Wednesday, November 20, 2019

Review: This Son of York by Anne Easter Smith

This Son of York
by Anne Easter Smith
Release Date: November 10th 2019
2019 Bellastoria Press
Kindle Edition; 504 Pages
ISBN: 978-1942209638
ASIN: B07YD63877
Genre: Fiction / Historical
Source: Review copy from HF Virtual Book Tours

5 / 5 Stars

Richard III. A man. A king. A legend.

He ruled England for only two years, but the legacy of Richard III remains both fascinating and divisive.

From his childhood in the intensely loyal and close-knit York family to his rise as a thoughtful but troubled ruler, This Son of York is a passionate and deeply personal account of the life of Richard III. A man who loved his family and his country. A king who struggled to overcome the challenges not only of a turbulent time but his own human frailties. A legend whose true life is only now coming to light.

Inspired by the discovery of Richard III's grave and its revelations, award-winning author Anne Easter Smith brings together her decades of intense research, five celebrated novels on the Wars of the Roses, and her sustained passion for Richard III in this culminating book on the last Plantagenet king. 

My Thoughts
This Son of York was a fabulous entry in Anne Easter Smith's War of the Roses series and follows the trials and tribulations of Richard III from his childhood to his death after serving only two years on the throne.  I have admired this author for many years after having discovered her book, A Rose for the Crown, and was looking forward to the day when she would tackle Richard's story, especially after his bones were discovered in 2012.  And here it is!!

Anne Easter Smith's latest historical story is quite brilliant.  It takes a close look at the tumultuous life of the last king to die in battle which effectively ended the War of the Roses as well as the Plantagenet dynasty.  I am quite familiar with Richard's life and I was amazed at the meticulous research that went into this book as the descriptions of the people, the events, and the scenes were amazingly done.  The author made Richard seem human which is not easy to do and I appreciated that.  Richard was a controversial figure, with quite a legacy despite his short stint on the throne, and despite the author's own historical twists on some of the narrative, managed to fit all the historical facts with fiction quite seamlessly.  

I have been fascinated with Richard for quite a long time and I was never sure if I quite believed that he was capable of murdering two young boys for the sake of the throne.  However, things were quite different during this time period and many people were quite ruthless and I don't think Richard could have survived the way he did without being ruthless himself.  It was simply too dangerous to allow enemies their freedom and allow them the chance to gain support elsewhere.  Smith has made Richard quite a sympathetic fellow and through her eyes I saw events in a much different way which had made me wonder, yet again, if he could be capable of such an act.  It would be nice to think it was done to discredit Richard, but who knows.  I did like the approach the author decided to take in this novel though.  And I have to say, even though I knew the outcome of certain events, I still read with bated breath, flipping quickly through the pages, hoping for a different outcome, knowing in my heart that events could not change because it was history, but still hoping nonetheless because I liked Richard.

Richard is portrayed as loyal and loving to his family and friends, but also as someone who made terrible mistakes which came to haunt him later.  However, Richard is also portrayed as a complicated, complex man, raised during difficult and turbulent times, having watching his father and brother die needlessly, growing up in a court where intrigues and backstabbing abounded.  I would think in such circumstances, one would grow up quickly and learn how to manipulate as well as protect oneself from being a victim.  Richard would have learned essential skills that he would have needed on the throne in order to keep it.  And I have a lot of admiration for what he actually accomplished during those short two years.  He changed so many laws in Parliament, some of which still exist today, and tried to protect the common people from being used and abused.  I wonder what he would have been able to accomplish had he lived; he definitely had the makings of being a great king.  

This Son of York was a treat to read and I was so happy to return to the world of the Nevilles, Plantagenets, Yorks, and so on.  I have been fascinated for years with the War of the Roses and this book is a welcome addition to my library.  It was certainly a violent time in English history, with loyalties constantly changing and people never knowing what would happen, but Anne Easter Smith brings it all alive through her words and her descriptions and I have to thank her for that.  I highly recommend this book to anyone who has an interest in history and this time period.

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About the Author

Anne is the award-winning author of The King's Grace and the best-selling A Rose for the Crown, Daughter of York, Queen By Right, and Royal Mistress. She is an expert on Richard III, having studied the king and his times for decades. Her sixth book, This Son of York, will be published soon. She grew up in England, Germany and Egypt, and has been a resident/citizen of the US since 1968. Anne was the Features Editor at a daily newspaper in northern New York State for ten years, and her writing has been published in several national magazines.

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  1. Excellent review, and thanks for pointing it out!

  2. What a great review! Thank you so much for hosting Anne!

    HF Virtual Book Tours