Monday, August 29, 2016

REVIEW: A Rose For The Crown by Anne Easter Smith

A Rose For The Crown
by Anne Easter Smith

Publisher: Touchstone
Page Count: 672
Release Date: March 14, 2006
Format: Kindle

How got: personal buy; via Amazon

First attention getter: subject matter

Synopsis:

From GoodReads:

In A Rose for the Crown, we meet one of history's alleged villains through the eyes of a captivating new heroine -- the woman who was the mother of his illegitimate children, a woman who loved him for who he really was, no matter what the cost to herself.

As Kate Haute moves from her peasant roots to the luxurious palaces of England, her path is inextricably intertwined with that of Richard, Duke of Gloucester, later King Richard III. Although they could never marry, their young passion grows into a love that sustains them through war, personal tragedy, and the dangerous heights of political triumph.

My Thoughts:

Star Rating - 4

A Rose For The Crown is a big improvement over this author’s other works I’ve read. The storytelling is more fluid without a ton of awkward descriptive side paragraphs or too perfect characters (though at times Kate had that stink about her). Phrasing sometimes read as awkward, but I could see the author’s reasons for those exchanges. Overall, I enjoyed this historical exploration more than previous attempts by Smith.

I think the ambiguity of my Kate Haute and Richard III knowledge helped spice this story for me. All I really knew about Richard was the propaganda that history has spewed about him and the fairly recent discovery of his bones under a parking lot. To see him from the eyes of one who loved him for himself rather than his position was an eye-opener. Kate’s simple faith and love made him more human to me, giving him more complex motivations rather than a lust for power and evil murdering personality.

Kate was a blank slate for me; I’d only read her name in passing. I enjoyed seeing her fleshed out into a woman with a personality all her own: loyal, sometimes blind to reality, loving, and sweet. The author didn’t have much in the historical record to go off of; according to her author’s note, there’s even some doubt that Kate was Richard III’s mother of his illegitimate children at all. Yet, she was a great foil with which to see the times and Richard’s place in them.

The author pleases again in the history department. Her setting skills are handled with aplomb, as per usual. The reader sees, hears, and smells each scene. I’ve come to expect this from Smith. The one area where this book falters a bit falls in this area, though. There are locations in the narrative where the speech can get very stilted and awkward, dragged down with exact phrasing from the era. I can appreciate that the author was striving for historical accuracy; so I can understand the reasoning. Yet, at times these exchanges made reading enjoyment hard to reach.

A great window into a little known woman who saw much change in her life, this work was a pleasant diversion. Historical figures got new life and perspective, Kate giving us a new window into their soul. She, herself, shone as a loving, if flawed, personality. Some stilted conversational exchanges don’t condemn this book. When taken as a whole, the book is a great historical fictional work, and I highly recommend it.

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