****This Son of York by Anne Easter Smith Personal Review****
I love anything Tudor-related and just a few years ago I thought I knew everything! But there was a fairly little-known character in Tudor history that I was unaware of and never really thought about. He was the King who was accused of killing the Princes in the Tower - the 2 young sons of King Edward of York and Queen Elizabeth Woodville. Richard of York. King Richard of York.
In reality, Richard was the eleventh of twelve children born of Cecily Neville and Richard Plantaganet - yes THOSE Plantaganets - the ones who fought in the Wars of the Roses for so many years. But of course the only ones known to history were the trio of Edward, George and Richard. Their father died in battle when Richard was just a little boy, along with their oldest brother Edmund, who would have become the heir to the throne of England had his father achieved his goal. But it was not to be and this historical fiction novel tells the story of how Richard grew up being bullied by his older brother George and adored by his even older brother Edward. Their uncle was Richard Neville, Earl of Warwick and the one who by all accounts was instrumental in helping his nephew Edward of York become King. Richard was not by any means unsuccessful in life - he did become King after the disappearance of the Princes in the Tower - and he was said to have been in love with his niece Elizabeth Woodville. But in history he was more than that because he was last of the York Kings, the last of the Plantaganets to hold real power. And he was related to the future Queen of England Elizabeth Woodville and of course her offspring with Henry VII - which in fact brought the Wars of the Roses to an end and cemented the melding of the 2 Houses - York and Lancaster - forever. He was also related to Catherine Parr - the last Queen of Henry VIII, who was a great influence on history and her step-daughter Elizabeth I. So this little known King for a short time in history actually had an influence that stretched farther than most people have any idea, which is why I love this book for bringing him into the spotlight for once.
The book shows how lonely Richard seemed as a boy - he always felt like he was less than - and that his mother didn't favor him and of course disliked his brother George. In the book he was not a happy young boy at all, even though he wanted his father to dethrone King Henry Tudor and become King and he was happy that his older brother Edward would be King. Of course that would put him in line for the throne, but as third in succession and even lower if Edward had sons and George had sons - that was unlikely. Richard eventually married Anne Neville, the youngest daughter of his Uncle Richard, Earl of Warwick - thus raising Anne to a Duchess as Edward had granted the title of Duke of Gloucester by his brother. George had already mounted an insurgence several times against his brother King Edward, as well as marrying the elder Neville sister, Lady Isabel. Of course none of them worked out and Warwick became disenchanted with Edward as King when he decided to marry Elizabeth Woodville, a decided commoner - in spite of Warwick's intentions for him to marry in order to secure allies to the throne. Of course Richard never went against his brother Edward - he didn't want to take over and he didn't want to be in charge - after all he was just Dickon, the nickname he had been given when he was young.
However I love this book because fairly little is known about Richard III and his wife Anne Neville and their child who died as a young boy. When his brother Edward passed away, he made his brother Richard the Lord Protector of his young son - the heir to the throne - Edward, Prince of Wales. Richard took the steps of putting the young boys into the Tower of London for their protection - but this is where history is fuzzy. The boys were seen by many people and then one day they just vanished. There was no sign of a struggle or foul play - they just vanished. Everyone assumed that Richard III - their own uncle - had them killed ... but there is really no evidence of that and there were too many other people who wanted the throne back in Tudor hands to really say. I won't tell you how the book deals with all of the above because even though you might know the history ... I don't want to ruin the surprise of the fictional tale that is woven - but I promise you it's great! This is really the first book I have read that was ALL about King Richard III and his life - the rest all mention him and he was of course a major player in a few books - but this focused solely on his life and how he came to be King Richard III. It was an honor to be able to read this book and I really enjoyed it and hope you decide to read it too :D
**I received a free book to read**
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