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Within the Hollow Crown

3.81  ·  Rating Details ·  556 Ratings  ·  50 Reviews

Set against the backdrop of a country racked by revolt and class warfare, Within the Hollow Crown showcases the true spirit of a king at the end of one of the most glorious dynasties, who wants both England's heart and crown. Perhaps one of the most misunderstood of all English monarchs, the son of the Black Prince and grandson of Edward III has been portrayed in a dim lig

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Published April 1st 2010 by Sourcebooks, Incorporated (first published 1947)
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The majority of this book is a no fuss, no frills, solid read about Richard II - perfect if you're fairly new to the finer points of his reign, as I am. By strange contrast though, after so much interest and detail about his earlier years, the crux of his story - Henry Bolingbroke’s usurpation - felt rushed and empty, with no build-up, explanation or reasoning. Had I not already known the history, I’d have been left scratching my head wondering what the hell had happened, and more importantly, w ...more
I was led to read this after viewing the recent PBS production of Shakespeare's Richard II. This was a pleasant novel, with a positive portrayal of Richard II, the last Plantagenet king, son of Edward, the Black Prince. I'd award this ***1/2, were this rating available. Outstanding was the vivid picture of 14th century England this novel gave.

At age 11, Richard Plantagenet becomes king upon his father's death. The novel is the story of his reign and his doom. He is overawed by and frightened of
Jul 23, 2010 Amanda rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
3.5 stars

PROS: 1) I found the characters and story gripping and realistically drawn. 2) The writing made the story easy to get into because it flowed well.

CONS: 1) I recognize that I have a personal bias in that I find myself very fond of history and historical fiction in general. This may not be the case for others, so getting into the story might be harder for those people. Regardless of quality of writing. 2) On the whole and when you get right down to it the book as a whole is forgettable du

More like 3.5 stars.

Good solid, old school historical fiction about Richard II of England and his tragic reign which avoids getting overly bogged down in the politics of the time. The pluses of this are obvious but can lead to a little confusion why everyone is so against poor Richard and it also tends to romanticize his reign somewhat, although not in a sickly sweet and syrupy way. Recommended but you may need to reference Wikipedia occasionally if you are more interested in the nitty gritty hi
Mar 09, 2010 Marie rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommended to Marie by: Sourcebooks
Shelves: own

Margaret Campbell Barnes was a popular historical writer of her day, which was fifty years ago. She doesn't write as dramatically as popular historical fiction writers of today, but she weaves us through the story as deftly as possible. Within The Hollow Crown features the young king, Richard II who 'ruled' from 1377 (at age ten) to 1399. Barnes attempts to recreate this tumultuous rule as he grows a bit older, marries Anne of Bohemia and ultimately loses control of his noblemen. It is interesti
Aug 25, 2012 Steve rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: books-i-own
A marvelous reinterpretation of Richard II. Ms. Campbell attempts to portray the King as a man who fell deeply in love with his wife Anne, after they wed. This love allowed Richard to bring peace to his realm and attempt to restore England to financial solvency, after decades of brutal taxation to fund glamorous foreign wars. Tragically, his beloved is taken from him. Without the strength and stability Queen Anne provided the King, he gradually--albeit unawares--became consumed by his repressed ...more
Jun 27, 2015 Jeanette rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Marking this as read is cheating. I read 1/3rd and then skimmed. This is not history or even history light, IMHO. So I couldn't give it the time for the value taken. Writing Richard II as empathetic or sympathetic or "nice" or giving him first a "sweetie" and then gone to "nasty" personality change without telling the politics in detail?

Well, the style and the license taken are not in the proper "eyes" for the century. Some facts of his life are there but it is not Richard II's rise and downfall
Feb 18, 2009 Brian rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
This is one of the very few books where Richard II is presented as a hero, so it earns at least one star just for that as far as I am concerned.

As to history - well, let's say certain things are twisted till they break, while the chronology is about as accurate as in Shakespeare's Richard III. There's some nice characterisation, particularly Richard himself and Anne, but most of the others are not really fully drawn. There's a slightly odd sub plot involving Edward Dalyngrigge and his wife - the
Apr 03, 2010 Bridget rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Both his father and grandfather have passed away and now Richard II, who is just a boy, is the new King of England. Being a child he was only able to rule with the Regency Council. As he grew to be a teenage, the council was null and he was able to make decisions for his people as he saw fit. He also fell in love and took a wife, Anne of Bohemia at this important time in his life.

