Wednesday, January 28, 2009

Henry and Elizabeth and Elizabeth

I have just finished reading "To Hold the Crown", a reissued work of Jean Plaidy. It chronicles the reign of Henry VII in rather direct and unsophisticated style. Plaidy is of the opinion that Henry killed the Princes in the Tower, and was plagued by the fear of this "secret" coming out to threaten his hold on the monarchy. Elizabeth of York is portrayed as almost too good to be true, the purely submissive and comforting wife. Elizabeth Woodville is caught up in a power struggle with her son-in-law's mother, Margaret Beaufort.

A good part of the novel concerns Henry, initially Duke of York, then Prince of Wales, then King. His character is well developed, though I don't think Plaidy does justice to Henry VII as his depiction is rather flat, almost that of a villain. My personal view of him is much brighter. The novel covers a lot of ground, and reads pleasantly smoothly. I don't agree with a few of the characterizations, but this is a good start in reading fiction of the period.