I think I may have read a few too many War of the Roses novels because the current crop of books and authors (the notable exception being [a:Susan Higginbotham|260080|Susan Higginbotham|http://d.gr-assets.com/authors/1232260330p2/260080.jpg] and her excellent books [b:The Stolen Crown: The Secret Marriage that Forever Changed the Fate of England|9704024|The Stolen Crown The Secret Marriage that Forever Changed the Fate of England|Susan Higginbotham|http://d.gr-assets.com/books/1301956140s/9704024.jpg|7120992] & [b:The Queen of Last Hopes: The Story of Margaret of Anjou|10216416|The Queen of Last Hopes The Story of Margaret of Anjou|Susan Higginbotham|http://d.gr-assets.com/books/1328307012s/10216416.jpg|11114540]) seem to have a sameness about them and are very formulaic.
Stock ingredients for these novels include:
*Mary-Sue main character. Doesn't matter what the person was like in real life they are always beautiful, desirable and perfect in every way.
*Mary-Sue MC always marries for love, even if it is an arranged marriage for political purposes, and they always have great marital sex.
*Mary-Sue MC is always psychic, knowing what is best and what will happen despite more knowledgeable others being unable to see it. You'd think that she had the advantage of hindsight, honestly!
*Mary-Sue MC always shivers. A lot. I know it's supposed to be a premonition or some such rubbish, but it drives me nuts and just makes me want to yell "For gods sake woman, put a coat on!"
*Mary-Sue MC always has lots of modern sensibilities and is usually a woman who has/wants it all--marriage, great sex, supermum capabilities, great fashion sense (sometimes a couple of centuries ahead of the trends!) and is a pacifist, as well as having a good grasp on modern psychology.
*Political unsophistication, York=Good, Lancaster=bad. So if a character is referred to as a witch, is arrogant or selfish, beats his wife or makes babies/children cry when the approach them, you know they are Lancastrian.
*Tedious info dumps.
*Poor research leading to historical errors and anachronisms that throw you out of the story.
*And poor editing.
This one was no different to the rest, and included all of the above and it makes me wonder why the authors pick such interesting historical women to write about and then turn them into the equivalent of a Medieval Barbie doll.
I was interested in reading this book because it was about Cecily Neville and as I had mostly enjoyed some of Anne Easter Smith's previous novels I had reasonable expectations for this one. Needless to say I was disappointed, but worse than that I was bored, and boring for 500 odd pages is pretty punishing. It delivered no real information about the real Cecily and left off her life just when it could've got interesting.
I mean, how does a pious woman react when her youngest son accuses her of adultery so he can bastardize his brother's children (her grandchildren) and seize the throne from them? I would've love to have seen Easter Smith's Mary-Sue Cecily handle that, along with the execution of one of her sons by another of her sons. But alas Easter Smith didn't want to deal with the real difficulties of the real Cecily's life so we are non the wiser.
You may like this book if you are looking for a shallow historical romance, and are not worried too much about the details, historical or otherwise. But be warned, if you are looking for interesting and meaty historical fiction you won't find it here, it is far too silly and fluffy to be taken seriously.