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28 of 28 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars "Thy lady hath forgotten to be kind..."
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...
Published on 13 May 2008 by Morena

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9 of 11 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Elizabeth Woodville, witch or maligned by history?
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,...
Published on 20 Feb. 2009 by Misfit


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28 of 28 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars "Thy lady hath forgotten to be kind...", 13 May 2008
By 
Morena - See all my reviews
(VINE VOICE)   
This review is from: The King's Grey Mare (Paperback)
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. So, I guess it's not to everyone's taste. Her best known work is her first novel, We Speak No Treason, and although I found the writing there beautiful, the multiple-narrator structure dragged quite a bit and the dialogue seemed overly melodramatic. However, I was very pleasantly surprised with The King's Grey Mare. Perhaps experience had tightened up her abilities, or perhaps the classic novel type suits her better.

My favourite parts were in the earlier part of the book; Edward IV barrelling through the forest on a hunt, the legend of Melusine, the bliss of Bradgate, the court of the young and lovely Queen Marguerite. Places where the author's imagination has free rein. Perhaps predictably, the better documented parts of history, the machinations of politics, fall a little flat compared to the more magical parts of the novel. However, the final part of the book, which is set post-Bosworth where Henry Tudor is king, is gripping. It's unusual for a novel set in this period to spend much time, if any, after the fall of the Plantagenets. But if you've ever wondered exactly what happened to Elizabeth under Tudor rule, this book offers to fill in the gaps. Of course, there are some things we will never know the truth about, but Rosemary Hawley Jarman's explanation makes for an arresting conclusion.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars bringing history to life, 5 Jun. 2010
By 
Stephanie Weston (Spain) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: The King's Grey Mare (Paperback)
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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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Still a good read more than 30 years after I first read it!, 12 Aug. 2013
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This review is from: The King's Grey Mare (Paperback)
A fabulous & fairly well balanced book about Elizabeth Woodville written at a time when very little was known about the women of The Cousins Wars or Wars of the Roses. Ignited a life long interest in this era of English history. The book is still a good read today & compares well with anything written by Phillipa Gregory about this same period.
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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
This review is from: The King's Grey Mare (Paperback)
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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9 of 11 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Elizabeth Woodville, witch or maligned by history?, 20 Feb. 2009
By 
Misfit (Seattle, WA USA) - See all my reviews
(TOP 1000 REVIEWER)   
This review is from: The King's Grey Mare (Paperback)
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 The best of the Roses novels, 11 Oct. 2013
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This review is from: The King's Grey Mare (Kindle Edition)
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 Better than recent efforts, 5 Oct. 2013
By 
Mrs. G. M. Haslam-fox "Gaby" (West Sussex) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: The King's Grey Mare (Paperback)
I read (and lost) this book some years ago and found it to be so much better written than the recent Phillipa Gregory version which is why I have bought it again to re-read..
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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
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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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4.0 out of 5 stars Good read, 13 Jun. 2014
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This review is from: The King's Grey Mare (Kindle Edition)
Interesting from start to finish - a part of history I hadn't read before but will follow up after reading this well written book
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4 of 6 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Elizabeth Woodville, 8 Aug. 2008
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A wonderful novel about Edward IV and his highly unpopular Queen Elizabeth Woodville. The most disliked thing about her was her grasping family, who, once she was married to the young King Edwaard IV the first Yorkist king,she set about marrying off her relatives to anyone with money who was available. Even old ladies were`nt sacrosanct - her young brother married an elderly lady of 80. She put everyone against her, she was (a) Lancastrian (b) a widow (c) older with two young children by her first marriage to John of Bedford one of the brothers of Henry V and finally she wasn`t suitable, as a French princess had already been chosen for Edwards bride, but then men being men, he saw Elizabeth (a beauty by all accounts) and that was it. Unfortunately she would not become his mistress, she said, he had to marry her or nothing. Edward had had this before from stubborn women and eventually worn them down, but not this one. She was the ice queen. Had she only known it he was pre-contracted to a certain Lady Eleanor Butler, and in those days a pre-contract was as good as a marriage licence signed and witnessed. It wasn`t until Edwards death that all those details became known, which effectively made all her children illegitimate. Thereore we never had a crowned King Edward V, and the crown passed to Richard III. It is a fascinating book, Miss Hawley Jarman at her very best. Difficult to put down until the final page.
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