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To the Tower Born

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3.60  ·  Rating Details  ·  1,038 Ratings  ·  114 Reviews
In 1483, Edward and Richard of York—Edward, by law, already King of England—were placed, for their protection before Edward's coronation, in the Tower of London by their uncle Richard. Within months the boys disappeared without a trace, and for the next five hundred years the despised Richard III was suspected of their heartless murders.

In To the Tower Born, Robin Maxwell
...more
Paperback, 320 pages
Published October 3rd 2006 by William Morrow Paperbacks (first published September 1st 2005)
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(showing 1-30 of 3,000)
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Sarah (Presto agitato)
The fate of the princes in the tower, the young sons of Edward IV who disappeared just before twelve-year old Edward was to be crowned as Edward V, is a mystery that has fascinated people for 500 years.

This treatment of the story treads a fine line between historical fiction and rather fanciful alternate history. I’ll give Maxwell credit for coming up with an unusual solution to the mystery. It’s unfortunate, though, that the basis of the story is founded on such stereotyped, almost cartoonish,
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Ikonopeiston
It is very unlikely that I would have bought this book had it not been available in a Kindle edition. The combination of low price and convenience led me to take the chance and so I have read it. The most positive thing I can find to say is that it is, at least, not one of those dreadful historical bodice-ripping romances. Aside from that, I found nothing of value or revelation in these pages.

Part of the problem, I think, is that I am currently immersed in historical and biographical fact and ha
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Nicole
Nov 30, 2008 Nicole marked it as thrown-to-the-side  ·  review of another edition
I put it under the couch one night before I went to bed...and promptly forgot about it for a week even though I was halfway through the book. Not a good sign!
Victoria
This was dire. Filled with myths and badly researched or factually incorrect research. I feel it's aimed at the younger reader rather than an older reader that knows the period well.
Jenny GB
An interesting addition to the fiction surrounding the lost princes in the tower, but I wasn't too impressed with the quality of the writing and the depth of the characters. The author puts forth the theory that Margaret Beaufort was to blame for the prince's disappearance. The novel switches between the viewpoints of Elizabeth Woodville and a bookprinter's daughter named Nell as they tell the story to the future Henry VIII. The content is interesting and kept me reading as she theorized about R ...more
Erin
Sep 21, 2014 Erin rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Maxwell states in the author's note, " The debate[of the princes) is stymied by several widely fifteenth century chronicles, all of which are seriously flawed by bias, factual error, and incompleteness.... But none of them has fashioned a wholly satisfying conclusion."

Interesting, right? It should be! I just found too many road blocks in the way for me to "like" or "love" this book. Perhaps I have found myself saturated with so many theories about the princes in the tower. Maybe the problem is
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Carole Rae
Randomly stumbled upon this at my library and I had read a Robin Maxwell novel in the past and I had liked it, so I thought why not give this a try? Well...I truly had mixed feelings about this one.

The twist with what happened to the lost princes surely did make me think. Is it crazy to think that a certain someone kidnapped them? (I shall not name names) But it all makes sense. This person (who is not Richard) was the one to do it. This person had every reason to do it and I'm ashamed that I n
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Faith
I enjoyed this book because it gave what I thought was an interesting take on what could have happened to the two princes who disappeared from the tower so long ago. It was something I haven't heard before and while I realize it is a work of fiction, it was something original regarding the sons of Elizabeth Woodville.

It has also made me want to read more about Elizabeth Woodville. I have now read two books that deal with this subject, both works of fiction, and they are at odds with what kind of
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Cali
Oct 22, 2008 Cali rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
It took me almost two months to read this book! It was just silly. It was very predictable and, at times, over dramatic. The story did put a nice spin on the disappearance of the two princes. But, I think it could have been written better.
Sharleen
This is a very light historical fiction,more fiction that historically detailed. It was an easy read and somewhat entertaining but not rich in story.
Jane Irish Nelson
Not terribly believable. I've read a lot about this time period, both fact and fiction, and found some events depicted to be entirely unbelievable.

