Jun 03, Marquise rated it really liked it Shelves: wars-of-the-roses , house-of-plantagenet , historical-settings , best-liked-books , historical-fiction , stars , richard-iii. A surprisingly good take on the Wars of the Roses that doesn't have as protagonist any of the usual suspects but a woman few probably know of.
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The story opens with young girl Elizabeth Tilney, affectionately called Bess, at Grafton House on the day Edward of York is expected to arrive to wed Elizabeth Woodville, the marriage that'll cost him his throne later ahead and the enmity of Richard, Earl of Warwick. That's not your common date to start a novel set in this period, is it? Women fretting ove A surprisingly good take on the Wars of the Roses that doesn't have as protagonist any of the usual suspects but a woman few probably know of.
Women fretting over a wedding, not quite the auspicious opening scene. And yet, it works. When the young king arrives, despite Bess is promised to one of his men, Sir Humphrey Bourchier, she falls head over heels for charming Ned, a girlish infatuation that'll shape her life for years to come, as she'll eventually become one of the bunch of one-time mistresses Edward IV will take, and suffer a bit of a disillusionment once she realises it's one-sided and settle into a companionable married life until premature widowhood ends it.
Narrating the story through the eyes of a girl kept mostly outside the politicking and the warring contributes to give the novel a very intimate feel, very domestic and feminine, but despite her place on the sidelines of history, Bess is not kept out altogether either due to her friendship with the Woodvilles pre and post their meteoric rise to power, her own brief liaison with Edward, her role as his queen's lady-in-waiting, her first husband's closeness to the king and her second's closeness to the Duke of Gloucester.
Using a character who's not a member of the York or Lancaster circles by blood isn't unusual in HF, nor is it to use a fictional relative or fictional bosom chum as narrator, but this is the first time I've read a novel telling the tale through a woman who's not a Plantagenet nor remotely linked to them by familial ties, and more uniquely she has a foot on both the 2 major factions: the Woodvilles and the Yorks, and later on the Tudor camp. I very much liked this detail, it provides a bit of a balanced view on the normally cats-and-dogs relationship between Ned's family and Elizabeth's family that's the norm in fiction; and though Bess isn't written to be "likable" precisely in the sense of being dashing and arresting, she endears herself to the reader through her loyal and unassuming personality.
Dymoke's writing is perhaps what I liked best, it's tight and flows smoothly. It isn't heavy but crisp, devoid of bumps for the most part. Can't say whether it's because it was well-edited or Dymoke's writing is always like that, this being the only book I've read of hers, but certainly not the last. That the novel is short, maybe more correctly classified as a novella, also helps because the author doesn't aim to tell a long tale or to cover a large timeframe; this ends with Thomas Howard returning home from imprisonment after the defeat at Bosworth, and since Dymoke is covering a quarter of a century in this much pages, she seems to have thought well what to skip and what to write about.
Not one for biting larger chunks than she can chew, this woman.
I'm adding this to the precious few Wars of the Roses novels I've liked, and would recommend fellow readers interested in Plantagenet history to read it. View all 4 comments. Different take The author, Juliet Dymoke, has taken a fresh approach to the Plantagenet reign by presenting it from the perspective of Lady Howard.
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A good read. If your a history buff you will like these books. The characters flow easily and the author takes you back in time with her words of Knights and damsels in distress, good Kings and bad Kings! This is a heavy read just because of so many different characters whose own names change with new titles, so following the family tree could be a challenge. I was surprised the book didn't have a glossary for that. I really appreciated just the history of these stories and the natural flow of the storylines.
Great series I enjoyed the entire series. I am not sure why, but the 5th book dragged somewhat. This and the rest were highly compelling. If you love English history, I highly recommend.
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Feb 08, Robin rated it it was amazing. I read this book years ago and I still dream pieces of it. Amazing I would dream in old english language when reading it. View all 3 comments. Jul 09, Nicole rated it really liked it. Love Plantagenets and Tudors.
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About Juliet Dymoke. Juliet Dymoke. He studied in the University of Copenhagen from ; and, like some other eminent men, did not greatly distinguish himself; his mind was too active and his imagination too versatile to bear the restraint of the academic course. After leaving the university he took to teaching; first in Langeland, then in Copenhagen. Here he devoted his attention to poetry, literature, and Northern antiquities. In he became assistant to his father in a parish in Jutland.
Grundtvig Translator: S. Rodholm Meter: 9. Grundtvig Meter : 9, 9, 8, 8, 8, 8.
The Sun In Splendor (The Plantagenets, #6) by Juliet Dymoke
Contact us Advertisements. Skip to main content. Home Page. Source: Hymns and Hymnwriters of Denmark Author: N. Translator: S.