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  • Interesting Woman But Heavy on the Detail

    Generally I’m a fan of Historian Alison Weir’s fiction (I LOVED her Six Tudor Queens series) but I found more flaws (especially during Elizabeth’s early years) in this book, the first of Weir's new series (Tudor Rose). I would rate this one 3.5 stars if I could. ELIZABETH OF YORK, THE LAST WHITE ROSE is a fictional account of the life of the oldest daughter of King Edward IV of England and his wife, Elizabeth Woodville. Elizabeth of York eventually becomes the wife of King Henry VII and together they found the Tudor Dynasty, ancestors of all English monarchs since 1509. Weir’s account of Elizabeth’s life is solid and comprehensive. The traumas of her childhood, uncertainties surrounding prospective marriages, marriage to Henry, and threats to the legitimacy of their claim to the throne are all handled believably. If the author had stuck with just that, I’d have given this book four or five stars. But Weir, an historian by training, felt compelled to include a lot of additional historical detail that felt superfluous so Elizabeth’s story and made the book feel long and in some places clunky. Let me try to explain. • When Elizabeth is still a child, I felt the narrative kept shifting. I think Weir was trying to maintain Elizabeth’s child-appropriate perspective, like referring to “Mother” (instead of Queen Elizabeth Woodville) and “Grandmother” (Jacquetta Woodville). But then Weir would include information or observations that would not be possible coming from a five-year-old. As though the narrator suddenly became omniscient, with the language and sensibilities of an adult. • Weir includes a lot of detail about the politics and shifting allegiances associated with the Wars of the Roses, some of which have little or no impact on Elizabeth’s interests or life. This, I believe, made the book feel overly long. • To include a lot of this extraneous information, Weir again and AGAIN resorts to the same literary device: someone overhearing a conversation between others. WAY overused! I certainly recommend the book for historical fiction fans, those who want to know more about this remarkable woman (the mother of King Henry VIII), and, of course, anyone who loves Tudor England. NOTE #2: If you, like me, believe Richard III innocent of the controversial deaths of the two princes in the Tower, be warned that Weir does not agree.

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  • Riveting

    After the death of her father Edward IV, Elizabeth of York's life is turned upside down. Her brothers are imprisoned in the Tower of London, and her uncle Richard III seizes the throne. Now, she's a pawn in his scheme to shore up his claims to kingship. Richard wants to marry her to secure the succession. Meanwhile, Henry Tudor, Duke of Richmond, is putting together an army to invade and overthrow Richard. Can Henry save her from a forced marriage to the man who's destroying her family? This is a long but riveting book—I didn't want to put it down. The author does a good job of humanizing the historical characters, making the story fresh and interesting. Thanks, NetGalley, for the ARC I received. This is my honest and voluntary review.

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