Thursday, June 16, 2011

Queen By Right by Anne Easter Smith

"From the award-winning author of A Rose for the Crown, Daughter of York, and The King’s Grace comes another masterful historical novel—the story of Cecily of York, mother of two kings and the heroine of one of history’s greatest love stories.

In Cecily Neville, duchess of York and ancestor of every English monarch to the present day, she has found her most engrossing character yet. History remembers Cecily of York standing on the steps of the Market Cross at Ludlow, facing an attacking army while holding the hands of her two young sons. Queen by Right reveals how she came to step into her destiny, beginning with her marriage to Richard, duke of York, whom she meets when she is nine and he is thirteen. Raised together in her father’s household, they become a true love match and together face personal tragedies, pivotal events of history, and deadly political intrigue. All of England knows that Richard has a clear claim to the throne, and when King Henry VI becomes unfit to rule, Cecily must put aside her hopes and fears and help her husband decide what is right for their family and their country. Queen by Right marks Anne Easter Smith’s greatest achievement, a book that every fan of sweeping, exquisitely detailed historical fiction will devour."

My thoughts:

When I read historical fiction, it is important to me that the author creates a seamless blend of the facts and fiction and evokes an authentic sense of time and place. Of course, I also want to be entertained as well as informed. In Queen By Right, author Anne Easter Smith succeeds on all levels.

Smith's attention to the details of daily life in the 15th century as well as the political and historical events of the period transported me to an intriguing time when claims to the throne of England from the Houses of York and Lancaster eventually resulted in the Wars of the Roses. Even though some readers may have definite loyalties to a particular side of the issue, the journey of Cecily of York is a compelling and poignant one as she evolves from a spirited and independent young girl betrothed at an early age to Richard, Duke of York, into a deeply spiritual, courageous, and devoted wife and mother.

I also commend the author for including helpful guides for the general reader. Queen By Right includes a list of characters and geneology charts, a map, bibliography, glossary, and an author's note detailing a few areas in which Smith used her creativity to embellish her story. (For example, the storyline of Cecily's encounter with Jeanne D'Arc is vividly told and plausible, but there is no evidence that the two historical figures ever met.) Together with her discussion questions at the end of the novel, these additions to the story enriched my knowledge of the period and added to the enjoyment of the story. I'm very much looking forward to reading more of Anne Easter Smith's novels.

Queen by Right was a delight to read and highly recommended for all historical fiction enthusiasts.


4/5 stars

Title: Queen By Right
Author: Anne Easter Smith
Simon and Schuster
genre: historical fiction

Special thanks to Amy @ Historical Fiction Virtual Book Tours.

****I received a copy of Queen by Right by Anne Easter Smith for review from the publisher. I was not compensated for my review, and the thoughts expressed are my own personal opinion.*****


Melissa @ Confessions of an Avid Reader said...

Great review, Joanne. I have yet to read any of Easter Smith's books - I own all but this current release - and after reading all the positive reviews of Queen By Right I'm going to read her first book this summer.

Joanne said...

Hi, Melissa -- That's great! I have collected her other three books, too, and after reading Queen By Right I'm excited to get started on her other novels. I have a great guest post with Anne Easter Smith tomorrow about the heroines in her books, so I hope you'll come back tomorrow to enjoy that. :)

Anjuli said...

This is definitely a book I will enjoy! I'll be looking forward to the guest post tomorrow.

Melissa @ Confessions of an Avid Reader said...

I'll definitely be back tomorrow, Joanne. Looking forward to it.

Pam (@iwriteinbooks) said...

what a lovely and thoughtful review! This is definitely calling to me. I love when historical fiction is well done. Thanks for highlighting this!

Joanne said...

Hi Anjuli & Pam --

Thanks so much for stopping by today and leaving such nice comments. Tomorrow, there's a chance to win a copy, so if you're in the US, take a chance on tomorrow's post! Good luck!

Shoshanah said...

I'm so excited to read this! I loved Anne Easter Smith's book A Rose for the Queen. It's one of my favorites, and I'm only hoping this book lives up to it!

Shoshanah said...

And It's A Rose for the Crown, not Queen, but you probably could of figured that one out!

Carole Rae said...

I'm really looking forward to reading this!

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