Queen by Right
Anne Easter Smith
Touchstone, May 10 2011, $16.99
In 1423 when she was nine years old, Cecily Neville meets twelve years old Richard of York at her father’s Raby Castle. Both are raised in her family’s household and matched off in an arranged marriage in 1824. However their marriage proves to be one of endearing and enduring love. She accompanies him to Rouen where he becomes the governor general of France and she becomes friends with Joan, who informs her she will be the mother of kings. When King Henry VI suffers a breakdown and is unable to rule any longer, Richard returns home as the Protector. However, others seeing opportunity force him to flee to Ireland while his wife and children remain at Ludlow Castle. Holding the hands of her offspring, Cecily stares down the enemy until her husband returns to be named the heir to the throne.
Anne Easter Smith continues her look at the turbulent Plantagenet period (see The King’s Grave, A Rose for the Crown and Daughter of York) in this entertaining look at the monarch-maker (thirteen children with two becoming king). Bringing alive much of the fifteenth century through the heroine (she died at eighty) known for her brave stand during another of the civil wars of that era, fans will relish Queen by Right as the marriage of political convenience between the York and Neville families turns into an endearing enduring love match until his death in 1460.