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THWARTED QUEEN [Kindle Edition]

Cynthia Sally Haggard
3.9 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (62 customer reviews)

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Book Description

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.

Editorial Reviews


"...Descriptions of Henry's descent into madness are particularly striking, as are the myriad relationships and duplicities that shaped the era, ultimately causing the war, which unfold intimately as Haggard couples fact with the affecting personal details..." Kirkus Review.
"Thwarted Queen: A Saga About the Yorks, Lancasters and Nevilles, Whose Family Feud Started the Wars of the Roses is historical fiction at its best, an account which takes the real-world stories of a woman trapped by power and her husband, a Royal duke, who faces  down his political opponents, and melds their lives into an exciting fictional drama." Diane DonovanMidwest Book Review.
"THWARTED QUEEN is extremely interesting and cleverly written-I was completely enthralled!" Lucy Bertoldi, Historical Novel Society.
"Gripping, well-researched historical novel, revealing a violent age. Cecylee and the other characters are well-drawn, with great subtlety and depth." Lindsay Townsend, author of TO TOUCH THE KNIGHT.  
"The author immerses the reader in a complex and vivid world that is depicted with persuasive confidence." Curtis Sittenfeld, author of AMERICAN WIFE.

"For a novel that clocks in at nearly 500 pages, THWARTED QUEEN was a surprisingly fast and easy read. Once Cecylee got her foot in the door, she was impossible to ignore." Ageless Pages.
"THWARTED QUEEN is a wonderful book. It is an interesting take of the reigns of Edward IV and Richard III." Kinx's Book Nook.
"I highly recommend this book as a well-written, fast moving tale that will keep readers captivated to the very end." Sharon's Garden of Books.
"This book will delight fans of the era and hopefully inspire a few new fans!" The Lit Bitch.

From the Author

Many readers may wonder how I came to choose the name Cecylee.  

Not wanting to get caught up in the Cecily/Cicely controversy, I thought it would be interesting to see how Cecylee herself spelt her name.  
Her will is in the public domain, and it seems that she signed it Cecylee.  However, her handwriting is extremely difficult to read - it looks like the signature of someone who does not write much - so it is possible that she actually spelled her name Cecylle.  
In the fifteenth century spelling varied widely and great ladies like Cecylee usually dictated their letters and papers to scribes who came from different regions of the country and spelled things differently.  
According to the Richard III society, Cecylee in her lifetime was addressed as Cecill, Cecille, Cecyll but the most usual form of the name was Cecylee. And so I went with that version of the name, knowing that it would be easy for English-speaking readers to figure out how to pronounce it. (It is pronounced in the exact same way as the more modern spelling of the name, Cecily.) 
If I had been writing for French readers, I probably would have called her Cecylle, because that is closer to the French version of the name Cécile.  

It was an honor as well as great fun to have Cecylee materialize from the fifteenth century and talk to me about her life.  I hope you enjoy reading this novel as much as I enjoyed writing it.

Cynthia Sally Haggard
Washington D. C., 2011.

Product Details

  • File Size: 811 KB
  • Print Length: 500 pages
  • Page Numbers Source ISBN: 148015539X
  • Publisher: Spun Stories Press; 1 edition (October 18, 2011)
  • Sold by: Amazon Digital Services, Inc.
  • Language: English
  • ASIN: B005X0VNBM
  • Text-to-Speech: Enabled
  • X-Ray:
  • Lending: Enabled
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #21,953 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)
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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
19 of 19 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars 3.5 Stars May 17, 2012
Format:Kindle Edition
The detailed summary of the book gives you a fair idea about the plot. So instead of repeating it, let me just tell you all about my thoughts on the book.

When I realized that the book is based on an actual character from history, I immediately checked out "Cecily Neville, Duchess of York" on Wikipedia so that I had a basic idea about what was being narrated.

The story is narrated by Cecylle - our leading lady. I found her to be very spirited, intuitive and a character of strength. While in reality King Edward IV was accused of illegitimacy that was never actually proved, in this novel the author clearly indicated that Cecylle in fact had an extramarital affair with a handsome archer and that Edward IV was illegitimate. However, Richard accepted Edward as his son. Overall, I find her life quite sad as she paid for her mistakes very dearly and managed to outlive her husband and all of her sons.

Though at times I found the story to be a bit dragging - which could be because I don't like to read about war, I'd rather watch them on screen - it is actually pretty engrossing for most parts. It is all about the `drama' of a noble family, their relationships, their feud over the throne and a lot of violence. The relationships portrayed are often complex and the author has done a marvelous job with them. That is the best part of the book - the character development and the relationships portrayed. There's a certain charm in the author's writing style that makes you feel right at home even in a completely different century!

I must also acknowledge here that amount of research that has gone into writing this book is amazing. Ms.Cynthia's dedication deserves recognition.
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11 of 11 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Historical fiction at its best January 9, 2012
By Raymond
Format:Kindle Edition
This past Saturday, I picked up the first slim volume of Cynthia Haggard's "Thwarted Queen" series and figured I would read it and the other volumes over the coming week. But by Sunday evening, I had finished the entire saga about the 15th century family feud that Haggard brings to us.

