Historical drama based on fact
On Amazon UK HERE
On Amazon.com HERE
Reviewed by me as part of Rosie Amber's Book Review Team
I am deeply fascinated by all things Plantagenet and Tudor, so leapt on this book when it became available on Rosie Amber's review team list. I was particularly eager to read it as Owen Tudor is someone about whom I knew little, apart from his having been Henry VIII's great grandfather. My knowledge of the events leading up to the Wars of the Roses is sketchy, too, so this book was an education as well as a great story.
The novel is well edited and proofread, which was a real treat in these days of dubious standards; I could tell that Mr Riches had spent a great deal of time drafting and redrafting, and the structure of the novel itself is extremely well thought out. The story flows beautifully throughout and is simply written, in the present tense, which is always an odd choice but worked well in this case.
At first I was not very taken with Riches' Owen Tudor; he seemed like a bit of a stuffed shirt and I couldn't imagine why he aroused such passion in Juliette the servant girl and Queen Catherine de Valois. I found the prose a little stilted, though not terribly. I much preferred the latter half of the book, after Catherine's death, when it loosened up considerably, Owen's adventurous side came to the fore and I became engrossed. I looked forward to the introduction of characters about whom I know more: Margaret Beaufort (one of my favourite women in history), and Jasper Tudor, who I've always rather fancied; well done, Mr Riches, you portrayed him so well!
That the book is well researched is clear; many domestic details are included, but these are artfully woven into the story, rather than lumped in to show how much the author has mugged up before beginning to write. I did wonder if a reader who knows nothing of this historical period might get a little confused by all the dukes and bishops and their various allegiances, but then it is likely that anyone reading this would already have an interest in the period. There is an author's note at the back to explain which characters come from Riches' imagination and which are from real life.
If you're interested in the Wars of the Roses and the origins of the Tudor dynasty I'd definitely recommend this book, and I look forward to reading the next one in the series - about Jasper!
I enjoy this period of history but know little of anything before Henry VIII.ReplyDelete
I've only started to get to know about it recently, Rosie - the Plantagenets are far more interesting than the Tudors, I think :)Delete
I am surprised this book is written in the present tense as The Secret Diary of Eleanor Cobham by Tony Riches is in the past which I much prefer.ReplyDelete
I do, normally, but this is done so well I didn't actually notice the tense until a little of the way through! It definitely works.Delete
Like the sound of this. It's another one on my kindle ready to read that I must get round to. Great review :)ReplyDelete
Thank you! Yes, I think you'd like it. There's something nice and easy read-escapist about it, too.Delete
Ahh I saw this one and thought you'd snap it up T! It sounds great actually and good to see such a positive review for it as I've already got it on my list. ThanksReplyDelete
It will be interesting to see what a non-history addict thinks of it, G. At least, I think you are a non-history addict, apologies if I'm wrong!Delete
It's true I would not class myself as a history addict however I have read a startling amount of historical fiction and love it... I just don't know enough to ever attempt to write it and am amazed by those who do :-)Delete
My next project, G! Not kings and queens and nobles, because I don't think I have anything new to bring to the table, but pure fiction.Delete
If you look on my history tag on here you'll see a couple of belters (in partic The Bastard Princess and The Gilded Lily - I think you'd enjoy the latter especially)
I shall look forward to it and thanks for the recommendations here - I shall add to my list :-)Delete