The Adventures of Alianore Audley
Moving from a sublime Ricardian novel to an hysterically funny one, Wainwright’s Alianore Audley holds a place in my heart. What an endearing heroine, if there ever was one. Alianore, by pure mischance (or perhaps great good fortune), leaves her quiet, boring existence in the convent that her brothers have summarily dumped her in. (Where else can a girl in 15th century England go?) Clearly, Alianore is not meant for the contemplative life. The alternative is a natural: she becomes a spy for her cousin, Edward IV. Natural? It does seem that way as events unfold. Despite the fact that Alianore is initially sent to the North to gather intelligence for Edward so that she is prevented from getting into mischief, she becomes an invaluable asset to the Yorkist cause.
Alianore’s riotously funny insights into the obnoxious and abusive Warwicks, tongue-in-cheek barbs at Margaret Beaufort and Lord Stanley, disrespectful comments about everyone from “Cousin Edward” to the “Tudor Slimebag” (Henry VII), and loving remembrances of Richard and Anne liberally pepper this all-too brief book. Wainwright has a feel for the period and presents it in a unique and enjoyable fashion.
How to give you who read this review a flavor of the times as seen through Alianore’s wickedly funny yet loving perspective is tantamount to impossible. You’ve just got to be there. Read it.