Friday, August 09, 2013

Royal Mistress (2013)

Royal Mistress. Anne Easter Smith. 2013. Simon & Schuster. 489 pages. [Source: Review Copy]

Royal Mistress is not my favorite historical novel set during this dramatic time in English history--the reign of Edward IV and Richard III. Half the novel is seen through the eyes of Jane Shore, the mistress to King Edward. The shifting between characters was necessary to tell the full story, to round it out, in places but it was also uneven. It was odd to spend so much time with just Jane's point of view, and then suddenly shift into the mind of Richard, for example, or Hastings, or whomever.

Edward IV has never been a favorite of mine. The more I read about him, the more disgusting I find him. And in a way, I feel the same towards Jane Shore. I didn't exactly look upon her with favor. Royal Mistress, of course, presents her completely sympathetically. She's presented as more than beautiful, having a certain something, a definite wit that every single man--no matter his marital status--finds irresistible.

The book opens with Jane Shore falling madly, deeply in love with Sir Thomas Grey (Elizabeth Woodville's eldest son by a previous marriage, the stepson of Edward IV). Though she's only seen him the one time, though she's only spent at most half an hour with him, she knows it is TRUE LOVE. And she knows that he just HAS to feel the same way about her. So when they next meet privately, it is humiliating. She essentially telling him, you better hurry and go see my father and tell him you want to marry me! I've not stopped thinking about you since we met! I can't wait to be your wife! It will be so fun to yours forever and ever! After awkward silence on his part, he essentially says: I never said I wanted to marry you! Where did you get that idea! I thought when you said you wanted to meet, you wanted to be in my bed, of course! That's all I care about. True, I've been thinking of you since we met last week, but I've been thinking about getting you in bed. When she next hears from him, she eagerly goes to him: YOU CHANGED YOUR MIND! You do love me! You want to marry me! Again awkward silence, his response: I told you I am not interested in marrying you. I thought you would have changed YOUR mind by now. Oh, by the way, I'm married.

Jane does get married; she gets married to a man of her father's choosing, a business arrangement. Her husband being a lot more interested in what he can get out of the marriage. He is shown as having no interest in Jane as a woman, as a wife, as the future mother of his children. There are plenty of awkward conversations, Jane starts them, of course. Her husband, William Shore, wanting to run away from her as fast as possible whenever she starts asking why or complaining.

Jane happens to catch the attention of Lord Hastings (Will Hastings). She is not as easy to persuade into a life of sin as he initially thought, so nothing comes of it. Except that he talks a lot about her to the King. The King sees her. The King wants her. The King sends for her. He sends a present along with his note. She comes. She comes oh-so-willingly.

Since I do not care for smut, you can imagine I did not care for most of the novel.

So how does the novel present Richard III. Well, Jane hates him because Richard looks unfavorably upon her. Richard hated the fact that Edward was so immoral, so unfaithful. Jane now represents the immorality of his brother's reign. BUT. While Jane hates Richard III. Through other perspectives, the author reveals several things: 1) That Richard III is innocent of killing the princes in the tower; she places the blame on Henry Stafford (Buckingham). 2) That the pre-contract with Eleanor Butler was real; that Edward IV's marriage to Elizabeth Woodville should not have been allowed, and was in fact illegitimate, that the king and one or two of his closest knew this and did all they could to cover it up forever. 3) That when Richard III learned the truth--it is presented as truth--that changed everything. Richard had more of a right than an illegitimate boy.

Though I didn't exactly care for Jane Shore through most of the book, I did find the last part of the novel to be fascinating.

You might find The Tragedy of Jane Shore by Nicholas Rowe to be interesting.


© 2013 Becky Laney of Becky's Book Reviews

0 comments:

Post a Comment

I'm always happy to hear from you! To help fight spam, comment moderation has been set up for posts older than two days. Feel free to ask me questions or ask for recommendations!

Review Policy

I am interested in reviewing books and audio books. This blog focuses on books written for middle grade on up (essentially 10 to a 110). I review middle grade fiction and young adult fiction (aka tween and teen).

I also review adult books.

I read in a variety of genres including realistic fiction, historical fiction, mystery, romance, science fiction, fantasy, literary fiction, and chick lit. (I've read one western to date.)

I read a few poetry books, a few short story collections, a few graphic novels, a few nonfiction books.

I am especially fond of:

  • Regency romances (including Austen prequels/sequels)
  • Historical fiction set in the Tudor dynasty
  • Historical fiction and nonfiction set during World War II
  • Jewish fiction/nonfiction
  • dystopias
  • apocalyptic fiction
  • science fiction (especially if it involves time travel and alternate realities)
  • fantasy
  • multicultural books and international books

I am not a fan of:

  • sports books
  • horse books
  • dog books if the dog dies (same goes with most pets actually except maybe fish)
  • westerns (if it's a pioneer story with women and children, then maybe)
  • extremely violent books with blood, blood, and more blood

I am more interested in strong characters, well-written, fleshed-out, human characters. Plot is secondary to me in a way. I have to care about the characters in order to care about the plot. That being said, compelling storytelling is something that I love. I love to become absorbed in what I'm reading.

If you're interested in sending me a review copy of your book, I'm happy to hear from you. Email me at laney_po AT yahoo DOT com.

You should know several things before you contact me:

1) I do not guarantee a review of your book. I am just agreeing to consider it for review.
2) I give all books at least fifty pages.
3) I am not promising anyone (author or publisher) a positive review in exchange for a review copy. That's not how I work.
4) In all of my reviews I strive for honesty. My reviews are my opinions--so yes, they are subjective--you should know my blog will feature both negative and positive reviews.
5) I do not guarantee that I will get to your book immediately. I've got so many books I'm trying to read and review, I can't promise to get to any one book in a given time frame.
6) Emailing me every other week to see if I've read your book won't help me get to it any faster. Though if you want to email me to check and see if it arrived safely, then that's fine!

Authors, publishers. I am interested in interviewing authors and participating in blog tours. (All I ask is that I receive a review copy of the author's latest book beforehand so the interview will be productive. If the book is part of a series, I'd like to review the whole series.) Contact me if you're interested.

Unique Visitors and Google PR Rank

Free PageRank Checker

Pageloads Counter

Search Book Blogs Search Engine

The background is based on a background I found here...with some small adjustments on my part so it would work with the template.
Becky Laney of Becky's Book Reviews

  © Blogger template Newspaper III by Ourblogtemplates.com 2008

Back to TOP