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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Interesting perspective
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...
Published on 6 Sep 2011 by Johnny G

versus
3.0 out of 5 stars A bit too much like history rather than fiction.
I did not get a real feel for the characters in this novel. Bess was quite well done, but the others seemed almost as if they were out of a history textbook. I rarely had a feel for "place" here, except at the very start and during the flood scenes in South Wales.
Published 15 months ago by jeremy bennett


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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Interesting perspective, 6 Sep 2011
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This review is from: The Stolen Crown (Paperback)
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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30 of 34 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars (4.5) A refreshing new look at the Yorks and the Lancasters, 19 Feb 2010
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Misfit (Seattle, WA USA) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: The Stolen Crown (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). You also won't find a saintly-pure-as-the-driven-snow Richard as he's been painted by recently by some of our latest and *cough* greatest historical fiction authors, although this Ricardian may not always agree with the author's interpretations :p

Impeccably researched, the author mentions in her notes what is fact, what is surmised from the known facts as well as those mysteries that will probably never be solved like the Princes in the Tower. Highly recommended for any fan of this period as well as a good eye-opener for those new to it, this should give you a good grounding without overwhelming you at once. My all time favorite is still Sharon Penman's fabulous The Sunne in Splendour. 4.5/5 stars.

******
My copy courtesy of Sourcebooks. Thank you.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars The Stolen Crown, 27 July 2013
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Isis (London, UK) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: The Stolen Crown: The Secret Marriage that Forever Changed the Fate of England (Kindle Edition)
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. It can restrict the scope of the story, and I couldn't help wishing that there was more of the key players in The Stolen Crown - I was curious how Higginbotham would portray Edward IV, Richard III, Elizabeth Woodville, Warwick, George Plantagenet and so on, but I wanted more of them than I got, so to speak.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Fresh Perspective, 14 Dec 2013
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This review is from: The Stolen Crown (Paperback)
This book captured me with the dedication, "To those who died in 1483." I paused here considering what I already knew about this tragic year. Higginbotham uses a completely different method of sharing her theory on Richard III, telling the story from the points-of-view of Henry Stafford, the Duke of Buckingham, and his wife, Kate Woodville. Besides the fact that I am not crazy about the alternating first-person chapters, this new perspective was quite refreshing.

The Woodvilles of "The Stolen Crown" are not the grasping, scheming upstarts that so many others portray them as. Elizabeth (Bessie) is a quiet, pious woman who agrees to marry a handsome young king. It is the king who is determined to take care of her family. Henry is not forced into a loveless marriage to a Woodville spinster, but is quite happily married to Kate when they are both children. It was an eye opening read in which these characters were written so differently than what I am used to that I had to remind myself who they were from time to time. "That sweet Bessie girl? That's Elizabeth Woodville!"

Richard, Duke of Gloucester and later Richard III, is quite dastardly but in a more believable way than Shakespeare. Rather than reveling in his evilness, he does things because he feels that the ends justify the means. His manipulations and justifications go too far and he ends up turning people against him, even people who loved him.

Higginbotham makes a good case for how people are characterized in her author's notes. Maybe the Woodvilles were not really all scheming witches, maybe Richard was the creep that Shakespeare said he was, maybe the Duke of Buckingham was a basically good, but naïve, guy. If only we could truly know.

It was new to me to cry for Richard and John Woodville, cringe when Richard moved toward someone, and to feel pity and affection for Henry Stafford. This is where "The Stolen Crown" excels: in convincing the reader that the people you thought you had figured out were really entirely different. This was probably the most realistic portrayal of Richard that I have read, even if it was not the most romantic and enjoyable. A part of me will always hope that the Richard of "Sunne in Splendour" is somehow true.

