Over the years I have read many books involving someone from the War of the Roses, but never have I read about Cecily Neville (York). Proud Cis always lurked on the periphery, letting her displeasure of her son's marriage to that Woodeville girl or her disdain of Margaret of Anjou be known. Always very proud and protective of her family, it seemed as though I would never really learn about who Proud Cis was and why, until now.
Queen By Right gives us Cecily Neville's story from when she was a little girl and the apple of her father's eye. She met her future husband, Richard of York, through her father's guardianship of the young future Earl. From there, Richard and Cecily became fast friends and then eventually married. History always describes them as a love match and this story shows us why. Richard and Cecily were truly best friends and lovers.
The book begins shortly after Richard is killed at Wakefield, and Cecily is remembering her life with Richard. The events that AE Smith chooses to tell bring life to Cecily and Richard. Smith made these two historical characters real for me. We grow with Cecily as she matures into a young woman, desperately trying to control her tongue and manners. We share Cecily's hopes and dreams, and her worries when she believes she may have steered her husband onto a dangerous path. But regardless of the outcome, Cecily will stand by Richard, through thick and thin. And to top it all off, they love each other deeply. Richard and Cecily are a strong powerful couple in a time when families were being torn apart. Smith's story made me feel for both of these strong individuals.
This book is definitely from the Yorkist point of view, but that only makes me want to read a book featuring the Lancastrian view. Also, knowing the history of Cecily's children later in life, made me wonder as to what was going through these children's minds as adults. Why would brother turn against brother? Or their family at all? Promises of power do corrupt I guess.
This was excellent book about a character I knew very little about. The pages went by quickly and I actually stopped reading it for a while because I didn't want it to end. Therefore, I highly recommend this book.
The book also includes an Author's Notes section and a Q&A with AE Smith that is very informative.
For more information, please visit Anne's website: http://www.anneeastersmith.com/
Thanks again to Historical Fiction Virtual Book Tours for including me in the fun and sending me the review copy.