Read Queen By Right by Anne Easter Smith Online


From the award-winning author of A Rose for the Crown, Daughter of York, and The King's Grace comes another masterful historical novel—the story of Cecily of York, mother of two kings and the heroine of one of history's greatest love stories.Anne Easter Smith's novels are beloved by readers for their ability "to grab you, sweep you along with the story, and make you fall iFrom the award-winning author of A Rose for the Crown, Daughter of York, and The King's Grace comes another masterful historical novel—the story of Cecily of York, mother of two kings and the heroine of one of history's greatest love stories.Anne Easter Smith's novels are beloved by readers for their ability "to grab you, sweep you along with the story, and make you fall in love with the characters." In Cecily Neville, duchess of York and ancestor of every English monarch to the present day, she has found her most engrossing character yet.History remembers Cecily of York standing on the steps of the Market Cross at Ludlow, facing an attacking army while holding the hands of her two young sons. Queen by Right reveals how she came to step into her destiny, beginning with her marriage to Richard, duke of York, whom she meets when she is nine and he is thirteen. Raised together in her father's household, they become a true love match and together face personal tragedies, pivotal events of history, and deadly political intrigue. All of England knows that Richard has a clear claim to the throne, and when King Henry VI becomes unfit to rule, Cecily must put aside her hopes and fears and help her husband decide what is right for their family and their country. Queen by Right marks Anne Easter Smith's greatest achievement, a book that every fan of sweeping, exquisitely detailed historical fiction will devour....

Title : Queen By Right
Author :
Rating :
ISBN : 9781416550471
Format Type : Paperback
Number of Pages : 494 Pages
Status : Available For Download
Last checked : 21 Minutes ago!

Queen By Right Reviews

  • Jemidar
    2019-02-20 20:20

    I think I may have read a few too many War of the Roses novels because the current crop of books and authors (the notable exception being Susan Higginbotham and her excellent books The Stolen Crown: The Secret Marriage that Forever Changed the Fate of England & The Queen of Last Hopes: The Story of Margaret of Anjou) seem to have a sameness about them and are very formulaic.Stock ingredients for these novels include:*Mary-Sue main character. Doesn't matter what the person was like in real life they are always beautiful, desirable and perfect in every way.*Mary-Sue MC always marries for love, even if it is an arranged marriage for political purposes, and they always have great marital sex.*Mary-Sue MC is always psychic, knowing what is best and what will happen despite more knowledgeable others being unable to see it. You'd think that she had the advantage of hindsight, honestly!*Mary-Sue MC always shivers. A lot. I know it's supposed to be a premonition or some such rubbish, but it drives me nuts and just makes me want to yell "For gods sake woman, put a coat on!"*Mary-Sue MC always has lots of modern sensibilities and is usually a woman who has/wants it all--marriage, great sex, supermum capabilities, great fashion sense (sometimes a couple of centuries ahead of the trends!) and is a pacifist, as well as having a good grasp on modern psychology.*Political unsophistication, York=Good, Lancaster=bad. So if a character is referred to as a witch, is arrogant or selfish, beats his wife or makes babies/children cry when the approach them, you know they are Lancastrian.*Tedious info dumps.*Poor research leading to historical errors and anachronisms that throw you out of the story.*And poor editing.This one was no different to the rest, and included all of the above and it makes me wonder why the authors pick such interesting historical women to write about and then turn them into the equivalent of a Medieval Barbie doll.I was interested in reading this book because it was about Cecily Neville and as I had mostly enjoyed some of Anne Easter Smith's previous novels I had reasonable expectations for this one. Needless to say I was disappointed, but worse than that I was bored, and boring for 500 odd pages is pretty punishing. It delivered no real information about the real Cecily and left off her life just when it could've got interesting. I mean, how does a pious woman react when her youngest son accuses her of adultery so he can bastardize his brother's children (her grandchildren) and seize the throne from them? I would've love to have seen Easter Smith's Mary-Sue Cecily handle that, along with the execution of one of her sons by another of her sons. But alas Easter Smith didn't want to deal with the real difficulties of the real Cecily's life so we are non the wiser.You may like this book if you are looking for a shallow historical romance, and are not worried too much about the details, historical or otherwise. But be warned, if you are looking for interesting and meaty historical fiction you won't find it here, it is far too silly and fluffy to be taken seriously.

