My rating: 3 of 5 stars
Sandra Worth has written a compelling tale of love and war in England in her Tudor novel, Lady of the Roses. The heroine, Isobel, is a passionate and headstrong girl who enters the playing field because of her land-rich inheritance. Ward of Queen Marguerite of Anjou, Isobel sees up close the pressure and madness that comes with the crown. Everyone at court has their own agenda and Kings and Queens must put aside their own desires in their bid to hold on to England. Everything and everyone is a possession of England’s royalty and whoever wears the crown will determine the fate of the world and even that of Isobel’s heart.
As risky as life at court is, it is no easier for the King’s Knights who must rise to any occasion of rebellion and treason to act as the punishing arm of the England’s ruler. Sir John Neville, a Yorkist, is in the thick of battle throughout the War of the Roses as he valiantly tries to stay faithful to his cherished King Henry VI and remain loyal to his brothers who are key players in precarious political intrigue of the era.
Worth’s novel, while thick with court politics and fierce battles, is really about the endurance of love. In an age when the blood in your veins determines your political loyalties, Worth shows the world that even a Romeo & Juliet-doomed romance can have a chance if lovers remain faithful to each other. It is a story of passion, risks, and uncertainty but the power of love is never forgotten in this tale. Isobel and Sir John must make their own destinies if they are to enjoy a life of love together.
It isn’t the strategic battles and tremendous loss of life that feeds the story of war in this novel. Rather it is Worth’s storytelling of the political leaders and their ambitions and petty feelings that constantly stoke the fire of War. England, finally free of the foreign Queen Marguerite, soon learns that even a Queen bred on their soil can wield a wicked whip of revenge and power over the land when the new King Edward IV weds Elizabeth Woodville, a lady of the court who came from scandalous parentage. King Edward, distracted by constant threats of rebellion and his enemies, lets his Queen Elizabeth weave her family and friends into power and could very well destroy the life that Sir John and Isobel have worked so hard to build.
Living During The War Of The Roses
While Worth weaves an entertaining tale of love and life at court, I believe that it is her accuracy about life during this dangerous time that makes this such a wonderful read. The descriptions of everyday activities come alive as if they were happening before you today. Characters, initially one-dimensional at the start of the story, grow to be rich, multi-faceted human beings who survived in an age of bitter physical and political war.
This isn’t a romance novel for those looking for a quick read and superficial love. This is a story seeded with historical data, descriptions of beautiful landscapes, and the memoir of a young girl’s love as she matures into a passionate woman. It is a love story to savor and remember.
Lady of the Roses is just one of six of historical romances that Worth has written about Tudor England. If you’d like to see what life was like for her characters you should visit her web site to tour the Photo Gallery for pictures about the people, places and events featured in her novels.
Want a sneak peek at Worth’s latest book, Pale Rose of England? Watch the tantalizing book video on YouTube! Pale Rose is available in bookstores as of February 2011.