This is the story of two women, years apart suffering in love and captured by a mystery that still remains unsolved to this day.
Kate is the illegitimate daughter of Richard. Upon birth she is taken into the care of her father and step mother and never knows growing up with her mother. Richard is a powerful man and has a reputation to uphold. Others do not think the same and he has to face the ultimate challenge. Kate is in awe of her father and does not want to admit he has committed any murders but there is evidence to suggest otherwise and everyone else has their own very differing opinion. Even her own marriage becomes a cause of some heartache. Not only is her marriage not a love match but one of possessions and lands, her husband was chosen for her, her true love moved miles North away from her. Allegiances are formed and changed very quickly when Richard dies and suddenly Kate is the daughter of a usurper and a murderer?
Katherine is the younger sister of an infamous woman whose death pushes her now into the limelight. Falling in love with a man whose family is happy for them to marry but until one politic issue is sorted out they cannot consummate the marriage. Secret meetings are convened and interrupted and in her new home she discovers the portrait of a lady in blue, beautiful with a necklace, her name is Kate. Katherine feels some sort of other worldly affinity with this unknown lady and upon the discovery of some hidden notes a murder mystery unfolds for Katherine. Events turn and as Katherine falls in and out of favour with senior family members her marriage is declare annulled and Katherine has to start again. Her second love Ned results in a consummation and a male heir, but where is the proof of their marriage? Now there is more danger for Katherine and the safest place for her and for her warring family is locked away from everyone else. The ghosts of the pasts are now haunting her and asking her something, can Katherine solve the mystery.
Kate is Katherine Plantagenet daughter of Richard III. Katherine is Katherine Grey, sister of Lady Jane Grey, the Queen who reigned for nine days. The murder mystery – the two young princes (Edward V and his brother Duke of York ) who have become synonymously known as the Princes in the Tower.
This is their story which sits apart and weaves together, as Alison Weir takes us between their lives, their family disputes, war and religion and their love lives. I did have to keep referring back to the family trees at the front of the book and the similar names do cause some confusion, obviously not something that can be altered by the author without losing all meaning. After a while though you begin to relate the names and characters to the different eras and suddenly there is no need for reference.
This did take a long time to read from when I got it back in April and got my lovely hardback copied signed by the author. I think because it is so cumbersome to be carting about it, the book did remain sat on my bedside table more than it should have done. For that I feel guilty. This is only the second Alison Weir novel I have read, the first being Innocent Traitor and it always reminds me of how much I love history, (that is why I took it to degree) and especially Tudor history.
This book took me to another part of history that I had not really considered or covered, Richard III and The Princes of the Tower. My only image of the princes is the tableaux in Madame Tussauds. Now my interest is piqued and I want to know more about then, and also about the time and the other characters such as Richard et al.
I have Phillipa Gregory’s latest novels which are based at the same time as this one but I am reluctant at the moment to pick them up as I feel I would suddenly reach saturation point and get completely confused with all the history. However knowing they are there ready to read is great and I hope to get to them some time soon.
Also to read is Jospehine Tey’s The Daughter of Time which features Richard III and was mentioned by Alison Weir in her talk.