Reviewed by Erin McKibbin
At the close of the Hundred Year War arose one of history’s greatest love stories: the story of Duke Richard Plantagenet and Duchess Cecily Neville. Matched as childhood friends, Cecily and “Dickon” grew up together, fell in love, and founded a royal line whose descendants sit on the English throne today.
Richard Plantagenet, the son of an executed traitor, had a greater claim to the throne than King Henry himself. And yet, his highest ambition was to serve his king with dignity. Cecily Neville, “the Rose of Raby,” was the youngest (and most favored) child of the very powerful Earl Ralph Neville of Westmorland and her only desire was to see her husband succeed in all he could be. Despite their marriage being arranged, they ended up being one of the few nobles of the time to have had a “true love match.”
Like most love stories, Cecily and Richard’s love and lives were fraught with peril and tragedy. Shortly after they were wed, they were pulled into France where the fate of Jeane d’Arc (the French peasant who wore men’s clothes and led the French army against England) unhinged Cecily who saw too much of herself in this martyr. Jeane’s execution caused Cecily to violently miscarry her first child, nearly leaving her barren and the Plantagenet line without an heir. It was Richard’s love, her female support network, and Cecily’s rock solid faith in the Blessed Virgin that healed her wounds and allowed her to give birth to 13 children. She lived long enough to witness her own offspring being crowned.
Queen By Right is a riveting tale about medieval feminism, devout faith, and undying love. Anne Easter Smith demonstrates her very thorough research skills by bringing the story of these dynamic characters to life. Through Smith’s eyes, we get a fresh perspective on the Plantagenet line, the end of the Hundred Year War, and the beginning of the line of Tudors.
Erin fell in love with the written word as a small child and subsequently spent most of her life happily devouring literature. She works as a freelance news, marketing, and technical writer as well as a full-time researcher/investigator in the sign industry. Erin lives just outside of Cleveland, Ohio enjoying the beauty of life with her children and grandchildren.
Review copy was provided free of any obligation by Touchstone. No monetary or any other form of compensation was received.