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Topic: Wars of the Roses, please recommend

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Subject: Wars of the Roses, please recommend
Date Posted: 10/12/2009 12:25 PM ET
Member Since: 12/22/2008
Posts: 533
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I eagerly seek any recommendations for a good book(s) to begin learning about this subject.  Your suggestions are welcomed and appreciated.

New at this HF stuff, thanks.

Date Posted: 10/12/2009 2:28 PM ET
Member Since: 7/15/2008
Posts: 4,035
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IMHO the be-all to end-all is Penman's The Sunne in Splendour.  She is pro-Richard but she makes a good case for it. I know Anne Easter Smith and Sandra Worth write about this period but I'm not overly impressed with either author.  Susan HIgganbotham has one coming out next year.

If you're on Goodreads we have an R3 group. Come and join us, http://www.goodreads.com/group/show/12605.Richard_III

Date Posted: 10/12/2009 2:47 PM ET
Member Since: 8/31/2007
Posts: 482
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This link gives some info on War of the Roses-era HF. http://www.librarything.com/tag/Wars+of+the+Roses

Also these here: http://www.amazon.com/tag/war%20of%20the%20roses/products/ref=tag_gam_bkt_istp



Last Edited on: 10/12/09 2:49 PM ET - Total times edited: 1
Date Posted: 10/12/2009 6:26 PM ET
Member Since: 4/25/2007
Posts: 849
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Penman's book is the best; however, if you are unfamiliar with the time period, the sheer scope of the book may be a little overwhelming (it was the first book on the period I read and I wish I had had a better grasp on the people involved and the basic storyline - I'm sure there are things in Penman's book that I missed as a result).  For a good historical fiction introduction, Jean Plaidy has a book covering the same time period (also called The Sun in Splendour).  It is not as detailed as Penman.  It is currently out of print in the US, although you might be able to find it on ebay; it was recently reissued in the UK and you can get it from The Book Depository's UK site with free shipping. 

Date Posted: 10/12/2009 8:52 PM ET
Member Since: 12/10/2005
Posts: 2,851
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I recommend Penman's book, too. I find Plaidy a bit dry for my tastes. Penman really made me want to learn more about the time period.

Date Posted: 10/13/2009 5:29 AM ET
Member Since: 12/22/2008
Posts: 533
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Thank you, everyone, for taking time to reply.  I so appreciate your very helpful suggestions and comments.  What a wonderful group you are!

Now I have some idea about where to start.  Again, thanks.

Date Posted: 10/13/2009 10:51 AM ET
Member Since: 7/15/2008
Posts: 4,035
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There is also Meredith Whitford's Treason. Pro-Richard and told from the POV of a fictional cousin, but I enjoyed it a lot. Reay Tannahill's Seventh Son is good but not for a first time book on the subject. When you're more familiar with it, then get Brian Wainwright's The Adventures of Alianore Audley. Funny as all get out.

Date Posted: 10/13/2009 10:55 AM ET
Member Since: 6/16/2008
Posts: 772
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The Plaidy book, The Sun in Splendour, is fine as a start. It gives a good intro to the Edward IV-Richard III era. As an overall rule, I'd say Plaidy is the primer for any era, but definitely then move on to books that are more detailed and, frankly, better written. Penman shouldn't be too difficult after Plaidy.

And I'll second Cathy's sentiments about Sandra Worth. Her first book on Richard III reads like it was written by a 12 year old fangirl in her Hello Kitty diary. Haven't read Anne Easter Smith, but from what I've heard, the tone is a marginal improvement over Worth. If you don't mind purply prose, Rosemary Hawley Jarman is ok, although I couldn't get past the first section of We Speak No Treason. Jarman's style comes across strongly as a 20th c. person who wishes she was living in 1480 and thus has a really romanticized view of the people and place.


Here's a list of books. Lots are of out of print and INSANELY expensive in the used market, but library loan might help you out.

http://www.histfiction.net/contents/content_server.php?pv=ricardianlist

Somewhat tangentially related aside: Has anyone else ever thought Edward IV looks like Stephen Fry?
http://i35.tinypic.com/2nh225k.jpg



Last Edited on: 10/13/09 1:59 PM ET - Total times edited: 5
Date Posted: 10/13/2009 6:57 PM ET
Member Since: 12/10/2005
Posts: 2,851
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And I'll second Cathy's sentiments about Sandra Worth. Her first book on Richard III reads like it was written by a 12 year old fangirl in her Hello Kitty diary.

ROTFL! Thank you! I definitely could not have said this better myself.