  • Samantha
    2019-01-23 19:09

    I love reading about the Plantagenets. From Henry II to Richard III (or even later if we want to include theories about the missing princes), I adore their boldness, ambition, chivalry, and propensity for tragedy. Cecily Neville has always been sort of a background character in everything else that I have read about these last of the Plantagenets, so I found this book interesting from that point of view. There is nowhere near the amount of detail of battles and politics because this story is told from the side of one left at home and not told everything that may upset them or dissolve their confidence. I will take a moment here to agree, to a point, with other reviews that there is a tendency for authors of historical novels like this one to write each noble Englishwoman as beautiful, thin and lithe after 12 children, and "practically perfect in every way" that is present in this novel as well. Cecily and Richard are a love match despite their politically arranged marriage, which makes it all the more crushing to learn of his death, and Cecily has visions supposedly sent to her by the Virgin Mary. While I agree that the amount of witchcraft and psychic powers prevalent lately is something that I could do without (See Lady of the Rivers by Philippa Gregory), Smith does better, in my opinion, of curbing some of these faults. As for it being a fluffy romance novel, I will at least say that we are spared detailed sex scenes that make me cringe when reading them (see Ken Follett's Pillars of the Earth or the often repeated "bed, wife" in PG's White Queen, now there's historical fiction fluff for you).Maybe the lack of detail of what was going on outside Cecily's homestead is what drew me into this novel. I already know enough to fill in the blanks of what she was missing, so I could feel for her as she had no choice but to wait and see if her loved ones returned to her. Since the novel ends with Edward's coronation, there is a huge part of Cecily's life left unrevealed which was a disappointment. I had looked forward to reading Smith's interpretation of Cecily's reaction to Richard's actions after Edward's death. But as the pages of the book grew less and less and we were nowhere near that part of her life, I knew I was going to be disappointed. Of course, that is a sign of a good book that I felt it was too short.My biggest complaint, which seems rather silly, was the overuse of the word "chuckle." Seriously, does anyone ever really say this word? The characters in this book did not laugh, they chuckled, and it drove me crazy. This book did make me think for the first time about the parallels between Eleanor of Aquitaine and Cecily Neville. At the beginning and end of the Plantagenet reign we see strong women who have a dozen children but live so long that they witness the tragedies of most of them and by far outlive their husbands. A sad but proud pair.

  • Rio (Lynne)
    2019-01-28 18:22

    3.5 Stars. My views are conflicting on this book? This is my second Easter Smith book "I loved A Rose for the Crown". In this novel the author tackles Cecily Neville, Duchess of York. I couldn't wait to indulge into Proud Cis' life.....wife of Richard of York and Mother to King's Edward IV and Richard III. AES writes sagas that could very easily be turned into a Sunday Night Movie or mini-series. She is very entertaining. On the negative, she writes very fictitiously and like a Hollywood movie over embellishes the truth to make her stories more exciting. This hurts her novel's credibility. I know this is historical fiction, but when certain things are historically known or documented, I like them to be factual in the book. Many things are accurate in this book, but there is a lot of over the top fiction. If you are looking for romance, this book has that. If you just want to be swept away, this book will do that also. There were parts that I loved and some parts that made me say "Please no, not the Jeanne "Joan" of Arc spirit again!" I recommend this if you like to be entertained, but if you are not into historical fluff, this is not for you.

  • Jennifer
    2019-02-21 22:08

    Over the years I have read many books involving someone from the War of the Roses, but never have I read about Cecily Neville (York). Proud Cis always lurked on the periphery, letting her displeasure of her son's marriage to that Woodeville girl or her disdain of Margaret of Anjou be known. Always very proud and protective of her family, it seemed as though I would never really learn about who Proud Cis was and why, until now. Queen By Right gives us Cecily Neville's story from when she was a little girl and the apple of her father's eye. She met her future husband, Richard of York, through her father's guardianship of the young future Earl. From there, Richard and Cecily became fast friends and then eventually married. History always describes them as a love match and this story shows us why. Richard and Cecily were truly best friends and lovers.The book begins shortly after Richard is killed at Wakefield, and Cecily is remembering her life with Richard. The events that AE Smith chooses to tell bring life to Cecily and Richard. Smith made these two historical characters real for me. We grow with Cecily as she matures into a young woman, desperately trying to control her tongue and manners. We share Cecily's hopes and dreams, and her worries when she believes she may have steered her husband onto a dangerous path. But regardless of the outcome, Cecily will stand by Richard, through thick and thin. And to top it all off, they love each other deeply. Richard and Cecily are a strong powerful couple in a time when families were being torn apart. Smith's story made me feel for both of these strong individuals.This book is definitely from the Yorkist point of view, but that only makes me want to read a book featuring the Lancastrian view. Also, knowing the history of Cecily's children later in life, made me wonder as to what was going through these children's minds as adults. Why would brother turn against brother? Or their family at all? Promises of power do corrupt I guess. This was excellent book about a character I knew very little about. The pages went by quickly and I actually stopped reading it for a while because I didn't want it to end. Therefore, I highly recommend this book.The book also includes an Author's Notes section and a Q&A with AE Smith that is very informative.For more information, please visit Anne's website: again to Historical Fiction Virtual Book Tours for including me in the fun and sending me the review copy.

