Delighted to be hosting a stop on this blog tour today
29 July 2021
My thanks to the publisher for my copy of this book
and the invitation to the blog tour
📖 My Thoughts..
Cecily Neville is perhaps not the first female who springs to mind when thinking about the momentous years of the War of the Roses, and yet her long marriage to Richard, Duke of York, brought her right into the very heart of Plantagenet politics.
The early years of Cecily's marriage to Richard were filled with both danger and intrigue and the book gets off to a compelling start when the Yorks are biding their time in Rouen and witness, in 1431, the execution of Joan of Arc. This sets the scene for a story which doesn't shy away from giving a fatalistic view of the beleaguered English as they seek to keep hold of French territory which, during the Hundred Years War, had been so hard to gain, and yet, is so easily lost.
There's an almost conversational feel to Cecily's story which shines through with an authority which makes the history of the time all the more realistic. It's almost as though you were sitting alongside Cecily in the women’s solar as she plans her next move. She's definitely a tough character, impeccably flawed and very much a woman in a man’s world and yet Cecily doesn’t suffer fools and is absolutely fervent in her belief that, with staunch ambition, she can advance her family to greatness. However, she discovers, to her cost, that being so close to the Plantagenet crown brings its own brand of inherent danger.
By any standards the fifteenth century was a perilous time to be a woman, the descriptions of childbirth and the high rate of infant mortality is enough to give you shivers and yet even though grief and sadness threatens to overwhelm her, somehow Cecily rises time after time and does what needs to be done in order to succeed. Her strategic influence impacted on generations as here is the woman, who, we must remember, was the mother of two Kings, Edward IV and Richard III, grandmother to a Queen, Elizabeth of York, and the great-grandmother of Henry VIII. It is definitely time for Cecily Neville’s powerful voice to be heard and it is this belief, and the author's passion for history, which gives this story such a compelling sense of time and place.
Beautifully written, meticulously researched, and vibrant with life, Cecily is an impressive debut novel and I delighted to make it my Featured Book of the Month for August.