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The War of the Roses between the House of Lancaster and the House of York came to an end with the crowning of Edward IV as King of England. He went on to marry Elizabeth Woodville, a beautiful widow but a commoner. Their marriage was never popular with either the common people or the nobility, as the greed of the Woodville clan knew no bounds. Still, Edward IV and his Queen would go on to have a beautiful and large family of four daughters and two sons. Elizabeth of York was the eldest, and this is her story.

Elizabeth led a life of privilege until the untimely death of her father. While her brother, Edward, was the heir apparent, he was still a young boy at the time of his father's death. He was to have been crowned King and a regency instituted, but at the eleventh hour, his uncle, Richard, brother of the late King, was declared the Protector of England. After placing Edward in the Tower, he persuaded Elizabeth Woodville, who had sought sanctuary with her children, to entrust Richard, her younger son and his namesake, to him. She did so, and never again did she see either of her sons again. Shortly thereafter, Richard was crowned King of England, having declared his brother's marriage to Elizabeth Woodville invalid and, consequently, their children bastards.

Eventually Elizabeth of York, her mother, and her sisters left sanctuary and went to live in the royal household of King Richard III. Political intrigues were to plague the reign of Richard III. Always at the heart of the discord was the mystery of what had happened to the young Princes in the Tower. Eventually, Henry Tudor, a descendant of the union of the Owen Tudor and Katherine, widow of Henry V, decided to challenge the kingship of Richard III. Henry was also a Lancastrian rival, as his mother, Margaret Beaufort, was a descendant of the union of John of Gaunt and Katherine Swynford.

After Elizabeth of York secretly pledged to marry him, Henry Tudor landed in England and made a claim for the throne of England. On Bosworth Field Henry Tudor and King Richard III met in battle, and the usurper was victorious, emerging by right of conquest as the new King of England, Henry VII. A cold and calculating man, he married Elizabeth of York to reinforce his claim upon the throne of England, as Elizabeth was considered by many to be the rightful Queen, given the mysterious disappearance of her two brothers. This union of the houses of Lancaster and York was to solidify all of England. The red rose of Lancaster and the white rose of York would henceforth be melded together as the Tudor rose.

Elizabeth's life with Henry would be a dispassionate union that would prove fruitful. They would have two boys, Arthur and Henry, as well as two girls, Margaret and Mary. Elizabeth, however, would forever wonder what had happened to her brothers. The fact that the mystery of the Princes in the Tower was never resolved would continue to plague the reign of King Henry VII, as pretenders would arise, claiming to be one of the lost Princes. Rebellions were mounted in the name of these pretenders, and with each one, Lambert Simnel and Perkin Warbeck, Elizabeth's hopes would rise that her brothers were still alive, only to see them dashed. While the union between Henry VII and Elizabeth of York would not be a joyful one, as his cold and parsimonious ways were to distance him from her, England would, indeed, prosper under their reign.

The author, a novelist noted for her beautifully written historical fiction, weaves a wonderful tapestry of fact and fiction. The story of Elizabeth of York, oldest daughter of King Edward IV of England, is a fascinating fifteenth century tale of political intrigues, power, and love that will stay with the reader long after the last page is turned. Historical personages and period detail come to life under the expert hand of this accomplished author. Those readers who love the genre of historical fiction will most certainly enjoy this book, as will those who love a well-told tale.
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VINE VOICEon 1 January 2012
This book was written over 50 years ago, so I suppose we must make some allowances for light that has been shed on past events between now and then, but still, there were a number of silly errors in this book which didn't help its credibility: the pre-contract was with Eleanor Butler (nee Talbot) and for some odd reason the book gives her given name as Joan, and Edmund Tudor died of the plague and not in battle.