  • Michelle Feist
    2019-02-17 20:26

    Over the last year I have become a huge fan of historical fiction involving the Wars of the Roses. This is one of about 6 books I have read involving the pivotal historical figures of the time - each book describing the unfolding of historical events through the eyes of important women of the time. I must admit that through the various accounts I have come to favour the Yorks - and Anne Easter Smith does an amazing job of making history come alive in her novels about significant women of the York family. THis is her 4th book about York women. This book is about the matriarch of the York family that was to see two of it's members become king of England (Edward the IV and Richard the III)- Cecily Neville. While many of my previous books had begun their narration shortly before Edward IV became king and continued up until the death of King Richard, this novel focussed on the events that lead up to the conflict between the York and Lancaster factions as told through the eyes of the wife of Richard, Duke of York, who was father to the future kings. It is beautifully told, with rich historical detail, and makes the time period completely come alive for the reader. There is a perfect balance of historical fact mixed with the author's "inference" as to how these events may have been perceived or unfolded in the eyes of key characters. Though I thought I already understood what started the War of the Roses, this book added even more insight into the myriad of events, big and small, that led Richard of York to decide to usurp the crown and claim his right to the throne. It also helped me to see that issues are never really as black and white as we think they are - there is right and wrong in many courses of action that were taken in history. It also gave me an increasing admiration for women of nobility in this period of history, who were mostly pawns and property, and many times had to do their best to use the resources they had to try to protect the interests of themselves and their families. Above all, though, this is a beautiful love story - for Cecily and Richard were known to be very much in love up until his untimely death - a rare thing in a time when marriages were arranged for political and economic purposes. So if you enjoy historical fiction with a bit of romance I would highly recommend this book!

  • RJay
    2019-02-17 15:10

    One of the best things about this book are the geneology trees provided along with a "cast of characters". Even though I'm a John of Gaunt fan - I'm a Yorkist through and through and was thrilled to begin to understand the complexities of the family trees including the 22 children fathered by the Earl of Westmorland. (A little like the Duggers but with two different wives, thank goodness!) With each book I read, the names begin to become real people, so now as I move from book to book, I increasingly understand the mixed loyalties involved during this period of strife and conflict. (John-had you any idea of the mess you caused?)While I didn't like the writing style and it took me almost 3 weeks to finish this book, filling in more details of the period was worth it.For example: Jaquetta Woodville and Cecily knew each other from their years in Rouen and that a "dislike" may have been triggered by their interactions during that time period. How intriguing that the rumors about Edward being illegitimate were possibly caused by a clandistine rendezvous between Cecily and the Duke of York - with the archer in question the escort ordered by her husband! How fate may have played a role when young Edward might have met young Elizabeth during this time - and look what happened so many years later! So, while I didn't care for the style of the writing, I did enjoy having so many family details filled in. In this book both Richard and Cecily were too "perfect" and lovey-dovey in their relationship - which I find extremely hard to believe. Yes, they probably did have one of the few love matches of the time - but I felt this book included too much in the vein of "contemporary romance" for my tastes.

  • Sydney
    2019-01-28 22:22

    Unfortunately... none of Smith's books can hold a flame to her first. And just like with the King's Grace, it was a struggle to get through the last 100-150 pages of Queen by Right. She just doesn't seem to know when to move it a long and end the story and end taints the whole experience of reading her books. But besides the painfully slow ending, I love Proud Cis waaay more than Grace (who is by far, my least favorite of all Anne's women). But again, no one can ever beat Smith's first character, Katherine Haute, who lives in my soul and will reside there forever. Read all my reviews at

  • Sara Giacalone
    2019-02-17 22:18

    (3.5 stars but I didn't like it enough to round up to 4)I agree that this book falls under the grouping "historical fluff", although it was an enjoyable read. While I quite liked Anne Easter Smith's depiction of Cecily Neville, I could have done without all the Jeanne de Arc extras, and a few other loose interpretations. I also agree that I would have liked to hear what Proud 'Cis would have made of Richard's actions after Edward IV's death. I did like this book enough to put more of Ms. Smith's novels on my reading list (if in electronic format).

  • Liz
    2019-02-21 16:22

    Not bad, interesting story. Best for readers who already know the background and familial genealogies of War of the Roses.

  • Jennifer
    2019-02-09 19:25

    I loved this novel. This is Anne Easter Smith's best in my opinion (with 'A Rose for the Crown' being second and 'The King's Grace and 'Daughter of York' both falling short). In Cecily Neville, wife to Richard Duke of York, Ms Smith has created a wonderfully vibrant character; a character that flies off the page and attaches herself to your heartstrings so that you feel every up and down of her roller-coaster story along with her. I get a strong impression that the author spent a lot of time with this character, shaping her in a way that reads as so absolutely human, with strengths and flaws as we all have. I love when authors are able to do this; bring an historical figure to life and show their hopes and aspirations as stemming from the same place that our own come from--the desire to see one's family safe and secure.Throughout the turbulent Wars of the Roses it was not often that Cecily's family could truly feel secure, and therefore it is not surprising why the conflicts increased as they did. Each side felt threatened and felt the need to make a stand, battle soon followed, which of course leads into the seemingly never-ending spiral of revenge: an eye for an eye. Anne Easter Smith showed this brilliantly. Whilst reading this book I learnt a vast amount about this time period. As I read I kept Alison Weir's non-fiction book 'The Wars of the Roses' close at hand so that I could look up names and genealogical tables as I went along. I will say that there are an awful lot of names contained in this book, some that hardly pertain to the main storyline but whom I think the author just wanted to include for the fact that they were a player in the time period. Perhaps this did not add to the story of Cecily and her family, but I still enjoyed their inclusion for I could look them up and find out who they were related to, giving me a better understanding of the family ties that so closely linked the opposing forces of York and Lancaster. It really is a fascinating time period, and this novel definitely helps to bring that to light.One aspect of this novel that I particularly liked was the inclusion of the early years of Cecily's life. As the daughter of Ralph Neville, Earl of Westmorland, and Joan Beaufort, daughter of John of Gaunt, she can in fact be said to have come from the Lancastrian line. An interesting concept considering how she become the wife of the Yorkist claimant to the throne. The early relationship between Cecily and Richard was a very nice inclusion in the novel, as it showed them as a devoted husband and wife team, and not just as a couple who stuck together for mere politics. I became very attached to Cecily and Richard as a couple, and truly it left me with a lump in my throat at the end. Considering I already knew how it was going to end this shows a well-written story. That's why I love historical fiction; I can read history books all day long, but it's when those figures are shown to have been living, breathing people that their story really hits home.

