Saturday, October 3, 2009

The Tudor Rose: A Novel of Elizabeth of York by Margaret Campbell Barnes

Elizabeth is daughter of Edward IV and niece to Richard III. When her father dies, it is her brother who is to take the crown. However, Richard III decides that the only one suitable to be King is himself. He sends both of Elizabeth's brothers to the tower to be held. Richard has his coronation and all of a sudden Elizabeth's brothers go missing and are presumed dead.

Many think that Richard III ordered their disposal . Now Elisabeth is the only living descendent to Edward IV and should be the rightful Queen. Elizabeth is horrified when Richard III proposes marriage to her. Not only is she convinced that he murdered her brothers but he is her uncle, after all!

There is much plotting and it is decided that she must marry Henry Tudor and that he must fight Richard III for the crown. The first attempt fails but eventually Richard III is killed and Henry Tudor becomes Henry VII. However, he doesn't hold up his end of the bargain to marry Elizabeth and give her a coronation to become queen of England. Eventually, due to public and private pressure he makes good and marries Elisabeth. However, he does not make her queen until after she has their first son.

The marriage itself, is loveless. Elizabeth has romantic notions that they would grow to love each other and have a passionate one. Henry doesn't seem to know what romance is and seems incapable of love. He couples with her only to produce heirs. Poor Elizabeth longs for more out of life.

This book was first published in 1953. Sourcebooks has re-published it and it is due out in the United States on October 1, 2009. I'm glad they did. Barnes has a way with words and I love some of her descriptions of the time and place. I must admit, that there are a few places that I would nod off to sleep while reading it. Some of the time that Elizabeth interacted with her mother seemed boring to me. It took me a good 50 pages to finally get drawn into the story.

That said, I am glad I stuck with it. I learned more about the period and really enjoyed it, once it got going. If you like historical fiction and are interested in this important period in English history, you will enjoy this book.



  1. I didn't realize this is a re-published novel. I'm glad for it though; it's the best way to introduce a great novel to a new audience. Thanks for sharing your thoughts.

  2. This one, while good, doesn't seem to be getting quite the high marks of the previous reprint. That's okay. I'll still read it at some point. :-)


  3. Thanks for the recommendation- sounds like one I will like!

  4. Interesting time to re-release this one, on the coattail's of PG's book on her mother.

    I like reading different takes on this whole Richard III/Elizabeth stuff, though and I'm sure this will get added to my library sooner or later. They always do, LOL.

  5. This sounds good! Thanks for the great review.

  6. I hadn't ever heard of this book, but it sounds like a great read despite the slow parts. I think I am going to add this book to my wish list and try to grab a copy. Great review, by the way.

  7. Bookshelf, I also think re-publishing is a great way for a old book to reach a new audience.

    Lezlie, while the King's Fool deserved higher marks, the Tudor Rose is quite worth while.

    Lady Doc, you would also like the King's Fool.

    Michele, Stephanie, and Zibilee, I think you would enjoy this one.