Posts Tagged With: civil war

The White Queen by Philippa Gregory

Synopsis:

The White Queen tells the story of a woman of extraordinary beauty and ambition who, catching the eye of the newly crowned boy king, marries him in secret and ascends to royalty. While Elizabeth rises to the demands of her exalted position and fights for the success of her family, her two sons become central figures in a mystery that has confounded historians for centuries: the missing princes in the Tower of London whose fate is still unknown. From her uniquely qualified perspective, Philippa Gregory explores this most famous unsolved mystery of English history, informed by impeccable research and framed by her inimitable storytelling skills.

This is the first book in Gregory’s Civil War series. The story follows Elizabeth who marries the new king in secret. At first she is just a young widow in love. She soon realises that this will not be an easy marriage – with the court unhappy about the marriage and brothers going to war against each other. She has to rely on her wit – and a bit of magic to protect herself and her family, while people plot to overthrow her family and even kill them.

I enjoyed Gregory’s Tudor series and was really looking forward to reading this. And I was not let down – I loved it. Gregory writes wonderful historical novels. She does her research well and I never feel like she has made a massive mistake – it always seems realistic and accurate.

Alongside that, she writes a great storyline and great characters. This story is full of adventure, magic, deception and war. Gregory doesn’t pussyfoot around war and the horrors of it, especially back in the middle ages. She writes a gripping tale and wonderful descriptions. We see the battlefield, them hiding in the Tower and in sanctuary in a crypt by the river. So much happened, and it was great reading.

My opinion of Elizabeth changed as the story wore on. At first I liked her – she was young and in love, but the Court got to her and she became determined and headstrong. She was focused on keeping her position as Queen, even if this upset her children and left them isolated without allies. I didn’t like her new character but it felt realistic, power goes to her head. I didn’t particular like Edward her husband. He too was over ambitious. That said, it made for a fantastic read.

I was hooked. Gregory writes exception historical novels that are well worth reading. This one gets top marks from me.

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Rogues and Rebels by Jo Field

 Book One of the Tawford Chronicles: A story of intrigue, passion and betrayal in the English Civil War”

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 In the autumn of 1642, Southwest England is ripped apart by civil war. Parliament has revolted against King Charles I and the populace is divided. Brothers and cousins, fathers and sons find themselves on opposing sides. Alexander Dynam leads a band of men in the service of the king. He is resourceful and courageous, an accomplished spy and a master of disguise. His men love him, he has earned their respect and they are loyal to the core. As the book opens, Alexander has been caught by Roundheads (as the forces of the Parliament are called) and is being held in a cellar. With MacGyver-like ingenuity, he escapes and in so doing makes a serious enemy of Captain James Dewett, the man held responsible for the loss of such a valuable prisoner. The consequences of his enmity will be far-reaching.

Alexander has always believed himself to be the bastard son of his guardian, Viscount Robert Westley. When he discovers that he is not Robert’s son and Robert refuses to tell him the truth of his parentage it causes a bitter rift between the two. The rift is deepened by the loss of Robert’s actual son, who is killed when thrown from Alexander’s horse. Robert can’t help but blame Alexander, who blames himself just as much. Their division is heartbreaking for Robert’s sister Ellen who loves both men fiercely and can’t bear to see them at odds.
Plots and intrigues hatched and carried out, skirmishes and battles, heroes and heroines who use all of their brains and courage in defense of themselves and their loved ones, cunning and sneaky villains, even a mystery satisfactorily sleuthed and solved. Jo Field brings all these and more together in this wonderful historical novel that brings alive the English past and a host of interesting and well developed characters.
I really enjoyed this engaging story. The plot was intricate and satisfying. If you are like me, you draw conclusions about a book based on the cover (Yes, I know I’m not supposed to!) But don’t let the cover of this one fool you, though set against the background of war, it is far from the heart of the narrative.
The author is currently working on Book Two in this series, Secrets and Ciphers. Write faster, Jo, I can’t wait to read it!
Rogues and Rebels is published by Discovered Authors. ISBN 978-1-905108-61-9
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