  • Audra (Unabridged Chick)
    2019-02-06 16:20

    When I was growing up, my mom wanted to be a young adult historical novelist but was stymied by history: women were married at a young age or historical costume styles were far racier than we modern folk are comfortable with (her example was something like ancient Egyptian women had their breasts exposed, if I recall correctly). So she never wrote her novel but as a result we both immensely enjoy a historical novelist who wrestles well with historical accuracy and modern reader sentiments.Anne Easter Smith is really astounding at this. Her novel opens with Cicely as a young girl -- six -- and she manages to convey a child having a childhood rather than living as an object being kept to, essentially, later trade. Even if, in this era, the idea of childhood didn't exist, Smith's articulation of what Cecily's young life could have been like put me as a reader both at ease and unease. Time was spent fleshing out the enormous cast of characters and so, as Cecily ages and her life begins to get more and more complicated, the reader is invited to become embroiled in the drama of the times.And talk about dramatic times! In addition to the usual kind of court intrigue one expects of this type of historical novel, Smith inventively incorporates other notable events. Cecily's obsession with Joan of Arc and her trial reminded me of myself and the ways I can get hooked on CNN and other news outlets come some disaster or notorious crime trial. It made for a heroine who felt very real and easy to relate to, someone I could imagine as a friend.At more than 470 pages, this hefty novel allows for detailed exploration of the events in Cecily's life. At times, I confess, I was a little overwhelmed by the amount of people I had to keep track of but Smith tries very hard to make each character memorable if they're significant to the story -- although occasionally I found that made for some flat secondary characters (I found myself often thinking, 'Oh, so this is cranky Anne' more than once.).Readers familiar with the Lancaster/York Wars of the Roses will likely enjoy this thorough novel and those new to this era will get an education. This is the kind of classic historical novel I think of when I enthuse about the genre, one that places the reader square in the time and makes otherwise shadowy historical figures feel compelling and real. Despite whatever small struggles I had keeping track of people, Cecily's story kept me engaged and when I reached the final page (with its satisfying nod to an event from the beginning of the novel), I felt a pang of bittersweet sadness at having to say goodbye to her and her family.

  • Blodeuedd Finland
    2019-02-07 20:07

    If I am gonna be totally honest I never liked the Neville clan, so to read about Cecily was interesting, and I did like her, most of the time.Cecily Neville is in this book quite lucky as her arranged marriage was wonderful and filled with awesome sex. Got lots of babies too (though maybe she should have kept a closer eye on her brother killing babies.) But this book does not deal with that, it deals with her upbringing, her marriage and up to the point when her son Edward is made king.The book is interesting even if I have heard the story so many times before, but still I can't keep track of every Somerset, Beaufort and everyone else. So it does always feel new because of that. Quite the tale and I enjoyed the rich setting.But some things did annoy me. Her obsession with Joanne d'Arc and how Joanne gave her a prophecy. And the biggest issue was how she met Jacquetta Woodwille and disliked her at ones. Jacquetta did not do anything but every time they met Cecily looked down on her with her snotty proud nose. This was put there so that when Edward married Elizabeth Cecily own feelings "prophecy" would ring true, Jacquetta is no good. But the truth was that every time it happened it made me dislike Cecily, she was such a bitch and it always took pages for me to get over it. And she thought something about high airs too, but if J really would have wanted to be high up then wouldn't she have gone for something better than Woodille? But in this book Cecily has her feelings and yup, bitchy. She distrusted the queen's kindness in the beginning too cos of Jacquetta. I can go on and on. Cecily was called proud Cis and cos of those things that sure made me see it, even though the reader was not supposed to see it like that. We were surely supposed to see that aha Woodwilles = evil scheming lot. just lile every Lancastrian in this book were bad, you know babykilling bad and Yorkists are Gods. Not that I mean, I am a bit of a a point in the war.Sheesh, how I went on! But it just annoyed me every time. Still it lasted only for a few pages and then I could enjoy the book again.A nice historical, recommended to fans of the era.

