Set against the interminable and harrowing War of the Roses, Love and War introduces the Richard III, a somber and idealistic young man who defines himself, even from his earliest days, by his loyalty to others ("Loyalty binds me."). Against the grain of accepted knowledge regarding the true nature of Richard III, Worth paints a more human portrait of the serious youth who will one day bear the burden of the English crown. With brothers Edward and George ahead of him, Richard harbors no aspirations for himself, later catapulted into history by virtue of the unpredictability of fate. His father lost on the field of battle, the dark Richard grows up in the shadow of his golden brothers, Edward, the Warrior King and George, the handsome, arrogant man who sees himself on Edward's throne, his hubris unchecked as his relationship with the king grows more contentious. Richard looks for inspiration to Richard Neville, the Earl of Warwick, known as "the Kingmaker". It is Warwick who assures Edward's kingship, their close friendship tested to the breaking point as the years pass.
Buffeted about by the vagaries of his circumstances, Richard clings to an enduring love for his childhood sweetheart, Anne Neville, Warwick's daughter. No matter how unpredictable their fortunes, the two find comfort where often there is none. Perhaps the most destructive act of Edward's kingship arises from his marriage to Elizabeth Woodville, who he has chosen for love in lieu of a foreign betrothal to strengthen England's ties to Europe. Over time, the venomous Bess poisons her husband with whispers of the Neville's incipient treason, the Woodville's salting the court with their divisive influence. No one is safe from Bess's machinations, not George, Warwick or Richard, as the queen seeks to isolate her husband from the influence of his brothers and the Neville family. Richard is bound by blood to his elder brother, Edward, even when Warwick breaks from the throne and supports Henry of Lancaster in a bid for Edward's crown. Watching George's greed grow commensurate with Edward's distractions, Richard finds himself with little bargaining power in his quest for Anne, George claiming guardianship after Warwick's death.
As volume one of Worth's trilogy draws to a close, Richard weds his sweetheart and cousin without dispensation from Rome. Having finally thwarted Henry of Lancaster's last attempt at the throne, Edward pursues an uneven kingship, increasingly debauched and furious when crossed, Bess inciting suspicion at every turn. Escaping briefly to his estate with Anne, Richard finds much satisfaction in dealing with the citizens, newly awakened to the plight of the poor and disenfranchised, beginning a lifelong passion for equity before the law. His greatest challenge yet to come, Richard prays for peace for the sake of his newborn son. Luan Gaines.
What did you think of this review?
Fun to Read
What's your opinion on The Rose of York: Love and War?