Faithful Traitor: The Story of Margaret Pole (Plantagenet Embers Book 2) Kindle Edition
|Length: 386 pages||Word Wise: Enabled||Enhanced Typesetting: Enabled|
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Top Customer Reviews
An important dimension, in my estimation is how she looks back at her life trying to make sense of events, and her own, as well as God's, participation in it. I am a similar age and think that is a very astute angle for the writer to have pursued.
In that same type of thought, how Margaret's relationship is with her children made me think in context my own four, each one having a unique place in the family. The difference, of course is her ingrained view of what it means to be a peer of them realm, and related to the King and his parents.This family had a long and convoluted history of attacking their cousins and anyone who threatened them.
How different might Margaret's life had been if her mother had lived, had her father not been executed by his brother and had Richard Pole who had stabilized her life not died? The events of her childhood alone were horribly traumatic and left little room for coping skills.
God and her Catholic faith were indeed what she depended on, as did her quite religious children, or at least some of them
A very fine treatment of a family matriarch who was both progenitor and descendant of the ruling class of this era. 5 Stars ~ I am off to the Elizabeth of York book by Samantha Wilcoxson to take to the beach with me..
As with its predecessor, this novel tells the story of a high-born Plantagenet woman who has outlived the fortunes of her dynasty, but where the first novel followed a princess made queen by blood and fate, this book studies the life of an unwilling Plantagenet rival to the Tudor monarchs.
Margaret Pole was a figure well-placed by history to observe the transition from the Plantagenet era to the Tudor age and Wilcoxson has seized upon the opportunity. Margaret is observant about the change in the wind and quick to understand the danger her own blood poses to herself and her descendents. With most of the male Plantagenet challengers to the Tudor throne dead, imprisoned, bought off or openly showing their true colours against the new regime, the loyalty of the high-blooded Margaret is important to the Tudor kings both for its own sake and in order to help keep Plantagenet sympathizers in check. Margaret is highly-prized at the Tudor court, becoming a confidante of Tudor queens and rising so high in favour that she even becomes a guardian to precious Tudor heirs.
But Margaret never forgets she is charting a course in dangerous waters. The kingdom is still traumatized by the bloody dynastic conflict we remember today as the Wars of the Roses. She lives in an unstable age when not only regimes change but even the faith of the country is in flux. A woman in Margaret's position stands on even shakier ground. Any misstep--a suspicious marriage alliance or an unfashionable religious observance--could prove fatal to her or her children. As the years pass and friends pass away or fall victim to changing fortunes, Margaret and her family face growing danger from a powerful and increasingly erratic Tudor king and not all of her family members are as discreet and wary as Margaret herself.
While Samantha Wilcoxson's novel follows the trials of a highborn family, she presents her characters in a manner that is highly relatable to the modern reader. Margaret has to keep a weather eye open forthe perils of politics, but she's just as watchful over the health and care of her children or the management of her estates and Wilcoxson interweaves Margaret's worries and concerns into the narrative in a manner that makes the character more genuine. This is a real, living, breathing woman from child to mother as familiar to us today as at any time in history, but the author never turns her into an anachronism: Margaret is also firmly entrenched in the political, spiritual and material concerns and attitudes of her own age.
This biographical novel doesn't carry the reader to battlefields or through the byzantine labyrinths of court politics, nor does it drag its main antagonists down into scandal. It's not a thriller, but it has a suspense of its own as you begin to invest yourself in the lives of Margaret and her family and you find yourself growing increasingly concerned for what will befall them next and what resourcefulness and cunning they will find in themselves to secure their own survival. When the worst happens, Margaret herself has a lifetime of understanding and intelligence to draw upon and she faces down her circumstances with incredible and satisfying bravery. Despite some grim events, this is a life-affirming story about courage, faith and family values in times of trial and as such it has a timeless quality.
Samantha Wilcoxson is adept at opening up the hearts of the characters for her readers and I am looking forward to seeing what she does in her next novel where she has set herself another challenge: to humanize the often-feared royal figure of Mary I.
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