  • Sarah Beth
    2019-02-13 18:23

    I loved Smith's first three novels so was really excited to see she had published a fourth book. Smith spends extensive time researching her subjects before writing about them and Queen By Right is no different. One of my favorite aspects of Smith's novels is that characters from other novels appear as minor characters in others. For example, Margaret, Cecily's daughter, was the main character of Daughter of York. I was particularly interested in learning more about Cecily, the Duchess of York, because I've read several novels about her son, King Edward, and his wife Elizabeth Woodville. Cecily was fortunate to find love in an arranged marriage and seemed very happy with her husband Richard, with whom she had a very large family. While I enjoyed this novel, it was not my favorite novel from Smith. I think the picture this novel painted of Cecily was a little too rosy. She seemed a little too perfect, and her relationship with her seemingly perfect husband was just too over the top to be believable. Additionally, I was disappointed the novel concluded when it did. After her son gained the throne, I know that Cecily lived in near seclusion, but she still had to face accusation that her son was a bastard and view turmoil within his reign. Seeing that Cecily lived a long life into her 80s, I was disappointed the novel concluded when she was in her late 40s. I would have enjoyed it more if the flashbacks incorporated throughout had come from an elderly Cecily rather than a middle aged one. But that being said, the novel was already nearly 500 pages and I'm sure Smith felt it prudent to conclude before it got too long. As a huge historical fiction fan, I'm eagerly anticipating more from Anne Easter Smith. I enjoy her historically rich and detailed writing style, and her choice to focus on historical figures other writers pass over.

  • Sasha (whispersofthesilentwind)
    2019-02-06 18:17

    3.5 stars I've read some of goodreads reviews that reflect my sentiments towards this book. "*Mary-Sue main character. Doesn't matter what the person was like in real life they are always beautiful, desirable and perfect in every way.*Mary-Sue MC always marries for love, even if it is an arranged marriage for political purposes, and they always have great marital sex.*Political unsophistication, York=Good, Lancaster=bad. So if a character is referred to as a witch, is arrogant or selfish, beats his wife or makes babies/children cry when the approach them, you know they are Lancastrian." - ReviewDon't get me wrong I agree with all that is stated above BUT I also really enjoyed learning more about Cecily and her family. I usually don't read books about her or people around before/with her. I usually read about her son Edward IV on down. Every time Joan of Arc was mentioned was a time that I wanted hurry past. I didn't appreciate how it was crammed down our throats. I'm not sure if all the historical facts in here are truth, after all this is historical fiction. But I would hope that Smith would at least get the facts, that we know to be truth, truth. I would have liked to see to see how Smith would have depicted Cecily past Edward IV coronation. When her own son accused her of adultery. When her own son runs over his brother's family to the throne. These would have been interesting moments to glimpse.

  • Sarah
    2019-01-23 21:10

    From the political maneuverings of royals and nobles to the intimate details of apparel, the research put into this epic novel shined through. There are a ton of historical figures featured in this novel, some written very closely to the historical record and some with a bit of writer’s license used. I loved seeing all the pieces of the chess match that was 15th century politics move into place and being introduced to all the leading figures of the upcoming War of the Roses.For the most part, I enjoyed the characters and historical figures presented. Many were very three-dimensional and made me root for them, no matter which side of the struggle they fell on. Yet, I felt that sometimes the main character of Cecily got to be a bit too perfect. Most of the time she was your typical mythical noble lady of the day: beautiful, attractive to every man she met, courageous, pious, and intelligent. The list goes on. She did show the occasional lack of maternal love and a stubborn arrogance that gave her the nickname “Proud Cis”. But, those times were few and far between.I’d say overall that this book is a pretty solid War of the Roses novel. It definitely gets into the nitty-gritty of how that war started and the powerful figures in the background of that massive struggle. Characters are mostly solid, but the main character of Cecily does slide into the “too perfect” rang far too often to be completely enjoyable. Still, give this work a look if you enjoy the time period.

  • Christy B
    2019-02-13 19:21

    It was nice to read a book set during the War of the Roses, which is an era I'm not well read in. I learned – from the York perspective – much about the events and people surrounding the conflict while reading Queen by Right. The novel is shown in the point of view of Cecily Neville, the wife of Richard Plantagenet, 3rd Duke of York and mother of Edward IV and Richard III. We see her as a child and then through the years, all the way up to the crowning of Edward IV. I loved the child Cecily, she was very spirited and often spoke her mind – while getting punished for it later. As she grew up, she lost a bit of that, but in it's place she became tough and fearless, earning the nickname 'Proud Cis'. Since the book was from the point of view of a woman in those times, there was a lot of 'telling' instead of 'showing' of the major events throughout the conflict. However, there were some powerful scenes, such as Cecily meeting Joan of Arc while she was imprisoned – I quite liked how Joan of Arc was incorporated into the story, although there's no proof that the two ever met. The other scene that struck me was the scene at Ludlow, as Cecily held the hands of her sons George and Richard while staring down an army. This, we know, actually happened, and the way it was written in Queen by Right was very gripping. Queen by Right was a chunkster, and took a bit for me to get through, but at the end, I felt rewarded. A good historical fiction novel.

