Margaret Campbell Barnes’ The Tudor Rose: A Novel of Elizabeth of York is a historical novel that chronicles the final moments of Edward IV’s reign in England and the usurpation of the thrown by Richard, Duke of Gloucester and later the conquest of England by Henry Tudor.
“Elizabeth came out of her own private thoughts with a start. Her blue eyes stared almost uncomprehendingly. During her short life she had become accustomed to being offered as matrimonial bait for some political reason or another; but the implications of her mother’s words appeared to have neither rhyme nor reason.” (Page 55 of ARC)
Elizabeth of York, who is about age 17-19, is adrift in a family and country torn apart following the death of her father, Edward IV. As she attempts to navigate the politics of a nation in turmoil and a family walled up in Westminster Abbey in sanctuary, she also has lost her sense of security and the love her father bestowed upon her willingly. Throughout much of the book, Elizabeth vacillates from security and insecurity and reserve and outbursts. In many ways, readers will find Elizabeth immature, particularly given her royal stature, and her character does not seem to improve much through out the novel–whether that is due to historical accuracy or not, it is unclear.
Despite the historical nature of The Tudor Rose, the narration flows like a contemporary novel and the dramatic revolving door of the kingdom is surprisingly easy to follow. However, readers may find Elizabeth’s actions a bit out of character in some places or seem to happen on a whim without much forethought, though the historical events in the novel follow what can be found on Wikipedia. Barnes is a capable author of historical fiction, particularly of the Tudor period in England. The Tudor Rose is a fast-paced read and will entertain readers with a series of plot twists.
Thanks to Sourcebooks and Margaret Campbell Barnes for sending me a free copy of this book for review.
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