Monday, May 20, 2013

Royal Mistress by Anne Easter Smith

Jane Lambert, the quick-witted and alluring daughter of a silk merchant, is twenty-two and still unmarried. When Jane’s father finally finds her a match, she’s married off to the dull, older silk merchant William Shore. Marriage doesn’t stop Jane from flirtation, however, and when the king’s chamberlain, Will Hastings, comes to her husband’s shop, Will knows King Edward will find her irresistible.

Edward IV has everything: power, majestic bearing, superior military leadership, a sensual nature, and charisma. And with Jane as his mistress, he also finds true happiness. But when his hedonistic tendencies get in the way of being the strong leader England needs, his life, as well as those of Jane and Will Hastings, hangs in the balance. Jane must rely on her talents to survive as the new monarch, Richard III, bent on reforming his brother’s licentious court, ascends the throne.

This dramatic tale has been an inspiration to poets and playwrights for five hundred years, and, as told through the unique perspective of a woman plucked from obscurity and thrust into a life of notoriety, Royal Mistress is sure to enthrall today’s historical fiction lovers as well.

Royal Mistress is an absorbing tale about Jane Lambert, the daughter of a mercer who becomes the mistress of King Edward IV and other noblemen in the fifteenth century. Born with the gift of beauty, Jane easily turns heads and attracts the attention of every man she encounters. When she meets Thomas Grey, the Marquess of Dorset, Jane falls irretrievably in love. He betroths her to William Shore, a much older, but wealthy merchant. Jane soon discovers her husband is impotent and her eye begins to wander as she contemplates seeking an annulment. When she catches the eye of William Hastings, the king’s own chamberlain, he recommends her to the king, a man with a voracious sexual appetite. Jane willingly becomes his mistress until his death. Years later, when Richard III ascends the throne, he is determined to cleanse the depraved court and Jane is one of the first to be accused.

This novel is well researched, full of historic characters, places, and items, and the story compelling. There is plenty to entertain; betrayal, suspense, and plenty of romance. The vivid prose evokes strong images, making the story engrossing and colored with the sights and smells of the 16th century. Jane Shore is presented as a bold, spirited woman, witty and confident in all she does and says. How else could she have caught the discerning eye of so many men of lofty rank. A very entertaining novel! 
From History and Women

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