13 of 15 people found the following review helpful
An Unknown Mistress,
This review is from: By Loyalty Bound (Hardcover)
Before reading this novel, I knew nothing about Richard III's alleged mistress of Richard, as all the stories I have read speaks of a devotion to his wife, Anne Neville, daughter of the Kingmaker. However Ms Ashworth makes a very convincing case for Anne Harrington being his lover and the mother of his surviving children, an heiress at the mercy of a guardian of the Stanleys.
This complicated era of history is handled extremely well. Edward IV did not have an easy rule and no one was certain of which side to join, and many changed loyalties according to who was in the ascendant and whose army was biggest. By the end I was confused as to who actually was the `rightful' king, so even with hindsight, had I lived in the 15th Century I would have made the wrong decision.
Villains abound in all guises and Anne has to tread a careful path with her in-laws who regard her as having brought disgrace on them by being Richard of Gloucester's mistress - hypocritical in the extreme as they forced her to marry their son so they could grab her estate!
Despite its difficult beginning in that she was presented to him as a bribe by her family - girls had a rotten time in the 15th century! Anne's devotion to Richard of Gloucester is touching, - so much so, she refuses to consummate her marriage to Edward Stanley - though fortunately he does not press the issue and takes a mistress of his own. In an age where bearing heirs is vital, I wondered at her father-in-law's silence on the fact she had produced two healthy children for Richard but none for her own husband, but he remains enigmatically silent.
Margaret Beaufort joins the Stanley family, making the entire crew even more sinister, and Anne has to watch her back for stray daggers, at times relying only on her aloof serenity to keep her safe.
A thoroughly enjoyable read.