Supposedly William Caxton's daughter Elizabeth, known as Nell, becomes best friends with the eldest daughter of King Edward IV, another Elizabeth, known as Bessie. Years later the two of them tell the true story of what happened to Bessie's brothers to her son, Henry.

The author has come up with an entirely new candidate for the villain who removed the
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Tess
Feb 06, 2015 Tess rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
“To The Tower Born” is a retelling of the infamous story of King Richard III and the “princes in the Tower,” or the “lost princes.” It is told from the two point-of-views of Bessie (the sister to the princes, and who would later become Queen Elizabeth to Henry VII), and Nell Caxton, a friend to the royal family.

As this is one of my favorite time periods and cast of characters, I was really hoping that the book would be better. Maxwell’s style of writing is a lot of telling instead of showing, an
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Michelle L
Dec 18, 2015 Michelle L rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: No one
A YA author has an even greater responsibility to get it right than others. I hate to pan an author outright, but this is one of the worst books I've ever read - poor writing, including extremely non-15th Century language and poor grammar, poor research, and wrong or deliberately (?) misleading 'facts'. What is the bloody point of a historical that gets it so wrong, for teens or adults? If it weren't for my interest in that particular piece of English history no way I would have struggled throu ...more
Tracey Allen at Carpe Librum
Mar 07, 2011 Tracey Allen at Carpe Librum rated it really liked it
The disappearance of the Princes in the Tower in 1483 has captured the attention of historians for hundreds of years, and the mystery has never been solved.

What we do know is that following the death of King Edward IV, his eldest son Edward was placed in The Tower of London (which were then luxurious royal apartments) for his own protection prior to his coronation. He was later joined by his younger brother, Prince Richard.

Whilst in the Tower it was discovered that the marriage of their parents
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Kim
May 03, 2009 Kim rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: war-of-the-roses
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Barb
I previously attempted to read Robin Maxwell's 'The Secret Diary' of Anne Boleyn and I just couldn't get into it, I thought it a bit smutty for serious literature and I had to pass on finishing it. So, I wasn't sure what I would think of this book from the same author.

I recently finished 'A Rose For the Crown' by Anne Easter Smith and I wanted to read more about Richard III and the princes in the tower. I had this on the shelf and thought it was the perfect next choice.

The story of the lost pr
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Anna
Mar 17, 2011 Anna rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
I had just finished Philippa Gregory's "The White Queen," when I spied Maxwell's book in the public library to further follow up on my interest in the War of the Roses and the rivalries between the Yorks and the Lancasters. Gregory's novel was told first-person by Elizabeth Woodville, the queen to Edward IV, and portrays her as devoutly maternal as well as cunning and ambitiously determined to ensconce her relatives into power and position in her husband's realm. In Maxwell's novel, Bessie or El ...more
Rusty
Jan 20, 2013 Rusty rated it liked it
Having read a review on this book just prior my read, I almost passed it up. However, I had read another book by Robin Maxwell that I liked so I decided to proceed. The story is theoretically told by Nell Caxton, only daughter of the first English printer, and Bessie, sister to the lost boys who were imprisoned in the tower. Both were real people.

What happened to the princes and who was responsible has not been determined but many have put forth theories. As of this writing, Maxwell notes that
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Rebecca Hill
Jun 04, 2013 Rebecca Hill rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Nell Caxton and Princess Elizabeth of York are great friends, both headstrong young ladies, who want the best for both of their families. After the death of King Edward IV and the murky succession of Edward V and Richard III, the two young boys, King Edward V and his brother Richard, Duke of York, are locked in the tower after it is proven that they were born illegitimate, which means Edward cannot assume the throne. Suddenly one day they are gone, and no one knows where, or if they are even ali ...more
Brenda
Feb 27, 2009 Brenda rated it it was ok
The thing that’s wrong with this book (among many things) is that it depends almost entirely on coincidence to advance its plot. There are too many times when we are expected to believe that Nell and or Bessie are in the right place at the right time and by pure chance happen to be standing by a window where important information is being divulged or in a room unnoticed by people plotting. You’d think the people hatching said plots (to overthrow the rulers of their country, of all things!) would ...more
Wendy Welch
I like the way she writes, and I am on a big historic fiction kick just now. But she made some serious factual mistakes, and a couple of obfuscations where she glossed really quickly over something, perhaps in hopes no one would notice. The plot as she constructed it doesn't work for her two characters because she's got them being strong women taking control of their own destiny and yet history has Queen Bessie (not Elizabeth I, but her grandmother) as the doormat of Lady Margaret, who was a REA ...more
Sarah Haggett
This isn't a work of outstanding historical research, but it was a fast-paced and fun read that kept me wanting to find out the ending.

