The Stolen Crown

Published July 14, 2012 by myliteraryleanings

Review of The Stolen Crown by Susan Higginbotham

Overview from www.bn.com: Katherine Woodville’s sister never gave her a choice. A happy girl of modest means, Kate hardly expected to become a maker of kings. But when her sister impulsively marries King Edward IV in secret, Katherine’s life is no longer hers to control…

My Review:

This was a historical fiction book and a Free Friday one so of course I couldn’t pass it up. The author was new to me but covered a time period that I have read in other Historical Fiction novels so I was interested to get a feel not only for who she was as an author but also her treatment of this time period, The War of the Roses. She chose some characters that I don’t remember reading much of in other books about this time period.

The story is told through the eyes of these two characters. One is Kate Woodville, sister to the soon-to-be queen. Kate wakes up one morning to literally discover that her sister Elizabeth has just married the king in a secret ceremony. She is a little girl at the time and the king takes an instant liking to her. Her intrusion, as well as the king’s feeling about his new little sister-in-law allows her to witness the ceremony and get into the kings good graces immediately.

For a while however, the marriage must be kept secret since the king does not have the approval of his family nor many of his advisors. When he finally does tell them though, the king elevates the Woodville family almost overnight. This earns them many enemies but it also results in Kate being married at a young age to Harry Stafford who will become the second Duke of Buckingham.

Harry is our second narrator. He will tell his story from a kind of death row as he is awaiting his execution. He tells us how he made it there as well as the many mistakes he has made along the way and his deep feelings for his family. When he finally comes around to doing the right thing, it costs him his life. One of my favorite parts in the book is right after Harry dies. His death is described in such simple terms. Afterwards, he is suddenly in heaven and greeted by his uncle.

“There is a blow, and some shouting, and then a long, long darkness. Then there is a burst of light, and a man is standing beside me. ‘Well, Harry,’ he says grinning at me in welcome. ‘You certainly did make a fine mess of things, didn’t you?’

“’I can’t argue with that,’ I say sheepishly.

“My uncle Edmund Beaufort laughs kindly.

“’Come. We’ve been waiting for you,’ he says as he links my arm in his and leads me to kneel before my Savior.” P. 273

All in all this is a good story. I liked it a lot. I am not really sure that I can quite go so far as saying I loved it but it is definitely one I recommend highly. I appreciate how the author can twist a good Historical Fiction tale that does not have a lot crass or violent content and at the same time doesn’t ignore the religious beliefs of the characters involved.

I liked Phillipa Gregory’s books on this era as well but one thing I always wondered is why her characters don’t seem to think much about God at all. Considering the time period, it doesn’t seem very realistic. The only one that does seem to think about Him, is mean and controlling, which makes me think that maybe the author might have some kind of bias against Christianity. That has no place in The Stolen Crown.

This author, however, does not seem to have a problem with faith in the lives of these characters. And that is how I believe it should be. The price for this Nook book was good too. Read it for yourself and let me know if you agree.

Contains: some references to homosexuality (unless I am reading too much into it), and some mind find some of the heterosexual sex scenes a bit graphic as well. It didn’t bother me much but I thought I should give fair warning.

Below is a funny video about King Richard III who features a lot in this book. He tries to set the record straight and although there is no proof that some of the things Richard is accused of actually happened, I really don’t think he’s “a nice guy.”

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