There are so many things that happen in this book. King Richard's life is like a roller coaster. There's drama, roman
Pat K
Jun 08, 2015 Pat K rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I really liked this book. I have read a number of books by this author and always finish the books feeling like I have learned some history as well as having a thoroughly good read.
Stacie (MagicOfBooks)
I will also do a video review here at my channel:

"Within the Hollow Crown" by Margaret Campbell Barnes is historical fiction based on King Richard II's rule. Richard never wanted to be king and his father is a continual shadow in his life. England is in political and class warfare, and an inexperienced Richard must figure out a way to form his own kingship and not let his uncles control him.

Richard II is a bit of a vague area for me, but an area of the English
This is another book Ive had on my tbr pile for about a year and finally felt in the mood to read, having recently read Crown in Candlelight which deals with the immediate aftermath of Richard II's usurpation and death. Written in 1948 I must say I quite enjoyed the style of the dialogue spoken which reflects the time in which the book was written. It very much made me think of old films made in the 1940's and 50's and I couldnt help reading the book imagining it as an old film starring Joan Fon ...more
Richard II is a just a kid when he becomes the King of England. As a boy king, his uncles have a lot of power over his decisions and use him to put their own agenda forward. After dealing with a large scale peasant revolt, where he takes control of the situation himself to the shock of his uncles, Richard begins to take over the reins of government. For the first time in years, England is in a state of relative peace, but that cannot last for long…

The thing that I enjoyed the most about Barnes’
Mar 30, 2010 Jennifer rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: historical, fiction
From my blog...[return][return]When writing reviews such as this one, there is for me a fine line between giving just enough information and telling too much. Hopefully the information I have selected to share will be enough to make readers want to pick up this book. Within the Hollow Crown by Margaret Campbell Barnes is beautifully written and at times tragic tale of Richard II. His father Prince Edward, more commonly referred to as the Black Prince passed away when Richard was only 10 and by t ...more
Jan 26, 2010 Terra rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This is a book that is a wonderfully meaty read that will pull you here, there and everywhere. A highly emotional story of injustice starting with a young boy King and taking you though the first twenty plus years of his reign as King of England. A story that will make you feel sorry for this young man born of privilege for he is not exempt from the cruelties of life as most of us would think.

Richard II takes reign as King of England at the young tender age of ten. His father having died the yea
Jul 21, 2011 Tarotemp rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Admittedly, my opinion of Richard II before reading Within the Hollow Crown was less than stellar, mostly because to me he was what I like to think of as: "A half-mad tweener king with a lot of growing pains." Placed on the throne at age 10 after the deaths of the long-lived Good King Edward III and his son, the beloved Black Prince, Richard struggled to fill some very big shoes. Unlike his fiery male Plantagenet predecessors, Richard was worldly, refined, with a keen eye for fashion, the arts a ...more
Feb 16, 2010 Svea rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: arc
2.5 Stars
Read my full review on my blog: Confessions & Ramblings of a Muse in the Fog
This was a hard book for me to attach myself to. The first few pages were great but then it really became a bit dull until a little over half way through. Although I found the beginning a tad dry, I did enjoy reading about Richard's personality and seeing him change from a mere youth to a man who could rule a country. The author did a splendid job of helping the reader actually feel what it would be like to
Aug 21, 2011 Dana rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Richard II, King of England is a much maligned monarch. History has not treated him well and his role as the last Plantagenet king of England is a prelude to the War or Roses and the establishment of the Tudor dynasty. During his reign, Richard faced one of the first recorded peasant revolt in England as well as constant in fighting amongst his uncles, the sons of Edward III, one of the greatest English kings. After quelling the revolt and marrying Anne of Bohemia, Richard ruled for eight peacef ...more
Kathleen Kelly
Jan 12, 2010 Kathleen Kelly rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: finished
This is another great historical fiction story by Margaret Campbell Barnes and tells the story of Richard Plantagenet who is the son of The Black Prince. He is also the nephew of John of Gaunt and grandson of King Edward III.His mother was Joan, Princess of Wales. Richard was crowned king of England at the early age of eleven. During the early years of his reign there was a variety of councils that ruled as a regency. Around 1380-1381 Richard played a major part in supressing the Peasant's Revol ...more
Rebecca Hill
Richard II came to the throne when he was still a minor, and under the influence of his uncles. After years of chaffing under their rule, and wanting to strike out on his own, he gets the chance. But the flames of revenge burn bright in his mind. He has been slighted, belittled, and little thought of unless completely needed for a signature. When Richard married Anne of Bohemia, she falls completely in love with him, and he with her. After her death years later, he gave up on everything, the cou ...more
May 08, 2010 Patty rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I enjoyed this book. I have to admit to not knowing much about Richard II before I started but now I want to know more. Richard was just 11 when his father died and then 15 when his grandfather died leaving him King at a very young age. He only had glimpses of what it was like to be a child. He was the last of the manly, warring Plantagenet line and he was remarkably a peace maker despite the best efforts of his uncles.

