Margaret of York always plays a small role in historical fiction dealing with the Yorkist side of the Wars of the Roses. Sister to Edward IV and Richard III, she is often a figure in her childhood and young adulthood but vanishes from the picture once she marries Charles the Bold, duke of Burgundy. I was very happy to find a book which focused on her and covered her life in Burgundy.
The author acknowledges that much here is speculation. Little is known of Margaret outside of her itinerary. Kings are hard enough to trace in the middle ages, so it is not surprising that a princess and duchess would be similar. Regardless, Smith and I share the same view, that historical fiction is meant to fill in the bones of history, not change their shape. In that sense, she does an admirable job from what I know of, and nothing she introduces is implausible, except a scene at the end which probably would not have been acceptable. Margaret’s love for Anthony Woodville is certainly possible. Her duty as a royal princess was to ally with foreign powers, not to follow her heart, regardless of what her brothers did. They were men, after all — and Edward IV’s disadvantageous marriage continues to bring scorn upon his head more than five hundred years later.
Smith’s writing is not as polished as it could be, but neither does it detract from the story she tells. At times, that story does drag, especially in the beginning as Margaret is basically waiting to be married. Nothing much the author could have done to change that, and she does insert some extraneous events in an attempt to speed up the pace. It is by far most interesting when Margaret travels to Burgundy for her wedding.
I also approve of the author’s decision regarding the ending. It was the best choice.
All in all, certainly recommended for historical fiction readers, but may be a bit too lengthy for those of us who aren’t fascinated by the Middle Ages.