Anne Neville knew and/or was related to nearly everyone of any importance in The Wars of the Roses. For such a pivotal character, very little was writAnne Neville knew and/or was related to nearly everyone of any importance in The Wars of the Roses. For such a pivotal character, very little was written about her in her time. (Medieval chroniclers didn't have much to say about women in general.) This actually makes her kind of attractive for the writer of fiction;since we don't really know what she thought about the events of her time, we can interpret her actions any way we wish. Philippa Gregory uses Anne as a viewpoint character to give us a peep into some of the most hotly debated events in English History. Gregory has chosen to give her fictionalized Anne a lot more gumption and initiative than she is usually granted. I think I enjoyed this so much, because most historical fiction has portrayed Anne as a sort of pathetic doormat. God knows the poor woman suffered through death and destruction! She was the daughter of a mighty magnate, a fierce warrior and wily politician. She was born and brought up in castles and courts and married to Princes. With her sister, she was possibly the wealthiest heiress of her time, but her potential wealth endangered her as much as it supported her. She lived through storms at sea, battles and massacres on land, was seized and exploited by family members, married, widowed, orphaned, disinherited and remarried. All of this occurred before her seventeenth birthday. Gregory ably weaves the particulars of Anne's life into a compelling and romantic tale. We see treachery, death, witchcraft and battle through her eyes. As portrayed by Gregory, it is believable and immediate. This book should appeal to lovers of romantic fiction anywhere. It plays a little fast and loose with fact but that is why they call it FICTION. Relax, prop your feet up and enjoy....more
Jaquetta of St. Pol, the viewpoint character of Lady of the Rivers, was up to her elegant eyebrows in most of the main events of the late 1400's. SomeJaquetta of St. Pol, the viewpoint character of Lady of the Rivers, was up to her elegant eyebrows in most of the main events of the late 1400's. Somewhat inexplicably, there is little written about her, and she does not always appear well in what sources we do have. Therefore, I was intrigued to see that Phillipa Gregory had chosen her as her narrator. I was pleased by her characterization of this interesting woman in interesting times. I spent a happy evening and afternoon with Jaquetta and her numerous relatives and was pleasantly entertained by their company. Therefore I was a little taken aback when I read several reviews of this book that were rather nasty. Don't get me wrong, I can and will nasty all over books that disappoint or anger me. But this was a harmless piece of romantic fiction, cotton candy for the reader who has enough gritty reality in her daily life. It was not entirely accurate but after all, fiction is by definition, NOT REAL. I don't think that I am a devoted fan of Phillipa Gregory, as I have only read three of her novels, but I do stoutly maintain that I liked this book and I think that most people who like historical romance will enjoy this....more
Ambiguous is the descriptor for the way I feel about this book. I was ecstatic when I first heard about it, as there is so little available about thesAmbiguous is the descriptor for the way I feel about this book. I was ecstatic when I first heard about it, as there is so little available about these fascinating ladies. These women had the best seats in the greatest family drama of the 15th Century. If anybody knew all the dirt, where the bodies were buried and who put them there, these women did. I anticipated a great read. What I got was somewhat disappointing. The authors frequently criticized previous scholars for accepting supposition and rumor as history, but as I read these accounts, they too, were full of suppositions. I was particularly annoyed to to find statements such as "she knew", "she thought" and "she planned". We can know that someone DID something, but not that they THOUGHT something, unless the power of time-traveling ESP has been granted to these authors.
The narratives here were very readable, the subjects were amazing people, but I just feel let down. I had hoped for much more....more
This single play causes more conflict in me than all the other works of Shakespeare together. This play has it all when considered as drama. AristotleThis single play causes more conflict in me than all the other works of Shakespeare together. This play has it all when considered as drama. Aristotle said drama should inspire terror and pity and this one does that so thoroughly. It goes right to the heart of bitter envy, of loneliness, of pain, all curdling in the juices of family and turning to hatred and revenge. The action builds ominously and the dialog is---well---Shakespearian. The lines roll out so beautifully that sometimes I lose the sense in the sound. I've done Shakespeare on stage and the magic is so intense that words literally lack the power to describe it. The art, the magic at the center of the Bard's best works has lasted over 400 years into a time that no longer speaks as he did or thinks as his society did. It is possible that there is no villain so magnificent in his villainy than Shakespeare's Richard III. All of that said, I now come to the source of my conflict. Of all the Bard's works, this is the least accurate historically. Firstly, Richard III was not a hunchback. He was born with a broken collarbone and had one shoulder slightly lower than the other. Secondly, most historians acquit Richard of most of the crimes attributed to him. Some historians have made entire careers out of defending Richard of all the Tudor attributed evil deeds. (See for example the excellent Richard III by Paul Murray Kendall.) So, the question in my mind is can I view this play as art, entirely separate from historic truth? This is so difficult for me that it makes the fillings in my teeth hurt. On the other hand, here is the essence of poetry and drama. Terror---pity---love---death---revenge. All right, OK, five stars!...more