  • TAS
    2019-01-27 15:14

    The story of the ancestress of five centuries of English monarchs, QUEEN BY RIGHT tells the story of Cecily Neville over a period of 40 years. An outspoken woman for her time, with a razor sharp intellect, she lived at the center of history making events in the 1400s.This book satisfies on so many levels:• The deeply romantic love match between Cecily and her husband, Richard of York, beginning from their meeting as children.• Insights into the medical care available to someone through 14(!) pregnancies.• Best of all, understanding how the arranged marriages among England's nobles led to shifting loyalties in the decades leading up to the start of The War of The Roses.While I read a lot of history fiction, this is the first book that gave me an appreciation of how much family relationships impacted politics at this time. For example - What happens when your sister believes your own husband is guilty of treason?What is it like when your uncle becomes your mortal enemy?What if your own daughter marries someone on the "other side?"I loved discovering how Anne Easter Smith uses the private details of her characters' lives and ambitions to tell the political story of this fascinating era in English history. And I now understand the events that led to the beginning of the "Cousins War." This is a thoughtfully presented and well-researched novel.

  • Jennifer
    2019-01-27 23:25

    I wanted to love this book, I really did. It sounded very promising when I read that Anne Easter Smith was first moved to write about Cecily after discovering her in Penman's The Sunne in Splendour. That in itself assured me that we wouldn't be subjected to another silly (and ancient) characterization of Cecily, such as the one recently portrayed in The White Queen. And while it was obvious that the author did her research, including a wide range of medieval vocabulary which I double checked in my medieval dictionary, there was still something lacking. As previous reviews have stated, there seems to be this expectation in historical fiction that the main character (female) has to be extraordinarily beautiful, happily married, and brought to thrilling climaxes every time she lies with her husband. I don't understand the need for this, as it makes the characters more fictitious than historical. That being said, she did include some marital fights which I am certain happened, as there were several moments of instability during Cecily's marriage to the Duke of York.However, if you are intrigued by Cecily, and are looking for some very fluffy moments with the York children (little Dickon, bless), it makes for an entertaining and sometimes moving read. Also George acting like a little s**t as a child made me chuckle knowing what he would turn out to be.

  • May
    2019-02-11 17:10

    The book covers one of my favorite periods (England in the Middle Ages) and one of the most fascinating people, Cecily Neville, wife of Richard, Duke of York, and mother of Edward IV and Richard III . I was predisposed to like the book, and I did, but it didn't draw me into its depths the way I was hoping and expecting. The book is well-researched and accurate. (I expect historical fiction authors to fill in the gaps of history, as it were, but I don't expect or want them to rewrite it. That's called alternative history.) But the writing itself, while good, isn't great, and the characters aren't as fleshed out as I had hoped they would be. Cecily Neville is a fascinating and complex character, with intelligence and force of will. The Cecily Neville in this book has less depth of character than I visualize her to be.That being said, it's a very readable book about a fascinating woman and a fascinating period in English history.

  • Jill Lapin-Zell
    2019-02-05 18:07

    Overall, this is a mesmerizing and captivating story. Being a fan of Anne Easter Smith's, I could not wait to read this one after reading all her other books as they were published. She has a keen knack for developing characterizations and bringing historical figures to life, making them tangible and relatable. Moreover, her novels are always meticulously researched, which is why I was quite surprised to find one very glaring and uncharacteristic error in historical accuracy. Cecily's son, Richard III, was born at Fotheringhay Castle, but in this novel, it is said that Richard III was born at Ludlow. This error is even more surprising, because being a fan of Smith's, I know quite well that she is a avid Richardian. So I'm baffled as to this oversight. Nonetheless, an otherwise well-executed novel and an enjoyable read for historical fiction fans.

  • Hannah
    2019-02-03 15:24

    This book will always get a five star review from me, no matter how many times I have read it. This book has helped make me the person I am today.Cecily, though no one really knows what she was like, is the woman I strive to be. I so admire how she was an independent woman in a time when that just wasn’t heard of, I admire her love for her husband and children along with the support she shows for them, I admire her cleverness and wittiness that she had to have to be a duchess. So many emotions take place inside of me when I read this story. There are butterflies at all the scenes between Cecily and Richard. There are feelings of pride for when the York household does well, and there is a sense of agonizing grief within the last one hundred pages. This grief, though I know what is coming, is what takes me so long to finish this excellent book!

  • Jenny Q
    2019-02-11 22:15

    I have long been fascinated by the period in England's history known as the War of the Roses, but I am very choosy when reading about it because one of the best books I've ever read is Sharon Kay Penman's The Sunne in Splendour, and other books tend to pale in comparison. (And as a Yorkist, I don't like anything that skews Lancaster!) But I am not aware that any other historical fiction novel is devoted to Cecily Neville, and I say it's about time she finally got one!Read the full review, check out my interview with the author, and enter to win a copy of Queen by Right at Let Them Read Books!

  • Beverly
    2019-02-06 22:22

    As usual Anne Easter Smith write a wonderful love story all the while engrossing you in the history of the time.You feel all their happiness and pain and even though you know how the story ends you still want them to have a happy ever after. I love all of her books and the way she makes you care deeply about her characters. A must read!!!

  • Christy English
    2019-02-10 18:14

    Anne Easter Smith's lyrical and lovely novel did not make a Yorkist out of me, but it did make me love Cecily and Richard. If you read this, and I hope you do, you will fall in love with them, too. Highly recommended.