What held my attention so raptly? I love a good, swiftly moving story, and this certainly is one, about the intertwined lives of English royalty just before the Wars of the Roses. We learn about a world that is moved by forces distinct from, yet closely related to, those that move our world today: leaders of nations mix "the personal" and "the political" in ways that turn out to shape their own lives and the lives of everyone around them in profound -- sometimes violent, sometimes thoughtful and loving -- ways.

This is historical fiction that seeks to give an accurate account of the murderous feud between York, Lancaster, and Neville families. The era is seen mainly through the eyes of Cecylee Neville, Duchess of York, whose life and times the author has carefully researched. The book is all the more interesting because it teaches us about the actual history of people and events at the beginning of what we call today "the modern world." (Readers will appreciate Haggard's extensive notes about the challenges she faced in getting the historical facts right in the story she tells.)

But there's one additional reason why I couldn't put this book down. It's so well written! The form of this historical recounting approaches poetry, filled with metaphorically laden language that conveys the story in a moving way.
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8 of 9 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Twarted Queen May 18, 2013
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
I realy liked the book, when I ordered it I saw that there where 3 more books listed in the series, not knowing that they where the same books already includet in book one, so i was a little disappointed because nowhere did it say that.
I would recommend the book to friends, but have to warn them not to buy books 2-3 and 4 since they are already part of book one ,"Twarted Queen.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Good plot, but..... March 12, 2013
By medelle
Format:Kindle Edition
I rather enjoyed this book, but I found that it had a few issues I had trouble getting past.

The first is that the book switches back and forth at points between first person present, to third person past and finally to first person past. The author explains the reasoning for this choice in the epiloge, and while I understand the reasoning, I still found it to be jarring.

I found the characterization to be inconsistent. Some of the characters were very well written and I found myself sympathizing with them. Richard III for example, came off as complex and misunderstood rather than the version that has been passed down throughout history. On the other hand, Edward IV, who was the subject of a major plot element, dissapears for more than half the book, and comes across as very one dimensional for the parts he does appear in. There is no insight into his inner workings or his motivations. Considering his role in the plot, I felt this should have been explored more.

All these issues might have been overlooked but for one thing: it seemed that the author wasn't sure as to whether she was writing a fictionalized account of the events, or a history book. She makes reference to future events as current events are happening. The characters would have no knowledge at that point of things to come. Also, there is quite a bit of narrative exposition. i.e. The author tells us about the events that are happening rather than shows us the events that are happening.

Overall, I did enjoy the plot of this book, but found the writing style distracting which in turn, made the book more difficult to finish.
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars Great book
This brings a lot to the history of this time period. I enjoyed this book and it's historical details. I would recommend it.
Published 3 days ago by KM
4.0 out of 5 stars Good
Like others, I take great delight in educating myself on what happened before the war of the roses, and I feel enriched for what I read.
Published 4 days ago by enaylor
4.0 out of 5 stars A much enjoyed history.
I gave this historical novel four stars because it was written in such an intimate style. I like the feeling of being a fly on the wall and a ear to the dirty political deals spun... Read more
Published 8 days ago by Sue Brewer
3.0 out of 5 stars Interesting read
While not as robust as some of my favorite historically based novels, still a fun diversion. Seems like the later years(with the most basis in fact) were glossed over rather than... Read more
Published 22 days ago by Leah
4.0 out of 5 stars Great historical read!
Thwarted Queen by Cynthia Haggard is a novel that encompasses the life of Cecylee (Cecily) Neville. I have read a couple of books about Cecily and what I find most interesting is... Read more
Published 1 month ago by Darlene
3.0 out of 5 stars ThwArted Queen
Since this is a work of fiction, that is how I approached reading the book. I did not read the book expecting historical accuracy. I read the book for entertainment. Read more
Published 1 month ago by Jolene Wipf
5.0 out of 5 stars I'm telling everyone to read this book
If you have any interest in the Plantagenets, the Yorks, the Tudors, oh, yes, get this book. It is, in my opinion, a primo medieval novel. Read more
Published 1 month ago by Carol Kohler
4.0 out of 5 stars Historial English fiction of dark ages
Enjoyed this book, fast read, but it wasn't clear from Amazon that I only needed to purchase Thwarted Queen to have the entire story. Read more
Published 2 months ago by Diane Shearer
1.0 out of 5 stars boring
This novel could have had a good story line but was too long and drawn out. Too many det6ails that were not required.
Published 3 months ago by harvest
3.0 out of 5 stars Cecylee Neville, the woman who should have been Queen
First to clear up some confusion - at least it confused me. Thwarted Queen is available as one continuous story by that name or in segments as follows: The Bride Price (Thwarted... Read more
Published 3 months ago by Carpe Librum
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More About the Author

Born and raised in Surrey, England, CYNTHIA SALLY HAGGARD has lived in the United States for thirty 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

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