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The King's Grey Mare [Paperback]

Rosemary Hawley Jarman
4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (11 customer reviews)
Price: 6.99 & FREE Delivery in the UK on orders over 10. Details
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Book Description

29 Feb 2008
Known as the King's Grey Mare, Elizabeth Woodville, queen of Edward IV, was beautiful beyond belief, with unique silver-grey hair. She had once known joy of a marriage based on love, only to see it snatched away on the battlefield. Hardened and changed by grief, Elizabeth became the tool of her evil ambitious mother, the witch, Jaquetta of Bedford, who was determined that her daughter should sit on the throne of England. By trickery, deception and witchcraft, Jaquetta's wish was fulfilled. But even a witch could not have known the tragedy which lay in store for the King's Grey Mare.

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The King's Grey Mare + We Speak No Treason (The Flowering of the Rose Book 1) + Crown in Candlelight
Price For All Three: 18.52

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Product details

  • Paperback: 352 pages
  • Publisher: The History Press; paperback / softback edition (29 Feb 2008)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0752445634
  • ISBN-13: 978-0752445632
  • Product Dimensions: 2.3 x 12.3 x 19 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (11 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 33,416 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Product Description


"'Lust, butchery and witchcraft... richly readable' THE OBSERVER, 'This book has mastered the bewildering shifts of power and concentration of allegiance of the period and made them an old-fashioned, close-packed good read... Few authors can capture the fifteenth-century so vividly' THE SUNDAY TELEGRAPH, 'A stirring story, told with great verve and a splendid feeling for history' WOMAN'S JOURNAL; 'With much dedication and with even more imagination Rosemary Hawley Jarman's version of the Wars of the Roses should intrigue all lovers of romantic historical fiction' THE EVENING STANDARD, 'A complicated tale, but an absorbing one, told with fine feeling for the beauty and the brutality, the pageantry and theunderlying squalor of fifteenth-century England' THE SCOTSMAN."

About the Author

Best selling author both in the UK and the North America, Rosemary Hawley Jarman was born in Worcester. She lived most of her time in Worcestershire at Callow End, between Worcester and Upton on Severn. She began to write for pleasure, and followed a very real and valid obsession with the character of King Richard III. With no thought of publication she completed a novel showing the King in his true colours, away from Tudor and Shakespearian propaganda. The book was taken up almost accidentally by an agent, and within six weeks a contract for publication and four other novels was signed with HarperCollins. The first novel We Speak No Treason was awarded The Silver Quill, a prestigious Author's Club Award, and sold out its first print of 30,000 copies within seven days. We Speak No Treason was followed by The King's Grey Mare, Crown in Candlelight and The Courts of Illusion.

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Customer Reviews

4.6 out of 5 stars
4.6 out of 5 stars
Most Helpful Customer Reviews
27 of 27 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars "Thy lady hath forgotten to be kind..." 13 May 2008
The King's Grey Mare is a lovely, bewitching read even if you haven't read about the Wars of the Roses before; it's not as politics-focused as many other books dealing with this period.

The author says she wanted to portray Elizabeth neither as villain or victim. I think she succeeds in making Elizabeth a rounded character, although some of the actions ascribed to her in this novel are pretty awful. I was initially put off by the talk of "evil witches" on the back cover; the old witchery rumours are a bit of a cliche when it comes to La Woodville. Luckily, Rosemary Hawley Jarman is a better, more sensitive writer than whoever wrote the blurb for her book!

The first part of the book follows Elizabeth Woodville as a young girl, a lady-in-waiting at the court of Henry VI and Marguerite d'Anjou and a blissful young bride. Then she is sent home a widow, where her mother Jacquetta sets her sights on a new son-in-law, the new young Yorkist King. The young Elizabeth could be fiery when she had to be, but she often didn't have to be. But with grief closing over her and the obsession of revenge upon the Earl of Warwick, she becomes proud and ruthless. As Elizabeth becomes less and less sympathetic, we see more of Grace, Edward IV's illegitimate daughter, who is a kind of foil to Elizabeth. Grace is to fall in love with John of Gloucester, illegitimate son of Richard III, forming a touching sub-plot, but she can't help herself from loving Elizabeth.

What I loved most about this book was the author's style of writing. Her vocabulary is huge and she has a real eye for detail, as well as a knack for a pretty phrase. I've heard her style described as "flowery", and it's certainly not the more modern, Philippa Gregory style of historical fiction.
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9 of 10 people found the following review helpful
By Misfit TOP 1000 REVIEWER
Jarman recounts the life of Elizabeth Woodville, daughter of Richard Woodville, Earl Rivers and Jacquetta of Luxembourg. As a young girl she serves at the court of Henry VI as maid of honor to Marguerite d'Anjou until she meets and marries John Grey (a true love match according to the author) and bears two sons. When Grey is killed while fighting for the Lancastrians, Elizabeth's mother Jacquetta sets her sights on Edward IV and herein Jarman weaves the story of the Woodville's alleged sorcery and descent from Melusine as they drive Edward mad with lust that can only be slated with a wedding ring.

The novel then moves on to known history, Elizabeth's marriage to Edward, her times in sanctuary, the infamous Jane Shore, Edward's death and the ascent of Richard III to the throne as through Titulus Regius Edward and Elizabeth's children are named illegitimate. After Richard is defeated at Bosworth the story then focuses more on Edward's illegitimate daughter, Grace Plantagenet, and her love/hate relationship with Elizabeth.

This all sounded promising, even though the witchcraft and descent from Melusine are allegedly nothing but rumor and speculation. Unfortunately the author's over the top flowery prose and the "visions" and "dreams" not only didn't hold my attention, she flat out lost me at times and I couldn't follow what was going on. A minor quibble and not being a historian I can't say if its right or wrong, but the author had both Marguerite d'Anjou and Elizabeth (when Queen) addressed as "My Liege" instead of "Your Grace", or she switched between the two and that also kept throwing me out of the story. In the end, it's certainly not the worst book I've read on the period but then it's far from being the best either. Get it from the library if you must and then buy it if you love it. Three stars.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars bringing history to life 5 Jun 2010
AS with all Rosemary Hawley Jarmans work The Kings Grey Mare will not disappoint. She breathes life into her main character Elizabeth Woodville and we are transported to her time and her life. The descriptions of the events are as accurate as one can be and the pages are filled with real events without the Hollywood razzle.
This is a classic book worth the buying and the reading as are all her books.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The best of the Roses novels 11 Oct 2013
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
Explicit and well-researched, better than some of the more well-known novelists. I could not stop reading it, even though I knew the outcome.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The King's Grey Mare 10 Oct 2013
By Walshy
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
got this book for something to read on those cold night , but so far haven't been able to wait for the cold nights ..well worth a read ..
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Red rose, white rose, red dragon 11 Mar 2012
I love Plantagenet and Tudor history, and always look forward to reading any novel which has these at its foundation.

This was not an easy book to read, in terms of both vocabulary and style; occasionally I was unclear on what was happening to whom, as the prose was so intricate.

I feel a slight sadness for books whose progress I mark ten or twenty pages at a time, knowing that I am unlikely to read it again!

Still, I am glad I took the time - and effort - to read it this once. However I would choose Sharon K. Penman or Phillippa Gregory for a more 'enjoyable' read.
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