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Review: The Stolen Crown, Susan Higginbotham

stolencrownWhen her sister Elizabeth Woodville secretly marries the King of England, Katherine Woodville’s future changes irrevocably.  In the rush to marry off the many Woodville siblings, Kate becomes a duchess when Henry Stafford, duke of Buckingham, is chosen for her.  Kate and Harry are children when they marry, but as they grow together they fall in love easily.  But always in the way is Richard, duke of Gloucester, Harry’s idol from childhood.  When Richard’s ambition leads him to sanction unspeakable deeds, Harry must choose whether to maintain his blind loyalty or strike out against his closest friend.

I’ve enjoyed both of Susan Higginbotham’s previous works and I’m happy to say that I enjoyed this one, too.  I will admit that I found the beginning slightly tedious; a lot of it is recounting of history I already knew, so it might be perfectly fine for a reader who isn’t quite so familiar with late fifteenth century England.  Once Kate and Henry start to grow, however, the book becomes really enjoyable.  Their love story and affection for one another are often sweet and I liked watching them grow up together and move into maturity.

I also liked that Higginbotham actually made me like the duke of Buckingham.  I might have thought that impossible, but she does it successfully.  I even liked her version of Richard III here; he does horrendous things, but he never seems like an evil villain.  Just an ambitious, somewhat foolish, man, happy to bend the course of history in his direction when he can.  The author also blends facts in liberally.  I recognized so much from my own research and I have to admit that I smiled whenever I found a particular tidbit that only someone who had done some digging would know.  I read her blog, so I also know that she seeks out original sources whenever possible, which I always appreciate.  She includes a bibliography in the back for anyone who has a desire to read yet more about the Wars of the Roses, as well as a detailed author’s note for those who want to know what is fact and what is fiction.  If you like historical accuracy in with your fiction, look no further than Ms. Higginbotham.

The Stolen Crown is a great addition to the many works of fiction about the Wars of the Roses in England.  It’s refreshing to read about characters who tread the middle ground – there are no villains or saints here, just people.  I really liked it.

I am an Amazon Associate. I received this book for free from the publisher for review.

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14 comments to Review: The Stolen Crown, Susan Higginbotham

  • Thanks for the review, Meghan! I’m glad someone who knows the period as well as you enjoyed the book!

  • Only managed one book about The War of the Roses so far and I know next to nothign about it, so I’d love to read a book about what happened to Elizabeth’s siblings. Thanks for the head up.
    .-= Jodie´s last blog ..Bookish Chat – ‘Eclipse’ =-.

  • I loved Hugh and Bess and have The Traitor’s Wife on my shelves. This sounds like a winner, too. The War of the Roses certainly is a hot topic these days. You’re lucky to have such a firm grasp on that time period. Great review, Meghan!
    .-= Literate Housewife´s last blog ..#236 ~ O, Juliet =-.

  • I definitely don’t know much about The Wars of the Roses – it’s all a muddle, but a muddle that this and Margaret Campbell Barnes’ The Tudor Rose is helping me straighten out in my head. I enjoyed The Stolen Crown a great deal.

    I also really liked that Higginbotham didn’t make anyone saintly or absurdly villainous. I, too, felt like Kate and Harry, in particular, but also the supporting characters of Edward IV and Richard III were portrayed in a very realistic and human manner.

    Glad you enjoyed it, I’ve linked to you here.

  • It’s always nice when writers do their research while writing historical fiction. I know it’s not that important for many people, but having studied history in college, I can appreciate the hard work that much more.

    I haven’t read any Susan Higginbotham novels, but looks like I should really look out for her in my library/book store.
    .-= Nishita´s last blog ..A River Sutra – Book Review =-.

  • I don’t know much about this period in history, so this sounds like a book that would definitely teach me some new things. I am glad to hear that the author has really done her research and that it shows through in her writing. I will be looking forward to reading this one. Thanks for your great review!
    .-= zibilee´s last blog ..Life Sentences by Laura Lippman – 352 pgs =-.

  • Eva

    This sounds like it’d be fun to read w/ that nonfiction book about War of the Roses you reviewed awhile ago! :D
    .-= Eva´s last blog ..Dearest Anne (thoughts) =-.

  • There’s no, like, tyrannical sheriff or evil queen or anything like that?
    .-= heidenkind´s last blog ..North & South =-.

  • I feel I can never get enough of the WOTR so I don’t remember feeling the tediousness you experienced, but you are so much more into it than I am =) You lucky gal!
    My review is here

  • I’ve heard that Susan Higginbotham is one of the best at historical fiction. I don’t read a lot of historical fiction, but I really do need to try one of her books.
    .-= bermudaonion (Kathy)´s last blog ..Wondrous Words Wednesday =-.

  • I will be reading this one next week or so. I’m so glad you liked it — I’m sure I will too.
    .-= Beth F´s last blog ..Featuring . . . The Marriage Bureau for Rich People by Farahad Zama =-.

  • I have found myself really enjoying historical fiction now that I’ve taken more historically grounded classes in school. I find that now that I actually know more about the time period and the people, the reading is so much more enjoyable. This sounds like a really interesting and well-written book. I like that she didn’t write the characters as good or evil but just people – people with motivations that drive them to sometimes do horrible things. I totally get that.
    .-= Jennifer´s last blog ..Book Blogger Hop =-.

  • Sadly I still haven’t read “Hugh and Bess,” but this is the next book I have in my queue, so I’m glad you enjoyed it. I feel like everything I have to review right now is historical fiction, so I was feeling a bit burned out, but you’ve reenergized me!
    .-= Jen – Devourer of Books´s last blog ..The Scarlet Lion – Book Review =-.