He married young and his marriage was a happy one - rare in royal circle. But
Oct 26, 2011 Kate rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
This book discusses the reign of King Richard II. It starts with the death of his father when he was a child, leaving him as King. His three uncles effectively take over the running of the country and Richard is left trying to fight for his right to rule. Eventually Richard manages this but it does not really happen until he is 22 and old enough to take the crown on his own. For a few years he had a peaceful rule, which after the wars of his forefathers and threat of civil war which marked the b ...more
May 17, 2014 Toby rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Although I usually love the historical novels of the late Margaret Campbell Barnes, this one wasn't a favorite.

It's a coming of age story about England's King Richard II who comes to the throne as a boy and struggles against his powerful and jealous uncles to assume the power of the throne.

In this story, Richard is a sympathetic character (not the way he is usually portrayed) longing to do right but misunderstood by his powerful relatives and many in his kingdom. Not sure if I buy this version
"Are you sure you want to mark this book as finished?"
Finito... beh se così si può dire quando uno legge l'ultima riga perché non ha neanche la voglia di leggere tutta l'ultima pagina da quanto era noioso il libro.

Gli do due stelline perché non mi sembrerebbe onesto dargliene una avendo letto duecento pagine sulle 330, ma ho capito l'idea centrale che il povero Riccardo II non ha mai fatto niente di male ed è tutta colpa di Bolingbroke. Uh, ok...

Mi sono persa nel vortice (come diceva il mio pro
Jun 26, 2012 Lin rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Six months ago I tried to read this book and abandoned it, I'm really pleased I decided to pick it up again. The much maligned Richard II is given a new life. There are so many what if's to consider. What if his father had have died when Richard was older, what if his uncles where not so grasping and power hungry. What if Anne of Bohemia had have lived. Richard was a peaceful man forced to rule in a war-mad society, if you were not a warrior you were not a man. I really enjoyed the depiction by ...more
This is my first book on Richard II and I'm glad I started off with an author who is sympathetic to him. It kinda makes it easier for me to then read a biography or the more popular counter version of an ineffective or tyrant ruler. First the sweet then the bad and sometime in between the balance.
What a sad, sad life for the most part. Aside from being with his wife, when was this King ever happy? I noticed that the author did gloss over very controversial moments that de
Heather Mims
This was my third Margaret Campbell Barnes novel, and as usual, I was bothered by the writing style. The narrative isn't bad, but her speech tags are clunky and horribly distracting. It's difficult to become engaged in the dialogue itself when everyone is busy remonstrating and lamenting and expostulating all over the place, especially when these "anything but said" words are often misused.

Nonetheless, I love the subject matter of her novels, and her characterization is quite good. Worth the rea
Feb 21, 2016 Carole rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
To be honest, I did not finish this book. For some reason, it did not draw me in like historical fiction typically does. I think the author has tried to hard to turn this into a compelling story by playing up the relationship between Richard and his wife Anne of Bohemia as well as try to put his story into a more appealing light than the way most of history is written about him. The real story of Richard II is really very, very political with the conflicts he had with his counsel and his constan ...more
Jun 25, 2012 Maggie rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: historical
I gave up on this book when i was about three quarters of the way through it. It's not very often i give up on a book but i didn't feel i was getting anything from it. I knew nothing about Richard II before i began reading this (perhaps that was the problem??)but i didn't gain any knowledge from this book, or the inclination to find out more.

For me, what i read was boring and nothing really happend and the plot didn't seem to be going anywhere. I'm so glad that this was not the first MCB book th
Dec 10, 2010 Monica rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: reviewed
I am really starting to enjoy historical fiction so much more these days, so many great authors are re-writing old stories and they are all just great. I love Henry the VIII he has always been my favorite infamous monarch, but I might have a soft spot of Richard II now as well. The beginning of the book is slow, you must push through it a but, but once you do, it is worth it. I enjoyed the drama of this story, it's like a soap opera in book form, amazing twists and plots, murder, love, and intri ...more
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Margaret Campbell Barnes was born in 1891 and died in 1962. She was the youngest of ten children born in the Sussex country side. By all accounts she lived a happy childhood and was eventually educated at small private schools in Paris and London.

The majority of her books were written between the 1940's and 1960's.

She married Peter Barnes in 1917, a furniture salesman, and the couple had two sons,
More about Margaret Campbell Barnes...

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