Friday 26 February 2010

ARC Review: The stolen Crown - Susan Higginbotham

The Stolen Crown by Susan Higginbotham
The Secret Marriage That Forever Changed the Fate of England

Genre: Historical fiction
Pages: 400
Publication date: March 1st 2010

Trapped in the Wars of the Roses, one woman finds herself sister to the queen...and traitor to the crown

When six-year-old Kate Woodville’s beautiful sister Elizabeth makes a shocking—and secret—marriage to King Edward IV, Kate and her large family are whisked to the king’s court. Soon a bedazzled Kate becomes one of the greatest ladies in the land when she marries young Harry Stafford, Duke of Buckingham. But Kate’s fairy-tale existence as a duchess is shattered when the ongoing conflict between the houses of Lancaster and York engulfs the Woodville family.

As Edward IV fights to keep his crown, Harry’s relatives become hopelessly divided between Lancaster and York. Forced constantly to struggle with his own allegiances, Harry faces his defining moment when his dear friend Richard, Duke of Gloucester, determines to seize the throne for himself as Richard III. With lives in jeopardy and nothing less than a dynasty at stake, Harry’s loyalties—and his conscience—will be put to the ultimate test.

Ever since I read a review of Hugh and Bess I have wanted to read Higginbotham, so when I got the chance I jumped at it. And I am happy to say that I did the right thing.

First of all I must say that she sure did an excellent job keeping all the different Edwards and Henrys  and so on apart. I went in after having studied the long lists of names in the beginning and wondered how this would turn out. But she kept track of them all and she made sure that I as the reader could keep track of them all. Cos oh yes the War of the Roses was a messy time, and then I am not only talking about all the people. The twist and turns, the constant backstabbing, I am amazed that any nobleman got through all that without loosing his head, one way or another. And of course this book made me google, yes I could just not sit and read, I had to go google everyone so I would know things before they happened. Things that had happened long ago, trace lineages, oh this book was a treat for the history addict that I am. You know what, I will go google again after this. I want to know more, because even if I knew things (evil Richard screaming my kingdom for a horse), that was pretty much it.

This book takes place at the center stage but at the same time not on it. It is the story about Katherine Woodville. Her sister married king Edward IV and that shook the country. They thought she was too lowborn, which in a way does not make much sense, except for on her fathers side. But certain people had other plans for the king. Then he married away her siblings and Katherine became Duchess of Buckingham. Fast forward a bit, fighting with the Neville family, fighting with his brother the duke of Clarence, fighting with the French, fighting with the old king and his entourage, and then he died. Which leads to the princes in the Tower, Richard III, and England's savior Henry Tudor. Then finally the civil war could end and York and Lancaster was reunited. This all the reader experiences through Kate's and Harry's eyes.

Higginbotham managed to bring forth a troubled time in England's history and make it come alive. I love an author that can do that, and she did an excellent job. She made me want to know more, and history felt so real. 

I really liked Kate, and I felt kind of sorry for her because some historian hasn't really had nice things to say about her, they made her marriage sound awful, and of course there are tons of rumors about her family. Witchcraft and so on. But after the way Richard III seized the throne no wonder. And she kept her hope up even after loosing so many of her kin. I truly liked the way she was shown. Same goes with Harry, even if he made some foolish choices. And it was nice to follow them from when they were kids. And they have such a nice life together, I liked their lovestory. In the end no one can tell what really happened in their marriage, but I do believe this story.

Higginbotham stayed true to the era with everything. She has done her research and it shows. She managed to incorporate the rumors for what they were, rumors about "famous" people.

I am happy to have read this book, and after such a great historical book I really feel that I must read her previous novel, Hugh and Bess. This is a book that history fans will enjoy a great deal.

For the rest of you, well this story has romance, betrayal, war, backstabbing, political intrigue, wicked rumors and all those other things that any reader loves to read about. This book is for everyone in that aspect. Oh and you learn a lot!

Blodeuedd's Cover Corner: It feels like the genre
Reason for reading: A copy from the publisher
Final thoughts: I recommend it


  1. Ooh, glad you liked this one! I have heard some people say it's a bit on the long side, but I'm glad you disagree. I have wanted to read Hugh and Bess, too :-)

  2. I'm happy for you that you enjoyed reading this one :) I'm not too big a fan of historicals, especially not where the history part is so factual...

  3. It been a long time since I've read this type of historical fiction. I need to get back to it.

  4. You're welcome Susan :D
    I truly enjoyed it, and I sure liked Harry.

    A bit on the long side...really..I'd say not, my copy wasn't even 400 pages. Short and nice.
    Must get Hugh and Bess!

    Oh, you don't like history? :(

    I like both kinds, just as long as they do not go to extremes. I know my history so if people use the wrong words and are too modern, tsk.
    And then I love books like these, facts but still great stories :)

    A read for a history loved like me, and for a booklover like me

  5. So many details! :) If I read historicals, I like them to be really light on history. :D

  6. Fantastic review! It's up next as soon as I've finished Dear John. After reading your review I can't wait!

  7. Sounds interesting. I'm not much of a history buff so those parts would fly over my head as to if was accurate or not. :)

  8. LOL @ Chris... "But it has history."

    Blodeuedd, this book screams you!!!!!! Glad you liked it! Hugs to you honey!

  9. I've read varied reviews of Hugh and Bess but this one certainly sounds one for me so I'll take your word for it and keep my eyes peeled for both of them.

  10. I received this the other day and am so excited to read it! Great review :)

  11. Thanks for the fantastic review, makes me want to read it ASAP :-)

  12. Chris,
    Lol, so more bodice rippings and men in kilts I guess ;)

    I am sure you will enjoy it just as much as I did :D

    Dunno how I became such a history buff, but I am and loving it

    It sure does! I am so happy I liked it, cos you never know with historical (I can be very picky, not with romances though since I know they will be all wrong lol)
    Have a great weekend

  13. Cat
    Oh varied reviews of Hugh and Bess, hm, well at least this one was great. I am sure you would like it too

    Yay, I hope you will enjoy it!

    Gotta have some great historicals at least once a year :)

  14. You have me hooked with this one. Especially if the author makes sure that we know and understand who all the players are!! Excellent and oh so fun review!

  15. I don't usually read historical novels, but I agree with you that one or two a year is a good idea.

    I have an award for you:

  16. Staci,
    Aww thanks, I am glad it was fun cos oh I went on about history..but then I love it ;)

    Thanks! So sweet.
    Yup I could read many of course, but at least a few excellent ones

  17. Wow, Interesting tale! Great review sweetie!


  18. I'm reading this at the end of the month for her book tour and can't wait. I loved Hugh and Bess and The Traitor's Wife too.

  19. sounds like my kind of read, and I like this author. I read The Traitors Wife.

  20. Dar
    I hope you will like it :D
    And if you liked her previous ones then I am sure you will enjoy this one too

    You have, well I doubt her style has changed that much so then I am sure you'd like this one too

  21. Glad to see you liked this one. I enjoyed Higginbotham's The Traitor's Wife and Hugh and Bess, so I'll keep this one in mind. I highly recommend her previous novels.

    Diary of an Eccentric

  22. Anna
    I really must go for it then, I have had Hugh adn Bess in mind for such a long time



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