The Tudor Rose by Margaret Campbell Barnes

I love Margaret’s writing. The first book of hers I read was My Lady of Cleves and I adored it. Anne of Cleves is my favorite of Henry VIII’s wives, as she was the one lucky enough to escape unscathed. However, that entire legacy began with Henry’s beautiful mother, Elizabeth of York.

As the beloved eldest daughter of Edward IV and the only Queen to have been daughter, sister, niece and wife to English monarchs in her lifetime, she came to personify the White Rose of York in a Britain divided between the Yorks and the Red Rose of Lancaster.  Upon her father’s death, Elizabeth’s world is thrown into turmoil, her mother’s authority as Dowager Queen threatened, her family swept into sanctuary, her own birthright claimed invalid, and the Crown usurped by her uncle Richard of Gloucester. Margaret draws a beautiful contrast between the two Elizabeths – daughter and mother – between the scheming of “that Woodville woman” and the regality of the younger Elizabeth when presented with the path to the Crown once more.

I am almost done with this book and my heart breaks afresh for Elizabeth each time there is trouble on behalf of a pretender who claims to be one of her brothers who disappeared in the tower, those beautiful boys whom she loved so much and believes to be dead. Will Elizabeth continue to triumph and will she be able to find a way to her husband’s heart when he fears so greatly for his throne?

12/29/10 – FINISHED – Every time I read of Elizabeth of York, she is portrayed as indelibly human but determined in all ways to live up to her motto of “humble and reverent”. I found this depiction of her to be no different. She is a woman to be admired, though I do find myself feeling sorry for her. The transparency of her emotion upon seeing Perkin Warbeck in the flesh and then hearing of his attempted escape and execution broke my heart once more. But Elizabeth comforted others, gave of herself, and loved as only she knew best how to do. A beautiful telling about a beautiful woman. It also so aptly ended with young Harry – eventually to be Henry VIII – telling his lovely mother that he intended to name any daughter he had Elizabeth. And, of course, we all know how that turned out…don’t we? 😉

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