Series: Cousins's War, 5
Author: Philippa Gregory
Links: click image
Caught between loyalties, the mother of the Tudors must choose between the red rose and the white.
Philippa Gregory, #1 New York Times bestselling author and “the queen of royal fiction” (USA Today), presents the latest Cousins’ War novel, the remarkable story of Elizabeth of York, daughter of the White Queen.
When Henry Tudor picks up the crown of England from the mud of Bosworth field, he knows he must marry the princess of the enemy house—Elizabeth of York—to unify a country divided by war for nearly two decades.
But his bride is still in love with his slain enemy, Richard III—and her mother and half of England dream of a missing heir, sent into the unknown by the White Queen. While the new monarchy can win power, it cannot win hearts in an England that plots for the triumphant return of the House of York.
Henry’s greatest fear is that somewhere a prince is waiting to invade and reclaim the throne. When a young man who would be king leads his army and invades England, Elizabeth has to choose between the new husband she is coming to love and the boy who claims to be her beloved lost brother: the rose of York come home at last.
My Thoughts About the Book:
Reading through history and then reading this book makes you sympathize heavily with Elizabeth of York. She was a girl who lost her father and supposedly the man she loved in Richard III, suspected murderer of her two brothers, but she ended up marrying Henry VII, a King by Conquest. From other things I've read of Henry VII, it explains Henry VIII's behavior to some degree.
People say Elizabeth of York is a weak character and yet I found her to be one of one three strong characters in this book, the other two being her cousin Margaret Warrick and Katherine Huntely. Elizabeth struggled through a marriage to a paranoid and suspicious husband. She was subject to the whims of his mother and she could do nothing while her cousin was held captive in the Tower of London.
A lot of references simply stay that Elizabeth of York and Henry VII must have been in love because they seemed happy and yet I can't help but look at this story and some of histories facts and wonder how true that really was?
I somehow doubt Elizabeth simply gave up being loyal to a mother she'd loved for so long or a family she'd been a big part of for so long. The idea that Henry would just love her and completely trust her seems far-fetched but not in the realm of impossibility.
Now for this book and this dramatized story...
I felt extremely bad for Elizabeth of York. Her husband was emotionally abusive and seemed to have some kind of dual personality which suggested bipolar (often associated with Henry VIII). In this story, he was rarely kind to her. Her life was often run by his mother and she had to sit by and watch her cousin and brother be murdered.
How can she be weak when she endures so much and keeps going.
In this book, Elizabeth seemed just as imprisoned as her cousin Teddy (which is one of the saddest parts of this entire book).
And if history is true to say that Teddy did finally escape and betray Henry VII, who could blame him?
Henry's spying and taxation seemed astounding and then so utterly familiar in this day of governments watching everything we do and taxing us until we can't afford a gallon of milk. It seems to me we haven't come as far as we imagine and instead of a King forcing us into these things... we have Prime Ministers and Presidents... which we've sadly voted into office only to have no vote in all the ill conceived ideas they come up with.
Part of me truly hopes that Elizabeth Woodville, Elizabeth of York's mother, did plot against Henry at every turn. I have always found her story infinitely more appealing.
Oh let's not forget the curse both Elizabeth's laid on the man who killed the boys in the tower. This is likely all for the book but what a powerful side story. Henry and his mother assume that Richard III killed the boys which would be why his son died but it is Henry VII who will lose Arthur his first born, and his grandson Edward who will die after Henry VIII. The Tudor line does end with a childless Virgin bride in Elizabeth I. So that was a great and interesting twist.
Elizabeth of York goes to her husband on the eve of the false boy or Richard IV's death with this curse afraid that if the false boy is in fact her brother that the curse will fall upon their heirs.
So I wonder, did that mean that the false boy was actually Richard her brother or that Henry and his mother also had something do to with the deaths of the boys in the tower. I often wondered.
History can be so fascinating.