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The Stolen Crown,
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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.