A different, albeit refreshing look at Richard III. How nice to have a novel with a realistic, well rounded Richard instead of the pure and saintly one we’re always finding in the latest and *cough* greatest historical novels. Tannahill begins her novel in 1471 as Richard is planning to marry Anne Neville and recounts his life until that fateful day at Bosworth. Most of this is known history and enough reviewers have recounted what’s covered in the book I needn’t rehash it again.
As noted earlier, what I most enjoyed was the more life-like Richard – although depicted as an honorable man he was still very much a man of his times and ruthless when he needed to be. I really enjoyed how the relationship between Richard and Anne slowly developed during their marriage, instead of the pure as the driven snow instantaneous true love we’re always seeing these days. Outside of Francis, none of the other main players are as fully developed as you might find in some other novels on this period, but at the same time you’re not getting all black and white – everyone has their shades of gray – even Margaret Beaufort and Elizabeth Woodville – a very refreshing change.
All in all I found this to be a very enjoyable read, although Tannahill’s dry wit and sarcasm may not appeal to all readers. Still tops with me for books on Richard III is still Sharon Kay Penman’s fabulous The Sunne In Splendour: A Novel of Richard III, but it’s always fun to read another author’s take on the always enigmatic Richard and the mystery of the Princes in the Tower.