  • Misfit
    2019-01-27 18:24

    I am having a chuckle over the new recommended reads based upon my shelves. This one popped up on my "California" shelf.

  • Kristy Hoffman
    2019-02-11 21:02

    I have found a new favorite in authors. This book was just what I was looking for and more.

  • Luthien
    2019-01-23 22:13

    Also on my blog, Luthien Reviews.Queen By Right is a fictionalized account of the life of Cecily Neville, duchess of York—or at least of the first half of it. Along with her husband Richard and her sons, Cecily was a major figure in the fifteenth-century civil conflict now known as the Wars of the Roses. Though Cecily was born into a Lancastrian family, she became a York by marriage and was later the mother of two Yorkist kings [Edward IV and Richard III], the grandmother of a Tudor queen [Elizabeth of York], and thus an ancestor of every English and Scottish monarch since 1461 (except Henry VII).I was a little surprised when I realized that the novel was not going to cover Cecily’s entire life. Looking back, however, that was probably a wise choice. Cecily lived to be eighty, and the last thirty years of her life were nearly as eventful as the first fifty. She deals with more than her fair share of misery in the book as it is; I can’t blame Anne Easter Smith for wanting to give her a “happy ending” of sorts.If The Summer Queen was a prime example of how not to write historical fiction, Queen By Right is a good example of how it should be written (or at least “historical romance”). Smith’s novel isn’t perfect, but it gets many things right. I can understand why some people might have been bothered by how much of it was fictionalized, but unlike some HF authors I could mention, Smith is honest and upfront about it in her author’s note. She neither completely twists her characters’ personalities nor claims that everything happened as she describes, and she admits that some elements—such as her inclusion of Jeanne D’Arc nd Cecily’s brief acquaintance with her in Rouen—are fictitious. (I know the bit with Jeanne bothered some people, but I found it touching.) This is an important thing to admit and acknowledge on the part of authors and readers alike: that they are writing or reading fiction, not history.Cecily is nine in the beginning of the novel. Then, she is a daddy’s girl full of energy and sass in equal measure. She is also intelligent, curious, spoiled, and proud. Over the course of the next four hundred eighty-odd pages, Cecily grows into a woman. Some feel she comes off as too much of a Mary-Sue, but I disagree. Smith does a great job showing Cecily’s shortfalls as well as her virtues. As Cecily gets older and wiser, even she begins seeing the repercussions of things she said, did, and thought earlier in life and trying to learn from her mistakes. She grows into motherhood, too, and Smith handles the transition equally well. Cecily spends a great deal of the early novel with her mother Joan, and Joan’s influence becomes more obvious as Cecily’s children are born and grow up.As I said before, Smith’s Cecily is likeable, but she has her flaws. She is beautiful, but also somewhat vain; proud and regal but sometimes haughty, jealous, and judgmental; clever, but often rash; a loving mother, but capable of being waspish, even cold.I don’t know. Maybe I just liked Cecily too much from the beginning to mind if she was portrayed in a generally positive light.But the strongest thing Cecily had going for her was being firmly rooted in her time period. Too often, characters in historical novels read like modern people who seem uncomfortable in their surroundings. But the pious, superstitious Cecily definitely belongs in the fifteenth century. She has a mind of her own and speaks it, too—but it is a distinctly medieval mind. Several scenes with her children illustrate this particularly well:With baby Henry:“I fear Henry’s body cannot tolerate this bee’s poison, and I have no remedy for that. I cannot lie to you, madame, ‘tis in God’s hands now,” she murmured, desolate. Once again, she was convinced that immersing him in the icy river might reduce the swelling, but she did not dare to suggest it. The duchess had never accused her of causing Joan’s death with the cold-water bath. Cecily had acknowledged that they could never be certain whether it was the fever, the cold bath, or the unicorn elixir that had been the culprit. …Cecily sighed. “Aye, maybe if everyone prays for his recovery, God will listen.” (p. 212-13, emphasis mine)And then again with the newborn George:“He looks like an angel, does he not?” Cecily murmured. “Let us hope he remains thus—for the most part. Angels can be so dull.” “Your grace!” Constance spluttered. “Have a care. There may be some listening who will take offense—those that frequent Satan’s realm, I mean.”“Pish,” Cecily retorted. “As long as all was left open, as we instructed, there are no evil spirits here to put a curse on this child.” (p. 288, emphasis mine)The secondary characters are fleshed out decently as well. Richard duke of York could have been reduced to Cecily’s Sweet Babboo—handsome, perfect, and chivalrous—but he is shown as being at least somewhat flawed. He could have been shown as a bit more ruthless in his ambition, however. Richard of York was probably an honorable man, but I also think he also believed strongly in his own claim to the throne. While the love story got a bit saccharine later in the book, it was done very well in the beginning. True, Cecily and Richard fell in love, but not “at first sight.” It was a relatively slow and gradual process, which I appreciated (especially since Cecily was nine when they met!)The only real complaint I have is that some of the other interpersonal relationships end rather abruptly. For example, one of Cecily’s trusted attendants simply fades out of her life and is never mentioned again. A little consistency would have helped.The prose is a pretty good, too. It tends to get a little repetitive and dry in places, too flowery