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Sunday, 30 April 2023
I, RICHARD PLANTAGENET by J P Reedman @stonehenge2500 #TuesdayBookBlog
How I discovered this book: Recommendation - can't remember who from, alas; Amazon tells me I downloaded it in 2021. I was looking down my Kindle Unlimited library to decide what to return; when I saw it, I wondered why I had not read it before!
In a Nutshell: Part 1 of a trilogy about Richard Plantagenet, later to become King Richard III
This book covers Richard's childhood, from little more than infancy to the age of fourteen. It is told in the first person, which I always like best for historical fiction based on fact.
I loved this book, so much that I downloaded the next two before I'd finished it (and am already reading #2). J P Reedman has written Richard as I imagined him: a loyal, intelligent, studious and serious boy, wise beyond his years in many respects. The other Yorks and those close to them were also portrayed exactly as I see them - Edward IV the golden, kingly warrior, whose over-confidence and appetites could sometimes be his undoing; the gluttonous, garrulous George, Duke of Clarence; dashing, intense Richard, Earl of Warwick. Quiet, reserved Anne Neville, flirtatious Isabella, and the ambitious Elizabeth Woodville.
I know the story of this period of history well, so I was most interested to see how various events would be depicted through Richard's eyes. J P Reedman has artfully executed developments that occurred outside Richard's orbit; there are no clumsy monologues from other characters to let the reader know what is happening, few unrealistically overheard conversations. This is the history as Richard would have seen it; some events of importance are hardly mentioned, because they would not have meant much to a child.
It is clear that much research about the time has gone into this book, though it is never intrusive. Instead, it immersed me in the period. I loved reading about the journeys from one place to another, what the country was like at the time, and about the halcyon days Richard spent at Middleham castle under the tutelage of Warwick.
Incidentally, I have often wondered what Edward IV would have made of his grandson and great-granddaugher: Henry VIII and Elizabeth I.
Highly recommended - now, to resume my reading of Book 2!