Higginbotham includes a huge cast of characters that can be somewhat confusing even if you are basically familiar with the events surrounding 1483. However, she does not include the description of battles, so if that is something that you can't live without in a Wars of the Roses era novel, you will be disappointed. If you are a hardcore Ricardian, you may find it difficult. But if you are looking for a clever, fast-paced, well-written look at what might have been from a fresh point of view, you will enjoy this book.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Interesting, Well-written Book On the War of the Roses, 22 May 2013
By 
Robin Dalton "dreamergirl" (West Sussex, UK) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: The Stolen Crown: The Secret Marriage that Forever Changed the Fate of England (Kindle Edition)
Interesting, well-written book on the War of the Roses. As mentioned by someone else I think, a basic understanding of the events and people involved in the War of the Roses would be helpful... or easy access to Wikipedia, I suppose ;-)

I have read a number of books on this period in history. I've not found anything to surpass S K Penman' s Sunne in Splendour, and this is no exception. However, this was an enjoyable read. I found the portrayal of Richard III after Edward IV' s death a bit jarring, as well as the incredible stupidity and/or naivete of Buckingham.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Very complicated time, 9 April 2013
By 
Ann Parker (Indian Rocks Beach, Florida) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: The Stolen Crown: The Secret Marriage that Forever Changed the Fate of England (Kindle Edition)
I hadn't realised how truly complicated this fairly short period of English history was. Considering the list of the kings of England and their queens, Elizabeth Woodville did seem an anomaly, I mean where did she come from? This books clears that up: she was beautiful and gentle, and Edward IV fell for her. And Edward himself, and the doubts as to his 'provenance' - which might well have been the reason his brother Richard felt entitled to grab for the throne upon his untimely death.

It was quite a twist to get the story from the viewpoint of two other royals. But well over half way through the book, I made a big mistake. I googled Richard III's story of how he achieved his coup, and who his backers were, and the mess that ensued after he became king. So, through no mistake of the author, I just couldn't face reading anymore as the fate of someone I'd come to really like and respect slowly unwound. Won't be doing that again when I read my next historical novel.
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4 of 5 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Fascinating Read, 14 Oct 2010
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This review is from: The Stolen Crown (Paperback)
It was great to read the story from the point of view of Kathryn Woodville and her husband Henry Stafford. The twists and turns from their point of view showed a different side to the events which was welcome. I really enjoyed reading this book and highly recommend it to those who wish to read events from a different angle.
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5.0 out of 5 stars intriguing, 17 May 2014
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This review is from: The Stolen Crown: The Secret Marriage that Forever Changed the Fate of England (Kindle Edition)
It was a good read. It was sad, disturbing but this Richard was more realistic than the romantic one. Refreshing.
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4.0 out of 5 stars an Interesting View of a Turbulent Time, 2 Nov 2013
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This review is from: The Stolen Crown: The Secret Marriage that Forever Changed the Fate of England (Kindle Edition)
The Wars of the Roses is a time steeped in mystery and obviously it allows authors a great deal of scope to explore ideas and possibilities. This is yet another saga of possibilities. However this one takes the story through the eyes of two young players, sometimes at the centre of the action, others on the sidelines. It is an interesting read and it tells a good story, all the fictitious events are possibilities but that is what they are - possibilities and fictitious. Read and enjoy but don't totally believe.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Better than The White Queen, 12 Sep 2013
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This review is from: The Stolen Crown: The Secret Marriage that Forever Changed the Fate of England (Kindle Edition)
I have read these two books in fairly quick succession and they deal with the same period and the same topic, the Wars of the Roses. Of the two I prefer Stolen Crown. Although both are historical novels, The White Queen, an excellent book too, goes into too much witchcraft whereas Stolen Crown is more factual and covers a period extending to Henry VII. I also prefer the style of writing. There is a sequal to The White Queen called The Red Queen which would presumably cover this later period too but I downloaded a sample and it was clear that it was all going to be about witches too so I never bought it.

If you want a very enjoyable account of the late 15th Century, all its intrigues and betrayals, executions and adulteries, awful civil war with a fair degree of historical accuracy read Stolen Crown.
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