This novel can be read as a standalone novel or in a series, the series is The Rose of York series. In the series there are numerous other titles: Love and War, Crown of Destiny, and lastly Fall From Grace. I have read two other novels by Sandra, Lady of the Roses and The Kings Daughter. Lady of the Roses was a wonderful read that planted a seed for my fledgling love of The War of the Roses.
Anne Neville knew nothing but civil war her whole life. Her father “the kingmaker” was dead, her sister, brother in-laws, and pretty much the whole Neville family were lost to tragic circumstances that surrounded the war of the roses. All had perished and when her husband’s brother King Edward IV of England died suddenly England was instantly plunged back into civil war. Richard in his brother will was to be basically regent for his young nephews, Edward V and Richard of Shrewsbury, Duke of York. The now dowager queen and young boy’s mother Elizabeth Woodville made a play for power after Richard foils her plans to take over as regent for her sons. After her attempt failed she fled into sanctuary with her other children while Richard kept the boys in the tower for their own protection. While the boys were in the tower Richard uncovers a deeply hidden secret that Edward IV was married before he married Elizabeth Woodville, there for their marriage was declared bigamous and the children were deemed illegitimate. With the boys now illegitimate Richard was now king of England even if he had wanted it or not now there was no choice he was king.
King Richard and Queen Anne tried to rule with the kindness and fairness that legendary king Arthur ruled with. It was not the easiest thing to do given that in the past all everyone knew was brother against brother, questionable loyalties, and an unquenchable thirst for revenge of the loved ones that were lost in the brutal war of the roses. It was revenge that kept adding fuel to the fire that kept the royal cousins houses of York and Lancaster feuding since Henry V passed away and left his son Henry VI a child king on the throne of England. The greatest mystery of the war is the missing princes; it still has yet to be solved. What really happened to the boys and who played a larger role in the events of their downfall, it is one question that is specifically covered in this novel.
As Richard and Anne struggle to hold England everything they ever loved is slowly stripped away from them. With the red dragon Henry Tudor closing in on Richard’s heels he questions every man’s loyalty. Only in the end would all the players of this tragic war finally show all the cards they had been playing with. It was a win or die quest for the crown of England.
4.5/5 loved it but I wish I had read the other ones first. At barely 250 pages this really was a deep book. It is not the quick read type of book because the characters and events are more complex during the war of the roses. One aspect of this book I loved was the references and tie in’s to Sandra’s previous novels. I really enjoyed Richard and Anne’s mentions of lost loved ones like Isobel and John Neville. One thing about this book that is unique is it is more of the humanistic view of Richard. To me Sandra’s Richard felt more real, more emotional, and just more human in general. As we all know no one is perfect and that even includes kings. I personally really enjoy reading the different prospective on the war of the roses but I have noticed a trend of fierce defense in or against Richard and his involvement of the disappearance of the lost princes. I am one of those readers that always go into a read with a very open mind because I have read so much fiction and non-fiction on the subject that I think I have my own conclusions of what really went down. This book to me was probable and honestly I read it and loved it. I do have to admit that to read as a standalone novel one must possess a prior knowledge of the war of the roses. I really enjoyed even the afterward; Francis Viscount Lovell was by far the most shocking to me.
FTC-Sent by Author
PG-13 rating for Violence.
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