I totally agree with your Jarman assessment as well. I haven't read Easter Smith  because the reviews were meh.

Date Posted: 10/13/2009 8:08 PM ET
Member Since: 12/22/2008
Posts: 533
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And I'll second Cathy's sentiments about Sandra Worth. Her first book on Richard III reads like it was written by a 12 year old fangirl in her Hello Kitty diary.

Karla, that was too funny!!!!  :)     Won't rush out to buy that one anytime soon!

Seriously, you Learned Ladies have provided incredible feedback, links, and suggestions.  I believe I can begin my quest.

Thank you,

 

Date Posted: 10/13/2009 8:24 PM ET
Member Since: 7/15/2008
Posts: 4,035
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And I'll second Cathy's sentiments about Sandra Worth. Her first book on Richard III reads like it was written by a 12 year old fangirl in her Hello Kitty diary.

Glad to know I'm not the only one. The "woe is me" in The King's Daughter just about done me in, let alone Elizabeth pining over R3 like that. I didn't make it to page 100 of The King's Grace.

Date Posted: 10/14/2009 8:45 AM ET
Member Since: 12/10/2005
Posts: 2,851
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Ya know, I have trouble picturing anyone pining over Richard. Shudders.

What's the best R3 fiction book y'all have read? For me, it's still Penman's.

For non-fiction, I really liked Paul Murray Kendall. He can write.

Date Posted: 10/14/2009 8:54 AM ET
Member Since: 6/26/2006
Posts: 598
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Alison Weir's War of the Roses is an easy read.

Date Posted: 10/14/2009 10:00 AM ET
Member Since: 7/15/2008
Posts: 4,035
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It's definitely Penman with me. I have some OOP's I want to try although they don't necessarily totally focus on R3, but more on Perkin Warbeck (I think). I'm sitting on Merchant of the Ruby by Alice Harwood plus two by Marian Palmer The White Boar and The Wrong Plantagenet. Margaret Campbell Barnes has The King's Bed which is about a *natural* son of Richard's. The story begins just prior to the battle at Bosworth field. Not the greatest piece of fiction ever written but entertaining - a perfect book for my *gym* book that I only read while doing cardio.

For non-fiction I enjoyed Bertram Field's Royal Blood. He takes it from an attorney's viewpoint and examines the evidence as if he was going to defend him. Weir and Shakespeare take a real beating. If your library doesn't have it go for an ILL if they participate as mine has copies.

I really recommend those on Goodreads to check out the bookshelf at the R3 group. With members like Brian Wainwright and Susan Higganbotham adding to the shelves there's a nice eclectic collection. http://www.goodreads.com/group/bookshelf/12605.Richard_III?shelf=read

 

Date Posted: 10/14/2009 11:46 AM ET
Member Since: 10/29/2005
Posts: 3,823
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I just saw an available copy of one that sounds good: http://www.paperbackswap.com/book/details/9780967370101-The+Beggars+Throne

It's "The Beggar's Throne"  by David Falconieri. Has anyone read it?

I've got a copy of Bertram Field's "Royal Blood:, just haven't gotten around to reading it yet. I might be cracking it open soon though; reading all of this is making me crave a "War of the Roses" book! ;-)

Date Posted: 10/14/2009 12:20 PM ET
Member Since: 6/16/2008
Posts: 772
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I know I can be too harsh & sarcastic sometimes in my comments about books that REALLY rub me the wrong way. I blame my long time spent in the fanfiction world for this attitude because there's so much dreck, but I don't think my opinion about Worth's book is unfair. The way she idealized Richard is nearly indistinguishable from girls in love with Legolas who create original characters for him to be the perfect lover to. Stories like that are kinda embarrassing to read, and I had the same squirmy feeling when I read Worth. And as an aside, the somewhat, er, vociferously defensive comments on negative/lukewarm reviews for her books on Amazon have a lot in common with a cliquey fanfic author setting her pack of poodles on a naysayer. That's why I laugh when "published" is touted as being superior to "amateur fanfiction." In instances like this, there is no difference I can see.

I haven't read too many R3 books. Less than a half dozen, actually. The best so far is Penman, despite it's positivity/saintliness. There were more than enough other virtues to offset the somewhat cloying preciousness of Richard. I would like to read a book where Anne's a bit more strong, since I'm currently reading Gemmell's Troy series and Andromache is not a shrinking violet/cipher wife by any means! Any suggestions among y'all widely read folks?



