Although I am a big fan of Alison Weir’s best selling historic fiction (I have a slight obsession with Tudor history 🙂 ), I hadn’t read any of her books for a number of years. Crikey Elizabeth of York: The Last White Rose has made me realise just how much I’ve missed Weir’s captivating writing; the intrigue, the tension, the rich detail. This latest novel is a true historical feast which I very happily gorged on.
To put it mildly, I absolutely loved Elizabeth of York: The Last White Rose.
If you are not familiar with Elizabeth of York, she was the wife of Henry VII and mother of Henry VIII. From reading other historic novels and watching historical dramas on TV, I knew some of Elizabeth’s story already. However I didn’t know it all and crikey, Elizabeth has her own dramatic story; one full of suspense, love, war and political intrigue. The family politics in this novel are staggering!
I never quite realised that before she became the first ever Tudor Queen that, even though she had more of a claim to the throne, Elizabeth played a pivotal role in making Henry VII King Of England. It was not out of love for Henry that she acted in this way; in fact at this point she had never met her future husband. Rather she ‘committed treason’ against Richard III, her uncle to orchestrate his downfall. Richard was known as the usurper who has often been blamed in history for the dark mystery of the Princes in the Tower, the alleged murder of Elizabeth’s young brothers, Edward V, the rightful heir to the throne and Richard, Duke of York. Although torn, Elizabeth schemed and plotted against her uncle to survive, create security for those she loved and secure peace in England.
Elizabeth also aimed to jointly reign alongside Henry as she passionately believed she was the true Queen of England; yet this is something I feel from reading the novel that Henry denied her. As a modern woman reading this stunning novel, this frustrated and saddened me. However it is obvious that a strong love and respect grew between Elizabeth and Henry. I really enjoyed reading about the dynamics in their marriage portraying them both as real, flawed and very human, especially as the mystery of Elizabeth’s lost young brothers haunted both of them and put an element of strain on the marriage.
This is a novel that also made me smile at times, especially when Elizabeth visits the north of England for the first time in her life:
A maid entered, a local girl whose Yorkshire accent was so broad that Elizabeth could barely understand half of what she was saying. She remembered hearing that northern folk had tails, which several people she knew believed…But this girl seemed docile and willing, and, after a surreptitious glance, Elizabeth was certain she had no tail.
Elizabeth of York: The Last White Rose is novel that completely consumed me. Before the actual narrative begins there is a family tree which I was continually referring back to. I am a big fan of family trees! This is novel that captured my imagination, educated me and emotionally moved me.
It is the first novel in Alison Weir’s new Tudor Rose Trilogy which will span three generations of this complex and fascinating royal dynasty. As you can imagine I am really excited about what’s to come! 🙂
Thank you Anne Cater from Random Things Tours for inviting me to be part of the blog tour of this stunning historical novel. Thank you also to Caitlin Raynor from Headline Books for arranging my advance copy which hardly left my side for a few days. However my biggest thanks must go to Aliso Weir for writing such a brilliant, all consuming novel.
To follow the blog tour of Elizabeth of York: The Last White Rose, please see below.
Elizabeth of York: The Last White Rose was released in hardback on 12 May 2022 so it is available for you all to feast on.