Tag Archives: Margaret of York

Heroines of Historical Novels by Anne Easter Smith

“I use the skeleton of history. The history of the time and the people who made that history. That is the skeleton of my books, but then what happens, I elaborate on that with dialog and themes…” AES

Rose for the CrownA Rose for the Crown, By Anne Easter Smith
-Kate Haute, the little-known mistress of Richard, Duke of Gloucester, later King Richard III., and mother of his children.

This story is told from the view of Kate Haute, a lively and happy young girl from humble beginnings. She saw Richard of Gloucester as a friend, a lover and a good father to their illegitimate children. As the years go by, Kate more and more prefers privacy for herself and her children, even though they could be kept in a style befitting Richard’s status. Kate’s early upbringing and her morals, just did not allow her to parade in public as his mistress, especially once he married Anne Neville.

I enjoyed this book, it was entertaining and it brought a ‘new’ person into the world of the Yorks, Lancasters, Nevilles, etc. Ms. Smith once again made 600 pages fly by with her attention to detail, explanations of court protocol, as well as describing the day to day activities during the 1400s.

Daughter YorkDaughter of York, By Anne Easter Smith
-Margaret of York, Duchess of Burgundy, and sister of Edward IV, had everything any woman could want.

Margaret becomes a political pawn for her brother, King Edward IV, but this is no surprise for her. She was brought up to understand her place in the York family, that being duty to Country and Crown. Marg of York, sis of E4 Margaret is in love with Anthony Woodville, brother to Queen Elizabeth (Woodville), her brother’s wife, however she is betrothed to Charles of Burgundy.

In her role as a royal European duchess, Margaret was well respected for her intelligence and a clear understanding of politics. After the death of her husband, Margaret truly became invaluable to Burgundy. To her stepdaughter, Mary, now Duchess of Burgundy, she gave guidance and support. After the death of her brothers, Margaret of York supported anyone willing to challenge Tudor, and backed both Lambert Simnel and Perkin Warbeck, even going so far as to acknowledge Warbeck as her nephew, the younger son of Edward IV, the Duke of York.

One interesting piece of history added to this story is the introduction of the printing press by William Caxton, a tradesman, who came into contact with the household of Margaret of Burgundy. She became his patron and in 1474 he published the first book printed in the English language, “Recuyell of the Historyes of Troye”.

Ed4 & family
Caxton showing the first specimen of his printing to King Edward IV and Queen Elizabeth at the Almonry, Westminster

The characterizations for this book are wonderful. I thoroughly enjoyed getting to know and understand Margaret, due to the expert research Ms. Smith puts into her work. Truthfully this is one of the very few books I’ve read more than once because of the interesting subject, the flow of the story line, and the character, one that I’d like to know more about. Sometimes it’s hard to remember this is fiction, yes based on history, but the author does take liberties at times.


The King’s Grace, By Anne Easter Smith
-Grace Plantagenet, illegitimate daughter of King Edward IV

So who was Grace Plantagenet? She has only one mention in history, the fact that she rode on the funeral barge of Queen Elizabeth (Woodville). Obviously this gives an author a wide range to work with. Ms. Smith, as always, rises to the task giving a believable scenario. As a illegitimate daughter of a King, Grace, a shy, lovely young girl grows to womanhood during turbulent times. She’s lucky enough to be brought to court by her father and his wife, Elizabeth takes Grace to be a lady-in-waiting. As life goes, Edward dies, but Grace continues to stay with Elizabeth for many years to come. During these times, she learns what it’s like to be part of the royal family, which is not as glamorous as it seems from the outside.

Once again the research on everything from dresses to swords to politics is detailed and well presented. This is any easy read, not as much war and battle, but anyone with an interest in this time period will enjoy the book.

royal mistressRoyal Mistress, By Anne Easter Smith
-Jane Shore, mistress of Edward IV

Jane Shore’s Role in Royal Mistress,
SimonSchuslerVideos discussed by A.E.S

Jane Shore, a mistress to King Edward IV. True name Elizabeth Shore. She was well brought up, and married young to William Shore, a goldsmith. She attracted the notice of Edward IV, and soon after 1470, leaving her husband, she became the king’s mistress. Edward called her the merriest of his concubines, and she exercised great influence. After Edward’s death she was mistress to William Hastings, and may perhaps have been the intermediary between him and Elizabeth Woodville. After Hastings’ execution, Jane became the mistress of Thomas Grey, Marquess of Dorset, son of Elizabeth Woodville by her first husband.

Once again a detailed research project translates into a good book, where relationships are developed, hearts are on fire, and hearts are broken.

queen by rightQueen By Right, By Anne Easter Smith
-Cecily, Duchess of York, mother of Edward IV & Richard III

Cicely was the youngest of the 22 children of Ralph Neville, 1st Earl of Westmoreland and Countess Joan Beaufort. Her maternal grandparents were John of Gaunt, 1st Duke of Lancaster (and third son of Edward III and Philippa of Hainault) and Katherine Swynford. Cecily Neville is the ancestor of every English monarch from Edward IV to present day.

Cecily married her childhood friend, Richard, Duke of York. Their marriage was a love match, unusual for those times, but it was their strength together as a united front that was supportive to Richard as he challenged the crown.

By 1485 Cicely was alone. Her husband and three sons had died in The War of the Roses. Devoting herself to religious duties late in life, Cicely Neville died in 1495 at the incredible age of 80 years!

What do I think about his book? I was totally immersed in the life and times of the York family, with Cecily holding the family together, loving and protecting each of them, while at the same time running the castle. Not much different than mothers today. Ms. Smith really set the stage for a deeper understanding of the War of the Roses. The details of each character makes them come alive on the page and once again the research pays off by delivering another well told tale of historical fiction.


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