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Monday, July 8, 2024

Review: The King’s Mother

Title: The King’s Mother

Author: Annie Garthwaite

Publisher: 11th July 2024 by Penguin General UK - Fig Tree, Hamish Hamilton, Viking, 

Pages: 384 pages

Genre: General Fiction (Adult) | Historical Fiction | Women's Fiction

My Rating: 5 crowns


1461. Through blood and battle Edward has gained England’s throne – king by right and conquest – eighteen years old and unstoppable. Cecily has piloted his rise to power and stands at his shoulder now, first to claim the title King’s Mother.

But to win a throne is not to keep it and war is come again. As brother betrays brother, and trusted cousins turn treacherous, other mothers rise up to fight for other sons. Cecily must focus her will to defeat every challenge. Wherever they come from. Whatever the cost.

For there can be only one King, and only one King’s Mother.

From the Wars of the Roses to the dawn of the Tudor age, this is a story of mothers and sons; of maternal ferocity and female ambition - of all they can build and all they can destroy.

My Thoughts

Let me state from the outset, I am a history nerd and this book sent me down rabbit hole after rabbit hole. My favourite type of book to read and I could not ask for anything more! I first read Annie’s book, Cecily, three years ago and gave it five stars. It was epic! There is historical fiction and then there was Cecily. WOW! This was purist historical fiction at its best -  one of those rare and memorable tales that gives voice to someone I had barely heard of but would now forever remember. Set at the conclusion of the Hundred Years War between England and France, and moving to the beginning of the Wars of the Roses, the first book focused on the life of Cecily Neville, Duchess of York, mother of King Edward IV and Richard III and a force within her own right. 

‘Cecily the King’s Mother, a title no woman in England has assumed before.’

The King’s Mother is her follow up covering the period of the Wars of the Roses to the dawn of the Tudor age, this is a story of mothers and sons; of maternal ferocity and female ambition - of all they can build and all they can destroy.’ Yup! That about sums it up. I do recommend you read Cecily first as this book picks up right where that one ended with her son Edward on the throne (Cecily is still the main narrator).

‘And so, though she kneels at His altar, Cecily doesn’t so much pray to God as stare him down. Don’t you dare, she says in her heart … say nothing.’

Annie effortlessly regales a complicated time in English history, however, by telling the story through the perspective of Cecily as the ‘King’s Mother’, makes it vivid and compelling. To witness her interactions through her sons and other characters such as Margaret Beaufort is mind blowing. Despite of course knowing how history ends, the magic of Annie’s writing keeps readers on the edge of their seats in anticipation for the conclusion. Think on how history presents certain events and people …. and then think again. Think of the negative light in which Richard III is portrayed and then think again. Think of the legend of the Princes in the Tower and then think again. Outstanding historical fiction. 

‘Tomorrow she might be King’s Mother again. Or just another broken woman, with her children dead at her feet.’

One cannot help but be impressed with the depth and breadth of her research and then the very fitting interpretations. To craft a story that reads so well for today’s audience is impressive. I thank Penguin Publishers UK for reaching out once more and offering this follow up book. If epic historical fiction is your thing, be sure not to miss Annie Garthwaite's incredible series.

This review is based on a complimentary copy from the publisher in exchange for an honest review. Opinions expressed in this review are completely my own. The quoted material may have changed in the final release.

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