I am so thrilled to be taking part in the blog tour today for Elizabeth of York: The Last White Rose by Alison Weir. Alison Weir is one of my favourite historians, and the Plantagenets are my obsession so I couldn’t wait to read this. My thanks to Anne Cater of Random Things Tours for inviting me on to the tour and to the publisher for my copy of the book, which I have reviewed honestly and impartially.
The spellbinding story of Elizabeth of York, the first Tudor queen.
An English Princess, born into a war between two families. Eldest daughter of the royal House of York, Elizabeth dreams of a crown to call her own. But when her beloved father, King Edward, dies suddenly, her destiny is rewritten.
Her family’s enemies close in. Two young princes are murdered in the Tower. Then her uncle seizes power – and vows to make Elizabeth his queen.
But another claimant seeks the throne, the upstart son of the rival royal House of Lancaster. Marriage to this Henry Tudor would unite the white rose of York and the red of Lancaster – and change everything. A great new age awaits. Now Elizabeth must choose her allies – and husband – wisely, and fight for her right to rule.
Many people will tell you that their favourite period of history is the Tudor period, and it is easy to understand why. It is peopled by some of the most fascinating characters that ever lived – Henry VIII, Elizabeth I – and was a time of massive and lasting political change in England. Alison Weir has written some of the most detailed and fascinating books, both fictional and non-fiction, on this period and it a well known authority on the subject. For me, however, it is their predecessors, the Plantagenets, with whom I have always been fascinated – I am an avid Ricardian – and I was excited to see how Alison Weir would deal with the life of Elizabeth of York, the last Plantagenet and the woman who united the houses of Lancaster and York to bring the Wars of the Roses to an end.
Many people won’t know much about Elizabeth of York, and even I have not read about her as widely as I have Edward IV and Richard III, but she was a woman at the crux of one of the most turbulent and transformative periods of history. She was the key piece in strengthening Henry Tudor’s fairly weak claim to the throne after the Battle of Bosworth and bringing to an end decades of civil war in England. Mother of Henry VIII, she was well aware of her place in history and what she needed to do to secure her family and this book explores her life in great detail.
This is a fictional account of Elizabeth’s life, so Alison Weir has imagined how she will have been feeling about the events that shaped her life but, this being Alison Weir, the historical foundation of the book is firm which allows the reader to relax into the story without worrying about the accuracy of what they are reading. At over 500 pages, this is a hefty novel that covers Elizabeth’s whole life from the age of 4, when her mother is first forced to take her children into sanctuary when Edward IV is briefly exiled to Burgundy, until her death at the age of 37. Every event of her life in between is explored in detail and, whilst some may find the constant cycle of peace and threat tiresome, it is merely an accurate reflection of the history and, therefore, for a history buff, it is captivating.
Elizabeth, as all women were at the time, was basically a pawn in the power struggle going on between the warring factions for the throne. First promised to the Dauphin of France by her father in peace negotiations with the French King, after her uncle Richard took the throne following her father’s death, he proposed to marry her to cement his claim, she was finally married to Henry VII after the Battle of Bosworth. As the eldest child of Edward VI, Elizabeth would have had the right to reign as Queen in her own right, had the laws of succession not prevented women taking the throne at this time, so Henry Tudor’s move in making her his queen was a canny one. It brought about an era of relative peace and security within England itself for a couple of generations at least.
This is not a light read by any means but, for anyone fascinated by the rise of the Tudors it is a must read novel about the woman who secured their dynasty, and a riveting imagining of how life must have been for a woman buffeted by the winds of a fate that was out of her hands. I thought it was marvellous and a welcome addition to my collection of novels about the period.
Elizabeth of York: The Last White Rose is out now in hardback, ebook and audio formats and you can buy a copy here.
Make sure to check out the rest of the blogs taking part in the tour:
About the Author
Alison Weir is the bestselling female historian in the United Kingdom, and has sold over 3 million books worldwide. She has published twenty history books. Alison is also the author of twelve historical novels, including the highly acclaimed Six Tudor Queens series all of which were Sunday Times bestsellers. The complete short-story collection, In the Shadow of Queens, accompanies this series. Alison is a fellow of the Royal Society of Arts and an honorary life patron of Historic Royal Palaces.
Connect with Alison:
Facebook: Alison Weir