Monday, June 6, 2011

Review: Queen by Right

Queen by Right by Anne Easter Smith

Publication Date: May 2011
Publisher: Simon & Schuster Adult Publishing Group
Genre: Historical Fiction
Pages: Paperback, 528pp
ISBN-13: 9781416550471

(Received for review from Historical Fiction Virtual Book Tours)

Purchase: Barnes & Noble, Book Depository, IndieBound

Anne Easter Smith on the WEB: website, blog, facebook

Excerpt from
Queen by Right
Book Trailer:

Synopsis (Book Blurb):

Anne Easter Smith's novels are beloved by readers for their ability "to grab you, sweep you along with the story, and make you fall in love with the characters." (Historical Novels Review) In Cecily Neville, duchess of York and ancestor to every English monarch to the present day, she has found her most engrossing character yet.

History remembers Cecily of York standing on the steps of the Market Cross at Ludlow, facing an attacking army while holding the hands of her two young sons.
Queen by Right reveals how she came to step into her destiny, beginning with her marriage to Richard, duke of York, whom she meets when she is eight and he is twelve. Raised together in her father's household, they become a true love match and together face personal tragedies, pivotal events of history, and deadly political intrigue. All of England knows that Richard has a clear claim to the throne, and when King Henry VI becomes unfit to rule, Cecily must put aside her hopes and fears and help her husband decide what is right for their family and their country. Queen by Right marks Anne Easter Smith's greatest achievement, a book that every fan of sweeping, exquisitely detailed historical fiction will devour.


Acclaimed author, Anne Easter Smith is known for her rich period detail and impeccable research. Her latest book,
Queen by Right features one of her most endearing characters to date, Cecily, duchess of York, mother to two kings and ancestor of every English monarch to the present day. Historical fiction fans will relish, Anne Easter Smith's ability to bring history to life, giving these 15th century historical characters their own stories and lives. Full of everything from political intrigue, betrayal and madness to true love and loyalty, this book is a must read for those interested in English history.

Cecily, duchess of York was born in Raby Castle in the 15th century. She was known throughout her life by two names, the Rose of Raby and Proud Cis. Cecily, met her husband to be when they were only children and Richard of York resided in the household of the duke of Westmorland and his family. Cecily and Richard became good friends and then lovers. Their love story blossoms and they have many children including two sons who would one day be king of England. Richard of York's claim to the throne of England was solid and when King Henry VI's health began to fail and he fell into madness, Richard was poised to take over the throne. Cecily's loyalty and determination to help Richard and her country became legendary.

Anne Easter Smith is known for her historical fiction writing. Her books about the Tudor legacy are well known to historical fiction fans and those interested in English history. In her latest book,
Queen by Right, she takes on Cecily, duchess of York a woman who was known for her determination and bravery. Anne Easter Smith brings Cecily to life in great detail. Cecily is known often in history as Proud Cis, but there are not many details about why she was called by that name. Anne Easter Smith does a wonderful job of creating a story that lets Cecily's character speak for itself. She was loyal and headstrong and very intelligent. She held her head high and was proud to be duchess of York and mother to two kings.

The cover image of the book is just gorgeous and draws the reader in before they have even read the first line. But once they have read that first page, readers will find it hard to put this one done. The period detail described by Anne Easter Smith will have readers feeling as if they too are standing on the steps of Market Cross facing an invading army. They will feel the silk of the dresses against their skin and the hear the sounds of pounding hooves in the distance. I loved the fact the writer was able to walk the same streets and see the same sights that many of the characters in Queen by Right did. Her research is thorough and gives the book a remarkable authenticity. It is obvious that she takes writing historical fiction seriously and tries to give readers a believable account of what these historical figures may have been experiencing and feeling. I felt like the story was plausible and full of possibilities.

The love story between Cecily and Richard is written with great feeling. The dialogue between the two characters shows their love and devotion to each other and I think readers will find their story enchanting and compelling. Most arranged marriages of the time seemed to have been mostly marriages of convenience. Daughters and sons were betrothed almost from birth and had little say in who they would marry. It was for the most part a business arrangement that would be advantageous to both families. Luckily for Cecily and Richard they fell in love and were very happy together, which is evidenced in their many children. Cecily's loyalty to Richard is tested throughout their relationship by the political intrigue of court. She stands by him as he attempts to take the throne when Henry VI becomes ill. I always find it interesting to see how an author portrays Henry's madness and I think Anne Easter Smith depicts Henry in a way that readers will understand what may have been wrong with him.

I recommend this one to all of my historical fiction readers as well as those interested in 15th century English history. This may be a novel, but the research is so well done, that historians will find it's accuracy enlightening. It's also a great love story between two people that the world was watching. I think historical romance fans will find a lot to like in this one as well. At 528 pages, Queen by Right is lengthy, but the pages fly by when you start to get engrossed in the story. Anne Easter Smith does a wonderful job of allowing the reader to get lost in the story, which is one of my favorite things about reading historical fiction.

Queen by Right is available NOW from your favorite bookseller.

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Queen by Right.

I'm giving this one 5 out of 5 apples from my book bag!

Anne Easter Smith is the author of three previous novels and a winner of Romantic Times Book Review Reviewer's Choice Award. A native of England, she lives in Newburyport, Massachusetts, with her husband, Scott.

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