Kinx's Book Nook: HFV Blog Tour: Review of The Thwarted Queen

Tuesday, February 26, 2013

HFV Blog Tour: Review of The Thwarted Queen

I'm happy to be a part of the Historical Fiction Virtual Book Tour of Cynthia Haggard and her novel The Thwarted Queen. For my stop I have provided a review of her wonderful book.
The Thwarted Queen by Cynthia Haggard
Published in 2011
Historical Fiction
I received this book as part of the HFVBT in exchange for an honest review.
THWARTED QUEEN is a portrait of a woman trapped by power, a marriage undone by betrayal, and a King brought down by fear.

Cecylee is the apple of her mother’s eye. The seventh daughter, she is the only one left unmarried by 1424, the year she turns nine. In her father’s eyes, however, she is merely a valuable pawn in the game of marriage. The Earl of Westmorland plans to marry his youngest daughter to 13-year-old Richard, Duke of York, who is close to the throne. He wants this splendid match to take place so badly, he locks his daughter up.

The event that fuels the narrative is Cecylee’s encounter with Blaybourne, a handsome archer, when she is twenty-six years old. This love affair produces a child (the “One Seed” of Book II), who becomes King Edward IV. But how does a public figure like Cecylee, whose position depends upon the goodwill of her husband, carry off such an affair? The duke could have locked her up, or disposed of this illegitimate son.

But Richard does neither, keeping her firmly by his side as he tries to make his voice heard in the tumultuous years that encompass the end of the Hundred Years War - during which England loses all of her possessions in France - and the opening phase of the Wars of the Roses. He inherits the political mantle of his mentor Duke Humphrey of Gloucester, and become’s the people’s champion. The rambunctious Londoners are unhappy that their country has become mired in misrule due to the ineptitude of a King prone to fits of madness. Nor are they better pleased by the attempts of the King’s French wife to maneuver herself into power, especially as she was responsible for England’s losses in France. But can Richard and Cecylee prevail? Everywhere, their enemies lurk in the shadows.

This book is filled with many voices, not least those of the Londoners, who forged their political destiny by engaging in public debate with the powerful aristocrats of the time. By their courageous acts, these fifteenth-century Londoners set the stage for American Democracy.
The Thwarted Queen is a powerful and intriguing piece of historical fiction. In the past, I've read many novels about Edward IV and his queen, Elizabeth. However, I've never read anything from the perspective of his mother, Lady Cecylee. I found Lady Cecylee to be a very strong lady and someone I wanted to read more about.

Ms. Haggard wrote this book from the first person perspective of Lady Cecylee. In fact, Lady Cecylee calls it her memoirs. The first person perspective worked really well with the telling of this story. You are able to really see inside all her schemes and emotions. You know her insecurities, how proud she could be and how, at times, unforgiving she could be.

This book, also, reminds readers how awful women were treated. It didn't matter if you were noble-born or peasant-born. Each woman felt her own kind of helplessness. Young, noble girls were basically sold to the highest bidder inexchange for wealth and power. Sometimes a young lady would be married as young as four years old. The child would be taken from her mother's care and live with her new husband's family. There was much abuse during those times. Lady Cecylee fought against marrying her daughters off at such a tender age. She didn't always succeed. Ms. Haggard gave us an idea how brutal life could be for a woman in 1400s.

It's nice to see another strong woman during that time. I loved all the references to Eleanor of Aquitaine who happens to be my favorite historical figure. I liked that Lady Cecylee fashioned herself after Eleanor. However, Lady Cecylee was far from perfect. She was supposedly responsible for some truly horrific things. But she seemed, in the end, to be sorry. I don't think she would have changed a thing if she had to do it all over again.

The Thwarted Queen is a wonderful book. I highly recommend it for any historical fiction fan. It is an interesting take of the reigns of Edward IV and Richard III.

About the Author
Born and raised in Surrey, England, CYNTHIA SALLY HAGGARD has lived in the United States for twenty-nine years. She has had four careers: violinist, cognitive scientist, medical writer and novelist. Why does she write historical novels? Because she has been reading them with great enjoyment since she was a child. Because she has a great imagination and a love of history that won't go away. And because she has an annoying tendency to remember trivial details of the past and to treat long-dead people as if they were more real than those around her.

Cynthia's biggest influence was her grandmother, Stephanie Treffry, who had a natural story-telling ability. As a widow in 1970s Britain, Grandma Stephanie didn't drive a car, so would spend time waiting for buses. Her stories were about various encounters she had at those bus-stops. Nothing extraordinary, except that she made them so funny, everyone was in fits of laughter. A born entertainer, Cynthia tries to emulate her when she writes her novels.

In case you were wondering, she is related to H. Rider Haggard, the author of SHE and KING SOLOMONS'S MINES. (H. Rider Haggard was a younger brother of her great-grandfather.) Cynthia Sally Haggard is a member of the Historical Novel Society. You can visit her website at


Monday, February 11
Review at Griperang’s Bookmarks
Review & Giveaway at Luxury Reading

Tuesday, February 12
Review at The Book Garden

Wednesday, February 13
Review & Giveaway at Peeking Between the Pages

Thursday, February 14
Review at Flashlight Commentary

Friday, February 15
Review at Ageless Pages Reviews
Guest Post at Flashlight Commentary

Monday, February 18
Review at The Lit Bitch
Review & Giveaway at Confessions of an Avid Reader

Tuesday, February 19
Interview & Giveaway at The Lit Bitch

Wednesday, February 20
Review at A Book Geek

Thursday, February 21Review at Psychotic State Book Reviews
Feature & Giveaway at The Maiden’s Court

Friday, February 22
Review & Giveaway at A Bookish Affair

Monday, February 25
Review at Oh, for the Hook of a Book!

Tuesday, February 26
Review at Kinx’s Book Nook
Interview & Giveaway at Oh, for the Hook of a Book!

Wednesday, February 27
Review at A Chick Who Reads

Thursday, February 28
Author Guest Post at A Chick Who Reads

Friday, March 1
Review at Sharon’s Garden of Book Reviews


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