Overall the book follows a somewhat traditionalist stance, although Henry Tudor comes across as pretty cold and unlikeable. I wasn't convinced by some of the internal logic and some of the characterisation though. Anne Neville, for example. She is a figure we really don't know that much about, but it's hard to conceive she could be as simple and naive as she is portrayed here! Barnes does try it on a bit with trying to make us wonder if 'Perkin' is really Richard of York (and here the historical novelist has licence, because we really don't know!), despite having Bess keep adamantly stating that she knows her brothers are dead. We're also told that Elizabeth Woodville believes they died, which might lead one to question why she would have a finger in a rebellion against her daughter as queen consort? And if everybody really believed this, why did Sir William Stanley lose his head for saying he wouldn't fight against 'Perkin' if he was really a son of Edward IV - and that is in the historical record as well as this novel. There's an awful lot about Bess believing both Richard and Henry have potentially been culpable in acts of murder, but she herself in this novel is guilty of an act of treachery that is at least as bad!

Not a badly written novel, but I found it frustrating overall!
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on 24 August 2013
I bought this book for my Kindle by mistake but decided to give it a go. I have managed about 50% of the book but have now given up. If I had read this about 40 years ago I might have stuck with it but given what we know about the period it just feels a bit too twee. The characters seemed based on a total acceptance of Shakespeare's characterisations with no side.
It all seemed a bit too nice, a bit too much of a romantic novel. I think I like my historical novels with a bit more bite.
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on 13 February 2015
So, here we have the damsel in distress Elizabeth of York hoping her knight in shining armour with French accent, a Henry Tudor she has never seen in her life, will save her from the creepy tower and the clutches of the blood-thirsty uncle who wants to wed her to strengthen his grasp on the English throne. And they lived happily ever after...

Shame is, Rapunzel and Cinderella had more sway than this yawn inspiring text, so if you like fairy tales, you might stick to the classics and save your money for better reads
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on 19 October 2011
I read this book on the heels of finishing Philippa Gregory's book The White Queen, about Elizabeth Woodville, mother to the central character in this book, Elizabeth of York. At first I was comparing it to Gregory's book. That was a mistake. This author has a very different style so it's impossible to compare the two. It took a while for me to get into this book. Once I did I found it to be an interesting portrait of a queen. She portrayed Elizabeth of York in a very human light. She came across as multi-dimensional, likable, and sympathetic. It explored some interesting topics like how Elizabeth might have reacted to the "pretender" who claimed to be her long lost brother Richard, Duke of York. I would've given the book a higher rating if it hadn't dragged at the beginning and If the depiction of Henry VII hadn't been so one-dimensional.

Jennifer K. Lafferty
Author of Offbeat Love Stories and More
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on 15 August 2013
When one compares The Tudor Rose with other historical novels by e.g. Gregory, Hickson or O'Brien one finds that The Tudor Rose is lacking in credibility. This is mainly due to the lack of well developed main characters. The reader is not dragged into the story, one remains an onlooker who frequently doubts the historical quality of the novel. I would not recommend others to purchase and read this book. When really interested in British history and historical novels, read works by the other aforementioned authors. I have found their novels much more compelling and convincing.
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on 8 February 2014
This book was a good read but she took liberties with history which i don't like and she got some facts quite wrong ie the title wars of the roses was a victorian invention and she leant heavily on the white and red roses. If you like a historical tale and are not too bothered by the facts then it was a very reasonable read.
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on 7 September 2011
Although I know a lot about Henry VIII and afterwards, and was aware of the war of the roses and the cousins' in-fighting, it was really good to get this side of the story in such detail. I suggest you read the Red and White Queens first and then this and it all falls in place. As an avid Jean Plaidy reader in my youth, I liked the styles of these different authors who seem to keep to the historical facts, just surmising when there is a gap. All 3 books an excellent read and I found it hard to put each one down whilst reading, even though you know the characters are long since dead!
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on 9 June 2013
Read this about 40 years ago so great to pick it up again. Pretty good historically. The character of the king came over more forcefully than elizabeth. Interesting to see Henry vIII as a young child.
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on 10 August 2013
I enjoyed this book but I have read a number of books about the war of the roses, Margret Boufort in every book but this had her as a calculating ambitious Woman who would stop at nothing to have her son crowned king of England. Not a beauty gentle woman who loved the lancastrians
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