Posted in 14th Century Reviews

review: Hugh and Bess

Hugh and Bess by Susan Higginbotham This is a romantic story of the relationship between Hugh le Despenser (son of Hugh le Despenser, 1st Earl of Winchester) and his wife, Bess. After reading so many books in a row lacking chivalrous characters (The Last Queen, My Enemy the Queen, Forever Amber) it was very enjoyable to get to know this Hugh, who was not only a gentleman, but also very funny. Both Hugh’s father and grandfather were executed by Queen Isabella and her lover, Roger Mortimer. He spent years imprisoned and even more proving his loyalty to the new King Edward III, fighting the Scots and then the French. Bess was not inclined to marry a traitor’s son, but soon began to know him for…

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Posted in 15th Century Reviews Wars of the Roses

review: The Queen of Last Hopes

The Queen of Last Hopes by Susan Higginbotham She-wolf of France, but worse than wolves of France… Women are soft, mild, pitiful, and flexible; Thou stern, obdurate, flinty, rough, remorseless. ~Henry VI, part III Shakespeare is just one of the sources that has maligned Margaret of Anjou throughout history, and so we have a very interesting protagonist in The Queen of Last Hopes. Margaret, well-educated and prepared to do her duty, came from a happy home and was not aware of what awaited her in England. As a direct result of the Hundred Years War, she was met with sour faces and grumbling from her new subjects, and was never accepted into their hearts as their Queen. The people’s attitude coupled with Margaret’s fondness for…

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Posted in Non-Fiction Reviews

review: The Prince Who Did Not Become King

The Prince Who Did Not Become King: Edward of Lancaster, 1453-1471 by Susan Higginbotham This critique of the short life of the son of England’s King Henry VI and Margaret of Anjou covers the few known facts, mostly relayed through the political movements of his parents. The few documented fragments of his personality are historically biased, and discussed at length, as well as his unconsummated marriage to Warwick’s daughter, Anne Neville (who later became Richard III’s Queen). With illegitimacy claims against him, Edward grew up uncertain of ever obtaining the throne of England, but there were other reasons for the Yorkist rise against his father, the anointed King Henry VI. Though he was the son of the great Henry V, this Henry suffered bouts of…

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