Last Edited on: 10/14/09 12:29 PM ET - Total times edited: 1
Date Posted: 10/14/2009 5:00 PM ET
Member Since: 12/10/2005
Posts: 2,851
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Karla, LOL! I thank you for your candid opinions whether I agree with them or not. I think most of us here appreciate honesty and respect differences of opinion.

But I truly did laugh out loud when I read the Worth comment. You go, girl!

As for a strong Anne, the best portrayal I've read would be Tannahill's The Seventh Son. I found it a bit dry, but that could have been the audio book narrator. In any event, Anne is far from the weeping weakling portrayed by Worth. I seriously don't know how Anne could have lived the life she did as a weakling. I think she would have had to be a strong woman.

Date Posted: 10/14/2009 8:23 PM ET
Member Since: 3/14/2009
Posts: 9,174
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Valli,  I tired "The Beggars Throne"  this summer and just couldn't get into it.   I have a rule that if Im not at least intrigued by page 150, I'll pass it on.  Not always the best policy but it was wish listed and I have other book to move on to.



Last Edited on: 10/14/09 8:24 PM ET - Total times edited: 1
Date Posted: 10/14/2009 8:29 PM ET
Member Since: 7/15/2008
Posts: 4,035
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I agree with Genie about Seventh Son. I loved the way Tannahill wrote the Anne rescued from the kitchen maid scene. Tannahill is a bit dry and may not appeal to everyone but I really liked it.  As for packs of naysayers on Amazon reviews, I don't think anyone's going to top (at least not yet) the comments for Barb's one star review for Tasha Alexander's Tears of Pearl. She even had an author pal of Tasha's plus two socks attack her at Goodreads. Then they decided I was Barb's sock puppet and hit my Amazon reviews with negative votes big time. Of course I'm assuming it's the same source, although the timing within minutes was a tad bit too coincidental.

Date Posted: 10/14/2009 9:17 PM ET
Member Since: 6/5/2007
Posts: 2,507
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I'm embarrassed to admit I liked Sandra Worth's book just fine. I didn't love it but it was pleasant.

Date Posted: 10/15/2009 1:01 PM ET
Member Since: 4/25/2007
Posts: 849
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Mimi - I don't think anyone should be embarrassed by what they like or don't like.  We all like (or dislike) books for different reasons and are often looking to get  different things out of the reading experience.  Sharing those thoughts and opinions is what these online communities are all about!  If we all had the same reaction to every book, this place would be very boring indeed!

Date Posted: 10/15/2009 1:27 PM ET
Member Since: 3/14/2009
Posts: 9,174
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Mimi, I  like Sandra Worth's novel Lady of Roses, it's on my keeper shelf.  John and Isabels story is sweetly done IMO.

Date Posted: 10/16/2009 12:00 PM ET
Member Since: 6/16/2008
Posts: 772
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I thought the John & Isabel love story was the redeeming feature of Love & War (at least until she plagiarized the Sullivan Ballou letter as John's farewell missive to Isabel - John ceased to become his own character & was just parroting someone else's exquisite personality). However, all the good people were so good, and the loves so perfect, that it was like treacle topped with maple syrup with a liberal heaping of confectioners' sugar. The vinegar came from the vilification of Hastings & the Woodvilles, and the whole book was black & white, good & evil.


I'm liking the comments about The Seventh Son. Dry doesn't bug me - after all, I thought Under the Hog was awesome. I don't mind struggling a bit if the characterization is interesting. TSS's been on my WL forevah! Hopefully I'll be #1 before I go completely grey.

Date Posted: 10/16/2009 12:30 PM ET
Member Since: 7/15/2008
Posts: 4,035
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I can't recall if I've mentioned Under the Hog on this thread or not. I did have this out via interlibrary loan but it was a bit too dated for me, but I have to admit when it showed up I was in the mood for other books. ILL's can't be renewed. Another friend of mine on Goodreads loved it to bits. Seventh Son is easy to read and when I say dryness I don't mean slow moving dry, just that Tannahill writes the characters (especially Richard) with a dry wit to them. I don't know if that makes sense. Daphne's read this as well maybe she can do better.

I agree with Daphne about not being afraid to admit you like or dislike something. We're just not going to like the same books everytime. That's life and that's why we have forums like this ;)

Date Posted: 10/16/2009 1:26 PM ET
Member Since: 3/14/2009
Posts: 9,174
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Karla,  In the author notes she point's out her use of Sullivan Balou's letter, I felt she was paying tribute to one of the most moving letters ever written from a battle field. just my opinion. 



Last Edited on: 10/17/09 7:21 AM ET - Total times edited: 1
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