This is another wonderful novel by Susan Higginbotham and it covers a very interesting and active period in British history – the Cousins War (or as we call it, the Wars of the Roses). Between the pages we get the story through the eyes of Katherine Woodville and her husband Henry Stafford, Duke of Buckingham. We see from both points of view their marriage as children, their time at Edward IV’s court, their life at home, the birth of their children, and Henry’s involvement with Richard III.
The first half or so of the novel really focuses on their lives and how they both grow and mature in a very turbulent time. The second half of the novel seems to focus more on Henry’s involvement with Richard, Duke of Gloucester. Personally I liked the first half of the novel more because I really enjoyed watching Kate and Henry grow and come to love and care for one another. The scenes between the two when they were young were very sweet and touching. Higginbotham takes on some of the “rumors” about their marriage and shows how they could have been started and why. I thoroughly enjoyed how she weaved these into the story. The author also explores reasons why Buckingham rebelled against Richard and gives her version of “the truth” behind the mystery of the princes in the Tower, which seems believable. Richard III is not shown in a glowing light here but he is not made into a horrible monster (though Kate despises him). We see a more ruthless side of him but it just seems to make him appear more of a man of a time where you had to be a bit ruthless to survive.
As always in Higginbotham’s novels, the writing is wonderful, there are fantastic details and descriptions, and great character development. The two main characters, Kate and Henry, are very believable and you can sympathize with them even if you don’t agree with them. I really enjoy her writing – it is easy to read but I don’t feel like I’m reading something for young adults. She is just very clear in her writing with good details and marvelous research but yet the reader is not going to get bogged down in the pages. While I enjoyed reading this book I have to say I personally enjoyed her previous two (The Traitor's Wife and Hugh and Bess) much more, possibly because I felt there was more going on through out those novels. However, I am a huge fan of this author and I would recommend this book to anyone.
*Reviewed for Bookpleasures.com