11 January 2016
So much has been written in recent years about the War of the Roses and all too predictably, the focus is always on the ambitions of the men who would be King, so it's rather interesting to have something written about one of the more important female figures in this volatile Game of Thrones, namely that of Margaret of Anjou. She is all too often described by the vulgar sobriquet of the 'she-wolf of France' which, of course, immediately conjures a woman who had no moral scruples and a man’s lust for battle.
The start of Blood and Roses takes the reader back to a more peaceful Margaret, back to a time when she was a young girl with hopes and dreams of falling in love and raising a family. The dream was rapidly shattered when a political alliance to the pious and unpredictable King Henry VI became little more than a sham marriage, and a rather sad place where her pretty dreams diminished and died. A sexless marriage made her hope of providing England with a much longed for heir an impossible task. However, Margaret was never without ambition and whilst there has always been speculation about the father of her son, the author's clever interpretation of his paternity in Blood and Roses is an interesting one and if you know your history, the story becomes entirely plausible.
The author writes with authority about a subject about which she is clearly passionate. Her impeccable research allows the story to develop with rich historical detail and most certainly, Margaret of Anjou’s indomitable spirit comes across quite forcibly. Whilst I'm still not altogether sure that I liked Margaret any more by the end of the novel, I still find her an incredibly 'cold' character, but, it must be said, in the hands of this accomplished author, there is no doubt that Margaret’s sad and rather unhappy story comes alive.
Best read ...with a jug of sweet Rosé d'Anjou and a platter of sticky honey cakes...
Read an Interview with the author here
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My thanks to the author for sharing her work with me and to Yolk Publishing for providing me with a review copy of Blood and Roses to read.