The Flowering of the Rose is book one of We Speak No Treason by Rosemary Hawley Jarman.
Richard, Duke of Gloucester, who will become Richard III, is a troubled yet passionate man. He is serious and loyal, but when he loves, he loves hard. This book tells of his story in the years running up to him becoming king.
This is history as told by those who are often overlooked by it: a king’s mistress and his fool. Rich in historical fact, something which adds a complex layer to the storytelling for it was a complex time, this book was an outstanding read. The fifteenth century world was very easily brought to life within the narrative, and the vast list of characters, who enter and leave as need dictates, help to unfurl the many threads that are woven together so that the reader may understand all that is going on during this period in time.
Richard is painted as a very likeable and fair man, and The Maiden, who tells the first part of the story, and The Fool, who tells the second half, are interesting characters. They relay history as they see it, and although to some degree they are involved in what is going on, they are also removed from it. They are witnesses to some of the most important events of the periods such as the struggles between the King’s family and the Woodvilles (the Queen’s family) and the scheming of Richard Neville, Earl of Warwick known as the Kingmaker. That being said, both narrators are at the mercy of higher powers. But then so is Richard.
Political intrigue, witchcraft, rebellion and vengeance…Kings and queens, maids and mistresses, fools and their follies…this book has everything a good piece of historical fiction should. No wonder it was such an engaging read, one I thoroughly enjoyed from cover to cover.
If the locating of the body of King Richard III and his subsequent internment in Leicester Cathedral captured your interest at all, I believe you would find this book of interest also. Highly recommended.
I am hoping to start the second book of We Speak No Treason, The White Rose Turned to Blood, very soon.
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