
It was an engrossing story as we followed the pampered and precocious Cecily from an eight year old young lady to the imposing and impressive woman who would help steer history in her own huge way. The young "Cis" knew that Richard Plantagenet was the one for her even as they were promised to each other at the ages of eight and "Dickon's" whopping twelve. Their childhood crush grows into a deep love and a true partnership that was quite unusual for the times and for their position in society. The story is an interesting look into how things may have been for the dynamic pair with a direct claim on the English throne and a prominent place in history.
I was impressed with Ms. Smith's treatment of Joan of Arc's role in part of the story. It was easy to see both sides of the situation but Cecily's initial meeting with the heroine or heretic, depending on your point of view, was very gripping and emotional. That entire thread in the tale had me riveted as I knew what was to happen, but the way the author dealt with it really stuck with me and kept me thinking about it. Cecily's feelings and observations were a very useful vehicle for taking the reader through this important moment in history. It also shed an interesting light on the Duchess of York and how her quick mind worked.
A great reader's guide and glossary are included in the back of the book. I found both of these additions to be very helpful in organizing my thoughts once I'd finished the story. I think the reader's guide will be especially valuable for book club discussions. I've already recommended this book for one of our upcoming club picks and I think anyone even remotely interested in history needs to pick up this book. It was entertaining, educational and is a lovely addition to my keeper shelf.
WHERE TO BUY IT: Amazon and The Book Depository
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