Sunday, May 2, 2010

Historical Reviews

Within the Hollow Crown
Margaret Campbell Barnes
Sourcebooks, Apr 2010, $14.99
ISBN: 9781402239212


Unlike his father Edward the Black prince, his grandfather Edward III, or his namesake Richard the Lionhearted, Richard Plantagenet never wanted to be king. However, in 1377 at eleven years old, he is crowned ruler of England under the control of a Regency Council led by his Uncle John of Gaunt. He hated their control and was pleased with parliament’s dissolution of the Council though his Uncle John remained his top advisor. However, it was his happy marriage to Anne of Bohemia that gave him the strength and spirit to make difficult decisions in a strife torn kingdom; as his prime goal was to end the Hundred Years War and other such conflicts. He proved successful at fourteen when he ended the Peasants' Revolt. England prospered under his valiant rule until his beloved Anne died in 1394. Richard II was never the same and soon was betrayed by his cousin.

This is a fascinating work of biographical fiction that will remind readers of the Shakespeare tragedy as a great ruler falls apart after his heart dies along with his beloved Anne. Written in 1948, Within the Hollow Crown holds up as a strong historical fiction that brings to life the late fourteenth century England, a place where intrigue and betrayal outlive a monarch trying to bring peace, harmony, and prosperity to his kingdom. Harriet Klausner


The Stolen Crown: The Secret Marriage That Forever Changed The Fate Of England
Susan Higginbotham
Sourcebooks, Mar 1 2010, $14.99
ISBN: 9781402237669


King Edward IV marries Elizabeth Woodville in secret. Elizabeth’s family, including her six year old sister Kate, is escorted to the royal court. Over time with maturity Kate overcomes her amazement of the regal world to marry the Duke of Buckingham, Harry Stafford.

However, both her biological and marital families are caught in the War of the Roses between the houses of Lancaster and York. While King Edward IV fights to remain on the throne, Harry has to choose between loyalty to his brother-in-law and his best friend Richard, Duke of Gloucester who covets the crown.

This is an entertaining biographical fiction that enables the audience to observe the late fifteenth century royal power struggles through the observations of the beleaguered queen’s younger sister and her spouse. They, especially Harry, are yanked between extended family loyalty and his friend. Fans of English historical fiction anchored by facts will enjoy the exciting saga of The Stolen Crown.
Harriet Klausner

1 comment:

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