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Wednesday, August 14, 2013

"Royal Mistress" by Anne Easter Smith ~ Historical Fiction Supreme!


Jane Lambert, the quick-witted and alluring daughter of a silk merchant, is twenty-two and still unmarried. When Jane’s father finally finds her a match, she’s married off to the dull, older silk merchant William Shore. Marriage doesn’t stop Jane from flirtation, however, and when the king’s chamberlain, Will Hastings, comes to her husband’s shop, Will knows King Edward will find her irresistible.

Edward IV has everything: power, majestic bearing, superior military leadership, a sensual nature, and charisma. And with Jane as his mistress, he also finds true happiness. But when his hedonistic tendencies get in the way of being the strong leader England needs, his life, as well as those of Jane and Will Hastings, hangs in the balance. Jane must rely on her talents to survive as the new monarch, Richard III, bent on reforming his brother’s licentious court, ascends the throne.

This dramatic tale has been an inspiration to poets and playwrights for five hundred years, and, as told through the unique perspective of a woman plucked from obscurity and thrust into a life of notoriety, Royal Mistress is sure to enthrall today’s historical fiction lovers as well.


Published by:  Touchstone
Pages:  489
Genre:  Historical Fiction
Author:  Anne Easter Smith
Author's Website:  http://anneeastersmith.com
Purchase this book:  Barnes & Noble


In my novels, I strive,  to serve those readers who are looking for accuracy in historical fact and yet also engage those who are looking for a good story with strong characters, a little romance and lots of period detail. A Rose for the Crown, Daughter of YorkThe King's Grace, Queen by Right, and Royal Mistress are for those readers who enjoy settling into a book and living with the characters for a good long time. 

I spent my childhood in England, Germany and Egypt as the daughter of a British Army colonel.  At my boarding school in Surrey a teacher we called "Conky" -- after William the Conqueror -- inspired my passion for history.  When in my early 20s, I read Josephine Tey's "A Daughter of Time", I became particularly fascinated by Shakespeare's so-called villain, Richard III.
At age 24, after living and working as a secretary in London and Paris, I came on a lark to New York with my flatmate just for a "two-year stint." Many years, two marriages, two children and five cross-country moves later I'm very definitely a permanent resident of the U.S. -- but my love for English history remains

Take a moment to view this amazing video about the character Jane Shore by author Anne Easter Smith.  Just a wonderful insight into the real Jane!


As alluring as Jane Shore was in history and to the most powerful of men in the early history of England, she is to us in Ms Smith's "Royal Mistress."  While she is depicted as an ordinary young woman of a merchant's up-bringing, she is shown to have that certain, un-nameable spark that draws men to her.  Even Jane understands this element early on, but isn't able to define it.  And, she recognizes her physical desires are strong as her intelligence and wiliness.  It's no wonder that we find her eventually in the arms of the most prominent men of history.

Anne Easter Smith has all the fire and power to bring this story to us in a way that keeps it alive and tantalizing.  I had trouble putting the book down for any thing that needed to be done all day and into the late evening.  She is a storyteller that winds in the truth like a bright silk thread so that you realize you're reading history along with her imagination of how things might have come about.  But it's just visual and cinematic at times.

I especially enjoyed reading how she got into the hearts and minds of her characters.  Delving into the emotions and the love connections, and even the manipulations for love's sake that motivated them was interesting.  Jane's life at court was complicated, though filled with richness and profound physical and intimate love.  Ms Smith did a tremendous job of transitioning us through the stages of  her life.

This is a very "grown up" historical fiction.  By that I mean that it's a book that you can read without feeling the author has pandered to a lesser quality reading crowd.  It's rich in detail and in characterization, beautifully crafted and filled with historical impact.  It's written for a discerning reader of historical fiction.

You'll really love it...

5 stars                          Deborah/TheBookishDame


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