We hear over and over that Margaret Beaufort thinks Elizabeth of York is clever, but Henry never sees it and frankly, neither did I. Elizabeth Woodville is played as an absolute shrew, and Margaret Beaufort is prideful but otherwise good. *sigh* I'm never going to find a good Elizabeth of York book, am I?
The first half of The Dragon and the Rose is more about Henry's younger years, his mother Margaret Beaufort and events leading up to becoming king after the battle at Bosworth field. That latter half revolves around the Henry's early years as king as he faces challenges of plots against the crown, stabilizing the countryside, along with his marriage to Elizabeth and the MIL from hell (those evil Woodvilles you know).
I know what I want and I know what I seek when Ive come across a mention about this book amongst the Tumblr community of The War of the Roses enthusiasts, and then spent a considerable amount of time, effort, and my (googling *ahem*) research skill in scourging the net freebies zone for its digital version (seeing that it was out of prints everywhere since yesteryear, being that it was published in the 1980s and apparently not very popular). What I want and what I tirelessly seek was a properly written and properly detailed historical fiction concerning the subject of 2 interesting and colorful individuals of Henry VII and Elizabeth of York who each represents the 2 warring sides of House Lancaster and House York and also who ended the decades of bloodied feud for the throne of England with their union and their coronation as the King and Queen of England after the end of The War of the Roses. Heres an excerpt of their marriage from Henry VII : The Winter King by Thomas Penn: "(In 1503) the royal household moved to the Tower, where Elizabeth was to give birth. He would hang on to the crown, whatever the cost." Also this : The news of Arthurs death caused Henry VII to break down in grief, as much in fear for his dynasty as mourning for his son. It basically covered the childhood of Henry VII where he was consistently living in the shadow of danger inside the Plantagenets rule, his escape for safety towards the duchy of Brittany with his uncle Jasper Tudor, his return to England and his victory in the battle of Bosworth which ended with the death of current ruler, Richard III, His introduction and courting and marriage to Elizabeth and it (unfortunately) ended shortly after the birth of their first son Prince Arthur and the coronation of Elizabeth of York as His Queen. The writing is sharp, the characterizations are as canon as they get to known historical accounts, there are surprisingly a lot of subtly yet cleverly inserted humors found scattered alongside the story and never failed in making me chuckles (seriously, its great), and what I really dig was that Henry VII and Elizabeths romance is really built up well and always keeping up with both established characters.
A Classic Historical Romance Worth the Read This is one of Gellis early classics. Though Elizabeth was quite neurotic (as Gellis portrays her) she was loyal to Henry though he was ever suspicious of her being the daughter of his enemy.
Had it not been for the note at the end claiming that the book was accurate, I would have given it 4 stars. No, the basic story between Henry and Elizabeth is believable and based on historical evidence it is believable that their relationship evolved as in the book. Also please note that some prior knowledge of what is happening in this period would help, since many times the author simply mentions a person without stating why that person is important (For example the earl of Lincoln was Elizabeth of York's cousin and was named as Richard III's heir - which was why it was shocking that Henry placed him in his council and not so shocking when he rebelled.
I'm actually not really sure how to describe my feelings for this book, but let me explain it like this: I was looking for a story with focus on Henry VII and Elizabeth of York for quite some time and kept stumbling about this. It looks like a drippy love story where everyone just whispers "My darling!" for at least half a page while making googly eyes at each other! It took me a while to read it (or rather: I started to read it, put it aside in favor of another book and picked it up afterwards again), but I have to say that while some fears indeed came true, I was mostly surprised in a positive way. Okay, let's get the negative stuff out of the way: - Obviously this book is from 1977, which is reflected in the language. If she's one of your favorite historical characters, this book is definitely not for you, unless you love Henry VII more. I liked that Henry always thought that she was not only beautiful, but also clever. I genuinly believed that she fell in love with Henry over time (and he with her). While it had definitely not as much focus as the cover/summary suggested, it was a very important part of the second half of the book (it started with Henry's birth, then focused on his time abroad, with scenes from Margaret's and Elizabeth's POV occasionally sprinkled in there, and only after almost half the book was over Henry returned to England and met her). Just check my favorite scenes (like when Margaret's letter to Henry starts with: "Even a mother dare not not call the king an ass...").