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The Stolen Crown: The Secret Marriage that Forever Changed the Fate of England Kindle Edition

4.4 out of 5 stars 23 customer reviews

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Length: 401 pages Word Wise: Enabled Enhanced Typesetting: Enabled

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Review

The story of Elizabeth Woodville and Edward IV has been told hundreds of times, but never quite the way that Higginbotham tells it here through the words of Bess s youngest sister, Kate, and Kate s husband, Harry Stafford, Duke of Buckingham. Married in early childhood, the Duke and Duchess learn the ways of Edward s court, the pitfalls and the benefits of being tied inextricably to the Woodvilles, while they grow into a stable, loving couple, acquiring lands and children. But the seeds of the destruction of the Staffords as a couple and as a family are planted in Harry s blood brotherhood with Edward s brother, Richard, Duke of Gloucester. From our introduction to Kate at age six to her survival as the only remaining Woodville, she is an engaging character clever, opinionated, sassy, sexy. Harry grows from a self-important youngster, worshipful of his friend, Richard, to a profoundly determined and powerful man, and ultimately to a soul of deep conviction who accepts moral responsibility for his actions and choices. We come to have great respect for Buckingham by the time he is put to death by Richard. Richard, though, is another story. Higginbotham adopts the hard-line anti-Ricardian position that Richard was not merely instrumental in, but ordered the deaths of his nephews, the young Edward V and his brother Richard. And through Buckingham, we are led to question whether Gloucester ever intended to act as regent for his brother s son in his kinghood. The rebellion conspiracies of Hastings, Rivers and Vaughan, the precontract of marriage between Edward IV and Eleanor Butler they are all creations of Richard s demonic machinations to usurp Edward V s throne. Certainly a worthy contribution to the debate, told from an interesting and novel point of view. --Ilysa Magnus

About the Author

Susan Higginbotham is the author of three historical fiction novels. The Traitor's Wife, her first novel, is the winner of ForeWord Magazine's 2005 Silver Award for historical fiction and is a Gold Medalist, Historical/Military Fiction, 2008 Independent Publisher Book Awards. She writes her own historical fiction blog and is a contributor to the blog Yesterday Revisited. Higginbotham has worked as an editor and an attorney, and lives in North Carolina with her family.

Product details

  • Format: Kindle Edition
  • File Size: 2172 KB
  • Print Length: 401 pages
  • Page Numbers Source ISBN: 1402237669
  • Publisher: Sourcebooks Landmark; 1 edition (1 Mar. 2010)
  • Sold by: Amazon Media EU S.à r.l.
  • Language: English
  • ASIN: B00447872I
  • Text-to-Speech: Enabled
  • X-Ray:
  • Word Wise: Enabled
  • Enhanced Typesetting: Enabled
  • Average Customer Review: 4.4 out of 5 stars 23 customer reviews
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #186,942 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)
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Customer Reviews

4.4 out of 5 stars
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Top Customer Reviews

Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
The core of this book is historically very accurate and I enjoyed viewing the story from this different angle.
These were very complex times as to who was related to who, married to who and loyal to who at any one moment in time (it was forever shifting).
The story was told in such a way as to make those relationships understandable and the story held my interest throughout.
It is possible that Buckingham has been portrayed in a much more favoured light than he deserves but we will never know for certain.
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Format: Paperback
The Stolen Crown begins is told from the alternating POV of Henry Stafford, Duke of Buckingham and his wife Katherine Woodville. Henry (Harry) was married as a young child to Katherine, younger sister of Elizabeth Woodville - Queen of England and wife to Edward IV (no small feat for those *grasping* Woodvilles). When they grow older Harry and Katherine are able to establish a strong marriage, but Harry wants more power and position at court than Edward is willing to give him and he chafes at the bit, which only exacerbates his dilema. Harry is on firmer ground with Edward's younger brother Richard and when Edward dies and Richard thinks he can take it all.......

This period and it's history is much too complicated to try to spell out in a review - either you know the basics going in and don't need a rehash or if you don't I'd just have your eyes glazing over trying to explain it all. What I enjoyed most about this one was the *fresh* look at the period from the POV of Harry and Kate and how his rebellion against Richard III might have come about. I just loved Kate's voice and her dry sense of humor, as well as seeing them both as children and then adults caught up in a political storm beyond their control.

I loved the way the author brought some humor into the York/Lancaster differences, as well as busting some of those commonly held myths - Katherine being much older than Harry as well as the Woodville women being practicing witches. I appreciate that Higginbotham doesn't try to muddle her story with *authentic* period language - no "woe is me" to be found in this book (but that's a good thing).
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Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
The Stolen Crown was another good read from Susan Higginbotham for me, but I didn't quite get into it as much as The Queen of Last Hopes. It starts promisingly with exciting opening scenes that immediately grabbed my attention and made me want to keep reading, but it does tails off in the middle - that is, it's well-written, but the story kind of treads water for a while in the middle whilst Katherine Woodville and Henry Stafford grow up, and you just know we're all waiting for Richard III to come along.

Higginbotham admits in her author's note that very little is known about Buckingham and his motives, so I enjoyed reading about a plausible recreation of his what might have happened. We'll never really know, of course. I kind of felt that the marriage between Katherine and Henry depicted here seemed the same as the other marriages in medieval historical fiction - rocky starts, solidifying as they get to know each other. Having read a lot of medieval fiction recently, I've noticed that this sort of marriage seems to crop up a lot.

One thing I'm not sure was a decision that worked was telling the story from the perspective of Katherine and Henry. It was definitely interesting to get the perspective of characters who we don't often get to know very well in wars of the roses fiction because they're not the main players... but because they are often secondary figures in events, they're not always present for key events, or aware of what's going on. That works for me as a reader who already knows the wars of the roses well and so I can gain novelty and enjoyment from reading the same tale again from this fresh new angle, but for other readers it may be different.
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By IP TOP 500 REVIEWER on 8 Aug. 2015
Format: Kindle Edition
The perfect companion for all historical fiction enthusiasts is THE ROMA VICTRIX WINE BEAKER
Calix Imperium, Roma Victrix Pewter wine beaker

In this riveting new historical novel, author Susan Higginbotham explores the tumultuous and deliciously intriguing War of the Roses, the well-known, frantic medieval British civil war between the two branches of the Plantagenet family -the House of York and the House of Lancaster. In a time where kings seem to grow on trees, enemies are constantly hiding in the shadows, alliances are made...and compromised Higginbotham paints a fascinating and well-drawn portrait of the War and its characters.

Young Kate Woodville is the youngest of twelve in the Woodville family, a lower gentry family who have recently dedicated themselves to the House of York after defecting from the House of Lancaster. Kate's life is suddenly changed when her sister Elizabeth, a widowed mother of two, meets Yorkist King Edward IV, and secretly becomes his bride. This simple act of passion and romance sets off a chain reaction that completely changes Kate's life and the fate of England. Once the marriage becomes public, Kate and her other unwed siblings are quickly wed into influential families in order to increase their power. At a young age Kate is married to Harry Stafford, Duke of Buckingham. Kate must learn to play the thorny games at court, while surviving the near-constant shift of power between York and Lancaster forces -and even factions within each side. After King Edward IV dies, Kate's life is plunged into uncertainty and confusion.
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