The Tudor Rose

Written by Margaret Campbell Barnes
Review by Luan Gaines

“It is strange how many want to sit in the king’s seat even though it’s so uncomfortable.” From the mouths of babes. As history unfolds, Elizabeth, pawn to the future of England, endures the death of her beloved father, her mother’s flight to safety with Edward’s heirs, the mysterious disappearance of the young princes in the Tower, Richard III’s coronation and the battle between Plantagenet king and his most powerful threat, Henry Tudor.

Elizabeth’s young life is spent watching and waiting, in sanctuary with her mother and sisters and in Richard’s court, where his unwanted attentions give rise to gossip and her absolute conviction that that Richard has murdered the princes. While Henry Tudor gathers forces and support, Elizabeth is acutely aware of the opportunity to embrace her destiny and end the long years of war between York and Lancastrian causes. With Richard dead on the battlefield, Elizabeth marries Henry, becoming the only English queen to have been wife, daughter, sister, niece and mother to English kings, most significantly, Henry VIII.

This novel harbors no romantic view of Richard III, no ambiguous feelings between Elizabeth and her uncle while his wife is dying and no doubt as to Richard’s guilt in the fate of the princes in the Tower. Propelled by events, Elizabeth is thrust from royalty to insignificance, only to embrace her role as matriarch of the Tudor dynasty. Even Henry Tudor is plagued by usurpers and pretenders, the unknown fate of the princes a constant source of opportunistic scheming. Only Elizabeth’s son, Henry VIII, will hold England in his firm grip, shaking the very foundations of the country.