Author: Anne Easter Smith
Title: Queen By Right
Genre: Historical Fiction, Romance,
First Published: 2011
Where I Got It: My Shelf (I won it!)
"In Cecily Neville, duchess of York and ancestor of every English monarch to the present day, she has found her most engrossing character yet.History remembers Cecily of York standing on the steps of the Market Cross at Ludlow, facing an attacking army while holding the hands of her two young sons. Queen by Right reveals how she came to step into her destiny, beginning with her marriage to Richard, duke of York, whom she meets when she is nine and he is thirteen. Raised together in her father’s household, they become a true love match and together face personal tragedies, pivotal events of history, and deadly political intrigue. All of England knows that Richard has a clear claim to the throne, and when King Henry VI becomes unfit to rule, Cecily must put aside her hopes and fears and help her husband decide what is right for their family and their country. Queen by Right marks Anne Easter Smith’s greatest achievement, a book that every fan of sweeping, exquisitely detailed historical fiction will devour."
This is first book I've read by Anne Easter Smith and concerning the York side of the War of the Roses. Well, to be technical, this book mostly covers events before the bloody War of the Roses and it lightly touches the Civil War England was forced to endure. I was blessed to have won this novel, so I didn't have to buy it with my own money and I'm glad Lady Luck blessed me with this, because I simply adore this book.
I found it intriguing to see Cecily Neville's view of the world. Too be honest I didn't know much about her or her family, so this was an eye-opening experience. I loved how Anne Easter Smith sucked me into the story and showed me this world rather than just telling me. Even though it took me a while to finish reading this, it wasn't because it was huge or I didn't want to read it. It was because this book is like a fine wine. You can't drink it all at once, you have to savor and enjoy every little bit. I will admit, however, I didn't start savoring the book until Part 2, but once that was read and done I could barely put the book down.
I really like Cecily Neville, because she was a strong-willed and opinionated lady. Even though you might be a Lancastrian sympathizer, you can't help but like the Duchess of York. Even Queen Margaret of Anjou really adored Cecily, because she's just one of those people, I guess. Anne Easter Smith made it really hard to pick sides; she showed everyone with strengths and weaknesses. No one side was completely right or completely wrong. I really loved that aspect of the book, because I do tire of books trying to make you pick a side. Anne Easter Smith mostly focused on Cecily and Richards love story and I really cherished that love story. Unlike a lot of couples back in that time, they had true love and pretty much married for love and friendship.
It was really also interested to see Richard before he became an overly ambitious man. Richard seemed really level-headed and lived for his family...at the beginning, but near the end he became just like his father: he put his ambitions before his own family. The way Anne Easter Smith showed this change was fantastic! At first, Cecily had a small taste for ambition, while Richard just wanted to be respected and be nothing like his "treasonous" father, but after a time Richard did become like his father and Cecily's small amount of ambition turned into sand.
All-in-all, I loved this book! The only thing that I didn't like was how slowly paced Part 1. Other than that, I couldn't get enough of Anne Easter Smith's writing. I will be defiantly checking out her other books ^.^. I would recommend this book to anyone who loves history, a good love story, or just a fantastic book. Out of five stars I grant this one 5 stars.
Favorite Character(s): Cecily Neville
Not-so Favorite Character(s): Margaret of Anjou, Somerset, and the ambitious Richard, Duke of York.
Favorite Quote(s): The poem at the beginning of the Epilogue:
"What can I do? It's not surprising that I
Weep and sigh, with my dear lover dead.
For when I look deeply into my heart and
see how sweetly and without hardship I
loved from my childhood and first youth
with him, I am assailed by such great
pain that I will always weep for his death."
~Christine de Pisan, One Hundred Ballads