The Stolen Crown by Susan Higginbotham
When Katherine was a very young girl, a marriage changed her life – and the future of England – forever. Kate’s older sister, the widowed Elizabeth Woodville had caught the eye of the young King Edward IV. Edward and Elizabeth wasted very little time putting her less-than-noble family into some of the highest positions in the lands. Katherine in particular is wed to the young Harry, Duke of Buckingham, a boy whose position in England was second only to Edward IV and his children and brothers. Katherine and Harry grow to love one another deeply, but the specter of Richard of Gloucester, the man that Harry admires above all others, haunts their life together; Kate does not like the man much, and the feeling is mutual.
I really read War of the Roses books to see who the author thinks murdered Edward IV’s sons in the Tower of London and what the Duke of Buckingham’s motivations were for his actions after Richard’s coronation. Higginbotham definitely had a perspective I had never seen before and one that was at least plausible, although it is not the theory to which I subscribe. Because Buckingham’s motivations are often such a mystery, it was very interesting to view the entire story from his and Kate’s perspectives.
It was interesting for me to compare “The Stolen Crown” to Higginbotham’s earliest published work, “The Traitor’s Wife.” Higginbotham is still writing engaging stories, but her prose has improved greatly; something kept pulling me out of the story in “The Traitor’s Wife,” and that did not happen with “The Stolen Crown.” I did feel that her characters – Kate in particular – spoke in ways that were at times overly modern. I couldn’t pinpoint exactly what made me feel this way, but I suspect it might have been all of the parenthetical statements that both Kate and Harry made.
Definitely an enjoyable work of historical fiction told from an unique perspective and I will continue to try Higginbotham’s work to see if she can continue to improve.