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A Rose for the Crown by Anne Easter Smith

A Rose for the Crown (2006)

by Anne Easter Smith

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5272130,830 (3.98)34
AN UNFORGETTABLE HEROINE, A KING MISUNDERSTOOD BY HISTORY, A LOVE STORY THAT HAS NEVER BEEN TOLD In A Rose for the Crown, we meet one of history's alleged villains through the eyes of a captivating new heroine -- the woman who was the mother of his illegitimate children, a woman who loved him for who he really was, no matter what the cost to herself. As Kate Haute moves from her peasant roots to the luxurious palaces of England, her path is inextricably intertwined with that of Richard, Duke of Gloucester, later King Richard III. Although they could never marry, their young passion grows into a love that sustains them through war, personal tragedy, and the dangerous heights of political triumph. Anne Easter Smith's impeccable research provides the backbone of an engrossing and vibrant debut from a major new historical novelist.… (more)



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Showing 1-5 of 21 (next | show all)
Basically the life story of Richard III in novel form. I knew little of the Plantagenet's before I read this book which has inspired me to do a little historical research. I find this book to be competent in most of its historical assumptions; perhaps a little less so on the intertwining of Richard and his mistress, Katherine Haute; but it makes for a great story! I will definitely read more of this author. ( )
  Tess_W | Jul 13, 2019 |
A Rose For The Crown is a big improvement over this author’s other works I’ve read. The storytelling is more fluid without a ton of awkward descriptive side paragraphs or too perfect characters (though at times Kate had that stink about her). Phrasing sometimes read as awkward, but I could see the author’s reasons for those exchanges. Overall, I enjoyed this historical exploration more than previous attempts by Smith.

I think the ambiguity of my Kate Haute and Richard III knowledge helped spice this story for me. All I really knew about Richard was the propaganda that history has spewed about him and the fairly recent discovery of his bones under a parking lot. To see him from the eyes of one who loved him for himself rather than his position was an eye-opener. Kate’s simple faith and love made him more human to me, giving him more complex motivations rather than a lust for power and evil murdering personality.

Kate was a blank slate for me; I’d only read her name in passing. I enjoyed seeing her fleshed out into a woman with a personality all her own: loyal, sometimes blind to reality, loving, and sweet. The author didn’t have much in the historical record to go off of; according to her author’s note, there’s even some doubt that Kate was Richard III’s mother of his illegitimate children at all. Yet, she was a great foil with which to see the times and Richard’s place in them.

The author pleases again in the history department. Her setting skills are handled with aplomb, as per usual. The reader sees, hears, and smells each scene. I’ve come to expect this from Smith. The one area where this book falters a bit falls in this area, though. There are locations in the narrative where the speech can get very stilted and awkward, dragged down with exact phrasing from the era. I can appreciate that the author was striving for historical accuracy; so I can understand the reasoning. Yet, at times these exchanges made reading enjoyment hard to reach.

A great window into a little known woman who saw much change in her life, this work was a pleasant diversion. Historical figures got new life and perspective, Kate giving us a new window into their soul. She, herself, shone as a loving, if flawed, personality. Some stilted conversational exchanges don’t condemn this book. When taken as a whole, the book is a great historical fictional work, and I highly recommend it. ( )
  Sarah_Gruwell | Aug 30, 2016 |
"An unforgettable heroine, a king misunderstood by history, a love story that has never been told"
  MerrittGibsonLibrary | Jul 13, 2016 |
Anne Easter Smith presents a thoroughly plausible scenario in which Richard, Duke of Gloucester (later Richard III) meets and loves woman who fathers his illegitimate children. Her research is complete and detailed as she weaves the known people surrounding Richard III as well as his own character. I have always been of the mind that Richard III was a good man who has been maligned through the ages and this book, though fiction, presented my views of him in a believable way. Great book! ( )
  Oodles | Feb 16, 2016 |
Having read Alison Weir’s “A Dangerous Inheritance”, which featured that author’s imagined presentation of two of Richard III’s illegitimate children, I decided to check out “A Rose for the Crown” to see how Anne Ester Smith’s interprets these same *real* people as characters in a novel.

Both John and Katherine Plantagenet are portrayed very differently in this novel compared to Ms Weir’s excellent tome, which, although I preferred the latter’s offering, is not a bad thing, as Ms Smith has produced worthy alternatives.

But the main focus of this tale is of the baseborn children’s mother, depicted here as Kate Haute, though to date there is no certainty that KH was John and Katherine’s mother in reality. But this doesn’t matter in fiction, for it naturally gives an author’s imagination more scope.

Ms Smith has used real events during the period 1459-91 as a framework for her novel whilst focusing on the life of Kate Haute from her time as a nine-year-old through to the age of forty. An important theme is Kate’s involvement with Richard III when he was a youth and known then as the Duke of Gloucester.

This is a long book with few lulls. Only once in a while did I feel the author was needlessly digressing and perhaps this tome would’ve been a stronger read had it been edited a little more.

Certainly the amount of commonplace dialogue should’ve been cut down. The dialogue itself is very good but there’s an overuse of “Well met”, “Good day”, and other common niceties that the reader doesn’t need when they can imagine polite greetings without seeing it in black and white.

On several occasions the commonplace dialogue is repeated immediately in the dialogue attribution as the sentence below demonstrates:

“Good day to you, man, and God speed,” Richard dismissed the peasant pleasantly.

The attribution coveys the same info as the dialogue, thus it’s unneeded.

This is arguably the worst sentence in the book:

“Good day to you, Kate,” he greeted Kate cheerily.

You have “Kate” repeated twice in close proximity; an adverb is tagged onto the dialogue attribution; the attribution isn’t needed anyway because we know who’s being addressed, and the “Good day” alone suggests a cheery greeting. Overall, this is more superfluous commonplace dialogue that could’ve been cut altogether.

My main criticism of this otherwise excellent book is the author’s inclusion of a prologue that gives away the fate of John and Katherine, plus a couple of other “surprises”, in the first few pages. Speaking as someone familiar with this period, it didn’t spoil the story as such, but I did not know how the author intended to deal with the brother and sister before I started reading, so instead of learning of their futures by the end of the book I was instead alerted to their fates almost immediately.

Therefore, anyone unfamiliar with the period will probably feel let down by this. The author has revealed the destiny of two important characters too early, ruining any potential suspense regarding their futures. Had Ms Smith integrated the details of this prologue into the latter stages of the book or the epilogue then she would’ve invoked more sympathy from the reader whilst creating a stronger ending.

Although I’ve been somewhat critical, I still really liked this book, as the 4 Stars suggest, and intend to read more work by this author. ( )
  PhilSyphe | Jul 19, 2014 |
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