Anne Easter Smith has become one of my favorite historical authors. I thoroughly enjoyed her "Rose for the Crown" and "Daughter of York" and her latest "King's Grace" was no exception!
"The King's Grace" is the story of Lady Grace Plantagenet, the bastard daughter of King Edward IV of England. The story takes you from the time that Grace was released from the abbey at age 11 to being accepted as a member of court and into her adulthood, becoming a wife and mother of her own. During those years, she was one of the privileged few that attended the funeral barge of the Dowager Queen Elizabeth (the widowed queen of Edward IV) and was thus half-sister of the famous young princes who disappeared into the Tower and were presumed murdered by the Richard III. Due to her involvement at court, it is believed that she was at the very least familiar (if not involved) with the events that occurred when King Richard III was killed in battle at Bosworth and Henry VII of Tudor took over the throne.
In the 1490's, a young man appears at the courts of Europe claiming to be Richard, Duke of York, the younger of the two princes and rightful heir to the English throne. This moment in time sets off a series of a events that affects (and involves) most of Europe - including Grace herself. However, could this young man really be Richard, Duke of York and her half-brother, or is he just an impostor and puppet for those who want to take the crown back for the Yorks? This book focuses much on the Perkin Warbeck story (the young man referenced above) and as so little is known about the actual fate of the real princes; this is a very plausible explanation.
As usual, Anne Easter Smith did not disappoint me. She has a way of taking you back in time and allowing you to learn, understand and visualize the past. Her books are lengthy and not necessarily read quickly, but that is because she doesn't just tell you the story, she explains it! Being an aspiring Historian myself, her books have really been a great learning tool for me. She remains as close to the truth as records allow and what she cannot confirm, she will interpret or guess to the best of her ability. She doesn't claim anything as truth unless she can justify it so I've learned to trust what she writes. She attempts to explain the incredibly complex political and social structures of 15th & 16th century Europe all the while weaving in a captivating love story.
Many historical novels I've read are written using our language as we speak it today (which makes sense because it's what we know). However, A.E.S. writes her books in such a way where the language sounds foreign & outdated, but can still be understood by our modern ears. This allows the reader to be transported to a time long before our own while still understanding what is being said. I also recently learned (via her website) that she also visits every place that she writes about. I have such admiration for that level of research & commitment to a project!
As a fellow blogger, Meghan once mentioned, "historical fiction is meant to fill in the bones of history, not change their shape" and with this I couldn't agree more!!
I give this book ★ ★ ★ ★ ★ and highly recommend it (as well as her others) to those who not only love historical novels, but have a desire to learn more about the past!
"In my novels, I strive to serve those readers who are looking for accuracy in historical fact and yet also engage those who are looking for a good story with strong characters, a little romance and lots of period detail."
- Anne Easter Smith