on 21 May 2013
Edward IV described Jane Shore as the merriest whore at court. This book captures the essence of Jane's vivacious witty personality. Sensual and gifted with sex appeal Jane is forced to wed Will Shore by her father. A disastrous match because Will is a cold austere man. Jane's beauty catches the eye of Edward's closest friend Chancellor William Hastings and she is brought to the attention of licentious Edward IV - a king with a roving eye who takes Jane as his mistress.
This book places Jane's reign as mistress in chief rather later than other versions of this fascinating piece of history . The author catches the personality of Jane and also the ambience of 15th century London with it's colourful life and brutality where a man could be rrobbed of his ears for speaking slightingly of the sovereign.
Richard III , William Hastings and Elizabeth Woodville spring from the pages of the past.
Jane never forgets her past as the daughter of a mercer and is renowned for her charity and compassionate nature - using her body and wit Jane Shore climbs to the highest bed in the land only to fall from power when the king dies and Hastings is executed on a trumped charge of treason.
on 20 May 2013
Royal Mistress is an absorbing tale about Jane Lambert, the daughter of a mercer who becomes the mistress of King Edward IV and other noblemen in the fifteenth century. Born with the gift of beauty, Jane easily turns heads and attracts the attention of every man she encounters. When she meets Thomas Grey, the Marquess of Dorset, Jane falls irretrievably in love. He betroths her to William Shore, a much older, but wealthy merchant. Jane soon discovers her husband is impotent and her eye begins to wander as she contemplates seeking an annulment. When she catches the eye of William Hastings, the king's own chamberlain, he recommends her to the king, a man with a voracious sexual appetite. Jane willingly becomes his mistress until his death. Years later, when Richard III ascends the throne, he is determined to cleanse the depraved court and Jane is one of the first to be accused.
This novel is well researched, full of historic characters, places, and items, and the story compelling. There is plenty to entertain; betrayal, suspense, and plenty of romance. The vivid prose evokes strong images, making the story engrossing and colored with the sights and smells of the 16th century. Jane Shore is presented as a bold, spirited woman, witty and confident in all she does and says. How else could she have caught the discerning eye of so many men of lofty rank. A very entertaining novel!
on 24 January 2014
I love this historical period and Jane Shore features large in the history of the woodvilles and the Yorks. She comes across as a kind and caring person and it's easy to see why Edward IV was so in love with her. A great book for readers of Philippa Gregorys Cousins War books.
on 19 January 2015
I love stories - including historical novels- about the 'whore with the heart of gold'
From Rahab, the harlot to heroine who hid the Hebrew spies in Jericho to Julia Robert's Pretty Woman. I have long loved Mistress Jane Shore, described as 'the merriest whore in court' the beloved mistress of Edward IV
Jane Shore appears in the 1955 Laurence Olivier production of Shakespeare's Richard III , played by Pamela Brown, in a role where she appears but only speaks one line 'Good morrow'
Jean Plaidy's The Goldsmith's Wife featuring Jane Shore is a rewarding read, and I mistress Shore also appears in The Sunne in Splendour by Sharon Kay Penman, figures in Silk by Vanora Benett and the White Queen by Phillipa Gregory
Royal mistress is compelling and engaging, well researched and I found myself sustaining a strong sympathy for Jane Shore from beginning to end.
she is portrayed as beautiful and sexy, good hearted, intelligent and fun.
During her period as Edward IV's favoured mistress she used her position to go great things for the poor of London earning herself the name the 'Rose of London
The book begins in 1475 with Jane Lambert as a 22 year old unmarried daughter of a mercer, who is an uncaring and abusive father. It is clearly the lack of love from her father and her first husband that leads Jane to seek it elsewhere.
she begins a romance with the dapper son of the queen Elizabeth Woodville, Earl Thomas Grey, who declines to commit to her as he is already married. And she is forced by her father to marry the older mercer William Shore who is not just austere and cold but is actually impotent, can cannot give her love or children.
The novel then moves to her discovery by Edward IV's leading advisor William Hastings who introduces her to the king, leading her to become the favourite mistress of the king, and giving her an eye on the court, including the rebellion by the kings brother George, Duke of Clarence and his death by drowning in a butt of malmsey!
She also gains the enmity of the Queen. Elizabeth Woodville, and the kings younger brother Earl Richard of Gloucester.
On Edward's death she finds love with William Hasting who is soon after executed on orders of the by the regent Richard, who as Richard III has Jane thrown into the hellish Ludgate prison for 'harlotry' and allegedly consorting with Elizabeth Woodville.
She is forced to do a cruel penance on Richard's orders of being paraded through London's streets, waering only her kirtle before prostrating herself before the kings priests in the cathedral.
After being thrown into prison a second time, she is rescued by the king's solicitor Thomas Lyneham, who falls in love with her, and despite King Richard's disapproval has Jane released and marries, her giving her f happiness and contentment after so much hardship. The author though a Ricardian writes from the perspective of someone who had eevry reason to hate Richard III.
She also like most historical novelists of today absolves Richard of the death of the princes in the tower, having it done by his advisor, without the king's knowledge.
The book ends with the meeting of a widowed Jane , a widow, now an old woman in her late 60s having been reduced to beggary, and her meeting with Sir Thomas More.
