Once again Susan Higginbotham has spun a tale weaved with historical fact that had me falling head long into her latest, The Stolen Crown, with excitement. Now I don’t profess to be an expert at anything historical but I do love to read historical novels. I love when an author can teach me something along with giving me a story that captivates my interest. Susan Higginbotham has done that for me in all of her novels: The Traitor’s Wife (my review), Hugh and Bess (my review) and now with The Stolen Crown that takes on the Wars of the Roses.
Katherine Woodville is just seven years old when she is married to nine year old Henry (called Harry the majority of the time) Stafford, Duke of Buckingham. All of this comes about after her sister Elizabeth is secretly married to King Edward IV. From that point the lives of the Woodville family change dramatically as they are launched into King Edward IV’s Court – marriages are arranged and of course their financial status improves greatly. All of a sudden little Kate is the perfect match for the young Duke of Buckingham.
The novel takes us through the viewpoints of both Katherine and Harry all throughout their lives. We have front row seats to their marriage as children, growing up together, finally discovering their love for each other and eventually having children. Along the way we are treated to their lives at King Edward IV’s court and all the secrecy and scheming that goes with that. We find out that Henry Stafford was never a favorite of King Edward IV and this made him very resentful; enough that when given the chance he sides with King Edward IV’s brother Richard, Duke of Gloucester which ultimately leads to his downfall.
When King Edward IV dies from a short lived illness his son Edward is next in line to the throne with his brother Richard, Duke of Gloucester and Harry Stafford guiding him until he is of age. However this isn’t good enough for Richard who looks for every way possible to take over the throne until he succeeds and in the process two of King Edward IV’s sons disappear from The Tower and to this day nobody really knows what happened to them.
My favorite character by far was Kate in the novel. As a young girl she is quite amusing and as an adult woman she is strong and intelligent. Harry I liked as well although I wish he hadn’t been so blinded by Richard most of his life. By the time he realized who and what Richard really was it was too late for him. I have to say that I am glad I didn’t live in this time period. It was so uncertain. As long as you were in favor with the King you were living high on a cloud but let that be jeopardized in any way and all of a sudden you and your family were at risk of being imprisoned or worse – killed.
I enjoy how Susan Higginbotham makes these characters come to life for her readers. I felt for them – their joys and their sadness. At the end of the novel she gives her reasons for taking the routes she does within the book because some are different from what is popular. I like that about her; that she takes the facts and then can give us such a believable tale of what things might have been like in this time and place. If you love historical fiction then The Stolen Crown is a must read!
I read The Stolen Crown by Susan Higginbotham for her blog tour so make sure and check out Susan’s blog for other tour stops and her website for more information on all of her books. The Stolen Crown was released by Sourcebooks on March 1, 2010 and can be purchased here in the US and here in Canada.
My thanks…to Danielle with Sourcebooks for my review copy of The Stolen Crown by Susan Higginbotham.
Good review 🙂
And yes Harry, Harry, why so blind?
A friend let me borrow her first book and so I need to get cracking on that one and then I would love to read this one!!
Loved your review, Dar. It's on a long list of great reviews for this book! I want to read The Traitor's Wife (it's on my shelf) and then I'll get to The Stolen Crown 🙂
Well.. everyone is raving about this one.. and I am envious of you all 🙂 🙂
Susan Higginbotham says
Thanks for the review, Darlene!
S. Krishna says
I loved this book as well! Great review.
Thanks so much for such a great review-provided a thorough insight into the book 🙂
I don't read much historical fiction, but I have Higginbotham on my list of must try authors.
Susie Tudor Daughter says
Great review Dar. It's been on TBR list for awhile now. I don't agree with Ms. Higginbottoms synopsis but I think it will be a great read regardless. I am more in Richard's camp for sure.Love your new look!
Wonderful review, Dar! It sounds as though this is a book I would really like. I do read a lot of historical fiction, and have found lately that it is one of my preferred genres. I am so glad you had such a good experience with the book, and I am adding it to my wish list. Thanks!
I haven't read anything by this author, but after reading your review of this book — especially your discussion of how she brings her characters to life — I'd definitely like to.
Jenny Girl says
Yea! I knew you would like this book too. I will definitely read her other ones as well. Excellent review.
Alice Teh says
I wish historical fiction is my cup of tea (or coffee) because this one sounds good. Great review, Dar!
Sounds like alot of people are liking this one.
Muse in the Fog says
Great review! I agree, this book is one of a kind and very well done.
Here is My Review
This sounds so good! Thanks for your detailed review. I always wonder about historical fiction and the direction it's heading, and this one looks great.
I appreciate that Higginbotham doesn't appear to have altered history to fit the story she wants to make but molded the story around the facts. It's so frustrating to read a book and think you're getting some insight into history, only to discover that much of the story is factually incorrect (as in The Other Boleyn Girl).
Susan, thanks for popping in and for a great book.
Staci, I'd be curious to see what you think of The Traitor's Wife. It's a bit of a chunkster though but good.
Mary, for some reason I thought you read The Traitor's Wife. I guess it's only Hugh and Bess you read. I think you'd like this one as well.
Kathy, I think I'd start with Hugh and Bess if you don't read a lot of HF. It was good.
Heather, HF is one of my preferred genres for a while. I just love sinking into one of these books. I think they are just such a rich read.
mjmbecky- a lot of people that read HF say that a lot of the books don't have accurate details. It's too bad because like I've said I'm not an expert. I really read these to learn a bit and enjoy the novel. I would hope that most authors stay authentic and as true to their interpretation of the facts as they can.
Lisa, that comment above pretty much fits with what you've said as well.
Higginbotham does a great job making her characters feel real, and she really does her homework when it comes to the history. Glad you enjoyed this one. I look forward to reading it.
Diary of an Eccentric