The Stolen Crown covers the lives of Katherine Woodville and her husband Harry Stafford, Duke of Buckingham. The Duke, because of his Lancastrian blood, struggles to gain back his land that is due to him and tries his best to fall in favor with Edward IV. when that doesn’t work, he goes to Richard, the king’s brother for help and support. After the death of King Edward IV, Harry also helps his dear friend Richard obtain the throne. Much to Katherine’s dismay, she feels Richard isn’t a good influence on Harry and fears the worst when Richard does end up becoming King of England.
Well, the book started off a little too slow for me and although it was interesting to read about their lives, I found it not as interesting as some other historical fiction novels I have read in the past. What nearly threw me off of this book was the abundant number of characters, and the majority of them having the same name. So, it was hard for me to figure out who was who. There is a character page in the beginning of the book, detailing who’s who in each family and how they are related. It’s a lot of information to take and I would have preferred it in family tree format (it’s presented as one long list). It did seem overwhelming for me and keeping the characters straight is difficult in this novel. I think one would have to be rather familiar with the history (Wars of the Roses, the Reigns of Edward IV and Richard III, and the Princes in the Tower) to actually grasp the characters and the main events in the storyline. I am not familiar with it, I’m sure if I was, my enjoyment of the novel would be magnified tenfold.
However, I did not give up and continued reading – as I do have a love for history and although the plot didn’t seem to go nowhere, it did pick up the pace halfway through the novel. Especially events after the death of Edward IV, this is where the story gets a lot more interesting. The narration from Harry dominates most of the time but you get an interesting point of view of events (like the Princes in the Tower). It’s hard not to like him. I thought at first he was just a normal spoiled brat who cared about his inheritance and land but as he grew older and realized who Richard really was, it changed him and I felt a great feeling of sympathy towards Harry. I’m not sure how I feel about Katherine. I admired her after having to go through a lot of tragic events of losing her family and loved ones but I thought both Katherine and Harry were indeed fit for one another and ‘looked’ great together.
I loved the ending of the novel, there was a feeling of hope and happiness that Kate deserved after what she had been through. Also, I didn’t realize Jasper Tudor could be such a dashing man (albeit, he had a very small part in the novel towards the end but it was enough to make an impression to me). The author’s note is very informative and extensive but it is well written and a great follow up to those not familiar to the history.
Overall, I would say, don’t give up on this novel if you feel so overwhelmed with the names and characters. If you get the general idea on who is who then reading this should not be a problem. I recommend this novel to those in love with history particularly the Wars of the Roses, Richard III and the Princes in the Tower however those new to that time period like I am, give it a chance. I found myself learning a lot and wanting to read more of the history to understand better of the events portrayed in the book.
I give it a 7 out of 10.