I don't have a problem with the central revelation about why the princes disappeared but I did find the whole thing was resolved a little bit too quickly at the end. I really liked Nell, but didn't find her story all that believable (particularly the job with the commuting seems very unlikely!)
Orsolya
This is another book by Robin Maxwell which is the opposite of "couldn't put it down" and is more like, "Get this away from me". I keep giving Maxwell a chance but perhaps it is time to give up.

The princes in the tower (Richard and Edward) who were "locked" up by their "usurping, evil, uncle Richard III"; is a historical tale which needs no exaggeration, no tangents, and no additions because it is an episode of "Unsolved Mysteries" in its own right. So why does Maxwell insist on adding such comp
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Bernadette
Mar 04, 2011 Bernadette rated it did not like it
I really hate to give a book 1 star. I would give it a 1.5 if I could...the first third of the book is readable, and somewhat interesting, but then, for me, it goes downhill. This is supposed to be HF but I found a lot more Fiction than History. I was anxious to read this book because I found the history about the "little princes" so fascinating. History says that the princes were locked in the Tower of London and there has been speculation that they were killed by their uncle Richard III. I tho ...more
Lynn Roehm
Yes, there were things I didn't like about the book. The princes' mother was way too heartless and much of the plot was convenient and contrived, but it was fun to read. I think Maxwell may be correct about the person she believes was behind the boys kidnapping. She gives good evidence why it makes sense. The actual storyline is more Hollywood than history, but I enjoyed it.
Jean
Although this was a good read, it was very evident that it's fiction. Writing was enjoyable, I consider it to be well written. With that said I felt it to be an easy read. The characters were well rounded and believable.
Tammy
Nov 12, 2014 Tammy rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Less a story of the Lost Princes and more a story of their eldest sister and her friend with an incredibly abrupt transition to the ending. Not sure I will read another by this author.
Sandy
Jan 07, 2013 Sandy rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
In 1483, Edward and Richard of York—Edward already King of England—were placed, for their protection before Edward's coronation, in the Tower of London by their uncle Richard. Within months the boys disappeared without a trace, and for the next five hundred years the despised Richard III was suspected of their murders.

In To the Tower Born, Robin Maxwell ingeniously imagines what might have happened to the missing princes. The great and terrible events that shaped a kingdom are viewed through the
...more
Bethany
Jan 11, 2008 Bethany rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: fiction, historical
To the Tower Born is a piece of historical fiction about the disappearances of Edward and Richard, often referred to as the “little princes.” The commonly held theory is that Richard of Gloucester had them killed in order to secure his right to the throne of England; Maxwell invents a theory that it was actually Henry VIII’s grandmother who had them killed. It is an interesting addition to the discussion and controversy surrounding the incident.

The book can be heavy-handed at times in showing va
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Tori
Aug 01, 2011 Tori rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
2010- This wasn't my first read by the author, as I had read The Secret Diary of Anne Boleyn several years ago and enjoyed it. I found the subject matter (the disappearance of Edward and Richard of York) behind the book fascinating, but the story itself was just okay. The author tried to go back and forth between Nell (friend of the princess Elizabeth, who was the sister of the two princes) and Bessie (princess Elizabeth herself) to tell the story. Bessie never really developed into a well-round ...more
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Robin Maxwell began writing novels about the historical figures she had been obsessing about since graduating from Tufts University with a degree in Occupational Therapy. Her first novel, "The Secret Diary of Anne Boleyn," now in its 24th printing, won two YA awards and has been translated into fourteen languages. "The Wild Irish" - an epic tale of Ireland's rebel queen, Grace O'Malley - closed ou ...more
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