Just trying to lay out Cecily’s pedigree and family ties is impossible to cover in one book review. I wish I could but that is a book all by itself. One key piece of info on her I had not known was her father Ralph Neville 1st Earl of Westmorland was married twice. First it was to Margaret de Stafford with nine children, second to Cecily’s mother Joan Beaufort. Joan had a whopping fourteen children with the earl and it was even said to be a love match. I was really surprised when I found out Joan’s parents were none other than John of Gaunt and later wife Katherine Swynford. I really enjoyed that even in a large family Cecily found her individuality and as a child was a head strong little tom boy that held her father’s affection from the very beginning. Joan had even said she was “spoilt by her father”. When she was around nine years old the newly orphaned Duke of York came to the Neville household under her father’s care. Of course her father was hoping to get York into the family by marriage and Cecily made the perfect fit.
The two could not have been a more perfect match and I am genuinely in love with the realistic personalities Anne conveyed in this novel. Cecily with her passion for Jeanne d’Arc and Richard with his need for recognition at court, the pair were the stuff movies and legends are made of. They really seemed an unstoppable force at court but fate would throw the couple to and fro in a violent storm that became England in the years leading up to The War of the Roses. Richard was such a loveable character and Cecily was so smart to recognize a good man when she saw one, I won’t give spoilers but the marriage proposal to Cecily is a riot. Richard it seemed had an infectious laugh or “neigh” and each time it was mentioned I found myself snickering to myself. I have to admit there was one that I quoted below that made me laugh so hard it made my stomach hurt.
“A neigh of laughter ricocheted off the rafters of the old great hall, abruptly halting conversation in the rest of the room”. At the Wedding
Happiness between the couple came to a crossroads when the case of the French woman Jeanne d’Arc came to English authority. York was involved with the proceedings since he was a high ranking Duke and I have to admit Cecily’s link to Jeanne was well tied into the novel. Leave it to Proud Cis to show genuine compassion where others had failed miserably. Life for the Yorks even after Jeanne was gone was hard but they say a rose that blossoms in diversity is the rarest most beautiful of its kind and Cecily would become that rose. I admire the fact that the couple did what most couples did in the face of adversity they held onto their love and took whatever the future threw at them even if it was The War of the Roses.
- FTC~This novel was sent to me by the publisher for review.
- R~Rating for sexual references and violence.
Queen By Right: A Novel
The King's Grace: A Novel
A Rose for the Crown: A Novel
Daughter of York: A Novel