Review: The Reluctant Queen by Jean Plaidy

The Reluctant Queen
by Jean Plaidy

Rating:  5 / 5

Jean Plaidy’s The Reluctant Queen is the story of Anne of York, wife to King Richard III. Anne was born the second daughter to the Earl of Warwick, also known as "The Kingmaker" and along with her sister Isabel, was one of the greatest heiresses in the country. Unfortunately, being an heiress also means you are little more than a pawn, to be moved hither and thither at the fancy of others.

Anne’s father Warwick was an ambitious, austere man and as he had helped place Edward IV on the throne, he was known as “The Kingmaker”. Being so close to the royal family, Anne grew up around the king’s brothers, George (Duke of Clarence) and Richard (Duke of Gloucester) at the Warwick home of Middleham. Middleham would prove to be a big part of Anne’s life, as she and Richard would live there years later as husband and wife – it was the place they always considered home, the place where their affection for each other began.

The amiable relationship between Warwick and King Edward comes to an end when Edward secretly marries a commoner (and some say witch), Elizabeth Woodville – thus eradicating all the hard work Warwick had put into negotiating with France for a bride for Edward. It was a blatant lack of respect for all that he had done for Edward. So, now that Warwick has lost his puppet, he moves on to the next in line to the throne, Edward’s brother, George. One way he did that was marry his eldest daughter Isabel to George. However, over time he proves himself unworthy of a crown and Warwick turns sides, to Lancaster. He approaches Margaret of Anjou and sets before her a proposal, he will help her overthrow Edward and place Henry VI back on the throne and he secures the agreement with the betrothal of Anne and Prince Edward, Margaret and Henry’s son, the heir to Lancaster. Anne is terrified. She was brought up to hate the Lancastrians and now she is forced to marry the son of her father's worst enemies. As collateral Anne is placed in the care of Margaret of Anjou. A serious and formidable woman, she is quite the opposite of Anne….however, during Anne's time with Margaret they form a bond. Margaret can relate to Anne’s sadness at being apart from her family and her feeling of fear for marrying a stranger and though she is the daughter of her enemy, Margaret comes to care for her.

Anne Neville

Warwick and the Lancastrians succeed in defeating York, King Edward is taken prisoner and Henry VI is back on the throne. The celebration, however, is short lived - Warwick loses his life at the Battle of Barnet and Prince Edward dies at the Battle of Tewkesbury. Margaret of Anjou is taken prisoner and Anne is reunited with her sister, Isabel and placed in the care of her brother-in-law, the shady Duke of Clarence. Now that Anne is free of her betrothal, she and Richard are free to marry. They make their home at Middleham, where they raise their son, a frail child named Edward.

Middleham Castle

When King Edward dies, Richard is named Lord Protector, in charge of protecting the heirs to the throne. After certain facts come to light, Edward’s two sons are declared bastards and the crown passes to Richard. Anne’s biggest fear is realized, she is now Queen. This is a role she has never wanted – her only dream was to live quietly at Middleham and away from the treachery at court. Never a robust woman, Anne is only in her early 30s (and 2 years a Queen) when she dies. Sadly, she passed with doubts of Richard’s love in her heart and amidst rumors of Richard courting his niece, Elizabeth of York.

While Anne of York’s story is far from envious, it is a story worth knowing.

Order The Reluctant QueenAmazon US | Amazon UK



  1. Girl you changed the blog! I am shocked. I like it though. Seems brighter or something. I know this took a lot of time and effort. Good job Pumpkin!

    So Anne was a pretty lady huh? Although her one arm looks a little off there. Thanks for the additional info. Informative as always :)

  2. Love the new look for the blog! I am still hunting for bg that I like and that will work with 3 columns as I want to change mine over.

    I liked this book as well. I used it as my post for HT's ABC challenge. :)

  3. Yes, love the new look of your Blog Amy! I agree with you about Anne's life story, one worthy of reading. I read this book a few years back and her story never ceases to impress me, specially since she is wife to one of my favorite and tragic HF heroes--Richard III.

  4. I LOVED this book Amy! Fabulous review and I love the way you went a step further and added the castle photo! Just wondering..are you adding your Plaidy reviews to our challenge over at Plaidy's Royal Intrigue? If not-You should!!

  5. WOw, that really looks good. I'm determined to catch up with HF in 2010 (yeah, yeah, I know I've said this before, but this time I mean it).

  6. Anne's relationship with Richard fascinates me; I blogged about it recently at because my research on Richard (and Anne) for my current nonfiction wip, ROYAL PAINS led me to conclude that they had a pretty happy marriage. She was not Shakespeare's reluctant queen (nor Plaidy's) -- and it's always so much fun to separate the fact from the fantasy that has shaped our perception of historical personages.

    The politics and personalities were so complicated where Richard III was concerned that it took me a few weeks just to research and write the chapter on him. I'm far from being an apologist Ricardian, but I was amazed to discover how much I thought I knew about him was shaped by fiction (prose, plays, and propaganda).

  7. Wow......That's some story. With so many common names all through history, i get a bit confused! But this is something I really didn't know! It is fantastic!Awesome review!


Related Posts with Thumbnails

Passages to the Past
All rights reserved © 2013

Custom Blog Design by Blogger Boutique

Blogger Boutique