I enjoyed this book, the author's craftsmanship with words, the identification of the lead character and window into history of the time
on 10 June 2013
I really thought this book could have been better. Firstly the main character Jane Shore isn't even in most of the book. The author starts to begin new ideas but then suddenly changes it to another characters point of view. For a book called the royal mistress there was not much development in Jane's relationship with Edward IV and while she is in a relationship with him she pines for another man and as soon as he relationship with Edward starts it ends with his death, there is more scenes in the book with Jane and William Hastings than there is with Edward, which I thought was a bit stupid as she was suppose to be in a relationship with Edward not William. Although there is some elements of the book that were entertaining I felt the author had some unfinished ideas and could have developed the characters of Jane, Edward, William and Thomas a bit more.
on 24 June 2013
Born Elizabeth Lambert, Jane Shore was born into a reasonably well-to-do merchant's family, and was married to William Shore, who was - like her father - a mercer by trade (and not a goldsmith as had been believed until fairly recently). She is reputed to have been very beautiful and both her father and her husband were not above exploiting this fact in order to gain custom; she was also intelligent, witty and well-mannered, her daily life in the running of her father's business having brought her regularly into contact with well-born ladies whose behaviour and deportment she was able to observe.
"Royal Mistress" tells Jane's story from just before the time of her marriage until almost the end of her life, taking as its final event, the true story of a chance meeting between Jane - now in her sixties - and Sir Thomas More, Lord Chancellor to Henry VIII.
Jane is an attractive character and her story is told in a very straightforward manner .She is vivacious, generous and down-to-earth and does not take the decision to become King Edward IV's mistress at all lightly. During her time with him, Jane earned herself the name of "The Rose of London" for her kindness and generosity those who asked for her help and the fact that she never forgot her origins or used her status as the King's mistress to enrich herself or to ride roughshod over the people of her own class. If there was one thing about this fictionalised version of Jane that didn't ring true, it was her nine-year infatuation with Elizabeth Woodville's eldest son, Tom Grey. The author has him and Jane literally bumping into each other in the street at the beginning of the book; having then arranged a secret assignation in order to seduce Jane, Tom realises she is expecting declarations of love and a proposal - and he confesses that he is already married. They see each other only a very few times over the course of the book and yet Jane - even when she is happily sharing Edward's bed - is still fixated on Tom. It's true that Jane did become Tom Grey's mistress after Edward's death; and although I imagine the torch Jane carries for Grey is the author's invention, I did find that Jane's constant hankering for him became annoying very quickly.
Jane's relationship with Edward seems to have been one of mutual affection. She appears to have conducted herself modestly and gained the respect of much of the court for her common sense, wit and good manners. But although Jane has always known her position to be a somewhat precarious one, it is only when Edward becomes ill suddenly and dies - aged only forty - that she realises just how precarious it is. For me, this was when the book really started to come to life as Jane's life is turned upside down and she becomes unwittingly involved in a Woodville plot to wrest the Protectorate from Edward's brother Richard.
It was at this point - around half-way through the book - that I thought things moved up a gear and I began to feel a greater engagement with the story than I had up until then. The pacing picks up as Jane is swept up in events she does not fully understand, and I thought the scenes in which she and Hastings say farewell for what will turn out to be the last time, were truly heartfelt.
On a personal level, I was pleased to discover that the narrative is written in the third person omniscient rather than the first person as seems to be the favoured viewpoint for so much of the historical fiction being written today. This means that the author is able to include scenes depicting events of which Jane could have no knowledge without having to resort to too much of the "as you know, Bob", style of dialogue in having someone later recount to her in order to keep the reader informed. That's not to say that this doesn't happen in the book - it does. But it's not as frequent or intrusive at it might otherwise have been.
I imagine that authors of historical fiction have a difficult line to tread when it comes to deciding on the level of detail to include. Is your audience likely to have a reasonable background knowledge of the period about which you are writing, or do you assume it knows next to nothing? I venture to suggest that if you fall into the latter category, you will find "Royal Mistress" to be engaging and informative; but if, like me, you are in the former group, you might find it to be somewhat simplistic in tone with a little too much repetition as to who everyone is, what is their position at court, to whom they are related and so on.
That said, I think the book does have plenty to recommend it. I found it enjoyable overall; the story is well-told, Jane is an attractive and sympathetic protagonist and some of the secondary characters - such as William Hastings and Thomas Lyneham - are very nicely drawn indeed. The historical detail has been well-researched, and even when I didn't completely agree with the author's interpretation of some of the historical figures (Richard of Gloucester was frequently presented as a po-faced killjoy, for example) I could understand why she had made those decisions.
I'm not sure that "Royal Mistress" is a book I will re-read in the near future, but I would certainly say that it is worth reading if you are interested in the tumultuous events of the latter part of the fifteenth century and in the lives of the last two Plantagenet monarchs.
on 14 November 2014
After reading about Elizabeth and Edward, it was interesting to see what it was like from Jane Shore's point of view, the love and trails she went through. Really gripping read and great read, something to sink your teeth into and you can't put it down!
on 14 November 2013
Know fiction but very interesting as touches on the history as we know it. Anne's interpretation is good and entertaining. It is so interesting that it is hard to stop to go to sleep.
on 11 July 2013
Just love this book, but then I am mad on reading about this particular part of England`s history. A good read and hugely enjoyable.
on 2 November 2014
One of my favourite authors. Just love her books. Highly recommended.