Miss Jarman, a new and commanding talent among those who brave the tangle of medieval England's royalty, reconstituted the...

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THE KING'S GREY MARE

Miss Jarman, a new and commanding talent among those who brave the tangle of medieval England's royalty, reconstituted the maligned Richard III in We Speak Not Treason (1971); here she takes on the much more complex and shadowy career of Elizabeth Woodville, Queen of Edward IV -- usually limned as witch or martyr. She was, after all, daughter of Jacquetta Woodville reputed to have dabbled in pagan rites and she was also the mother of the two doomed princes murdered in the Tower. But in following Elizabeth through four reigns (Henry VI, Edward IV, Richard III and Henry VII), all violent and shaky except the last, that of the tenacious Tudor, the author convincingly carries the beautiful, impressionable but willful young lady-in-waiting through to the frenzied end game she loses to Henry VII as an embittered, exiled mother-in-law. A hint of evil magic, a blood feud with Warwick the Kingmaker, the loss of one loved husband, one royal spouse wed for power, and sons, relatives and position -- all contributed to a passionate and cruel life in which Elizabeth was as often persecutor as victim. A gentle subplot -- the love of the illegitimate children of Edward and Richard respectively -- is an antiphonal commentary to Elizabeth's story. And there's something new for amateur Richard-watchers -- Henry Tudor did in the Princes (Richard had spirited them to safety). Thus in scholarship Miss Jarman's as giddy as a wench behind the arras, but the tale's the thing -- big, blowsy and headlong, with aromatic period atmosphere and dialogue with that reminiscent ring: ""We are,"" proclaims Queen Margaret, ""fast on England.

Pub Date: July 31, 1973

ISBN: 0752445634

Page Count: -

Publisher: Little, Brown

Review Posted Online: N/A

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 1, 1973