in others. Despite sometimes flying through almost forty years, certain sections of the book drag. (I admit that some of this is on me. Since I have some WOTR background, I kept waiting to get to the “good/exciting part,” and once Cecily begins to have children, I was just waiting for my favorite York baby, Richard, to be born…and it was a long wait, since he was baby number twelve!) And fortunately, though there’s a lot of sex—sort of excused, I guess, by the the “love match” between Richard and Cecily and their subsequent parade of children—most of it is glossed over or merely suggested rather than explicitly described.I’m sure some people have accused Smith of “info-dumping” through dialogue, but I liked how many historical events were spread through word-of-mouth from one character to the other. It spares readers from wading through actual “info-dumping” in which the characters have no part. Other future events are alluded to, such as when a very young Elizabeth Woodville visits the nursery in Rouen to see the newborn Edward of York, or this scene:Five-month-old Dickon had taken a liking to his aunt immediately, and now, propped quietly upon her lap, was gazing earnestly at his mother across the hearth.“How delicate he is,” Alice pronounced, allowing the child to take hold of her little finger. “Nay, Dickon, we do not suck on fingers,” she told him gently as he pulled it toward his mouth.Cecily chuckled. “But I pray you, look at that chin. I have not seen such a determined chin on any of my other children. He will not let go of life without a fight, this one. Will you, sweeting,” she cooed at him. Dickon gurgled happily, making them both laugh. (p. 323, emphasis mine)I thought it was a clever use of dramatic irony—Smith subtly acknowledging events that she and her readers know about (here, the Battle of Bosworth) though Cecily cannot yet.Smith also did a good job handling the laundry list of names, many of which were the same. (The Tudors had a problem with men named Thomas; the late Plantagenets had it men called Richard.) Most of the men are called by their title other than Cecily’s husband and sons, and most of the women who share common names are similarly differentiated. There’s still some inevitable confusion, but her efforts are admirable nonetheless.And while it may not be the most detailed or accurate portrait of medieval life, she also deserves credit for avoiding lengthy and potentially dull descriptions of fifteenth-century fashion and technology. She does this by including a glossary of unfamiliar terms and generally providing enough description to give readers the flavor of the time, if not an intricate portrait of it. Because the characters and events are Smith’s focus, this worked pretty well for me.And lastly, Smith does a pretty even-handed job when it comes to portraying the Lancasters, albeit with some notable exceptions. That said, this is definitely a York-slanted story. If Margaret of Anjou is your boo, you might not be crazy about how she’s shown here. Henry VI is handled with a great deal of tact, however.My advice to potential readers is this: go into Queen By Right knowing that this is a long book, knowing something about the historical events that surround it, and knowing that Cecily had thirteen children. If the length doesn’t deter you; if you’re even mildly interested in the Wars of the Roses or the people who were involved; and if you’re willing to slog through the rapid-fire births and childhoods of most of those children, then give this novel a try.If you can’t deal with Smith’s imagined passages and occasional mystical religious imagery—which she, unlike many authors, freely admits are made of whole cloth—you should probably also skip it.I would love to see a follow-up about the last years of Cecily’s life—how she handled Edward’s marriage to Elizabeth Woodville (not as graciously as she could have, according to history, though with hindsight she seems to have had the measure of it); how she dealt with the deaths of her three remaining sons; how she viewed Richard taking the throne after Edward’s death…But perhaps that’s for another author to write, or maybe I should hurry up and finally read The Sunne in Splendour.Not really part of the review, but here are some bonus scenes featuring my favorite York baby in all his adorableness:Cecily smiled, not wanting to dampen her new-found merriment. She reached out her arms to Dickon and cuddled him against her breast. Bessie was there in a trice, tickling the baby and making him laugh. (p. 325)[L]ittle Dickon toddled up to Ned’s side and took his hand at Richard’s entrance, his face a picture of delight. “Papa,” he babbled repeatedly, pointing at Richard and tugging at Ned. “Mama, Papa.”Richard’s face softened into a smile, and he picked up is youngest son and tossed him in the air. “Aye, Dickon, your father and mother are here. We will always be here for you.”(p. 368)The reunion would have been joyful enough if Edward alone had returned to her, but he had brought a surprise.“George! Dickon!” Meg had been the first to cry out upon seeing the two boys enter the great hall. Cecily could not have described the joy she felt when Dickon ran headlong into her arms.(p. 478)

  • Pam Hall
    2019-02-11 16:25

    Anne Easter Smith does a creditable job fleshing out characters during the Wars of the Roses--has several books in that time period. This is historical fiction about Cecily Neville, mother of Edward IV and Richard III. Smith is very kind to her and sheds her in a different light than I've seen and read her portrayed before, but gives interesting details and suppositions about her life based on research. For example, she gives a scenario of Cecily meeting Jeanne d'Arc in prison, as well as witnessing her burning at the stake. Smith, in her end notes, indicates that there are no records of this, but they were in Rouen at the same time, so she thought it could have been possible. Maybe, maybe not, but I don't mind the liberty, as that's what historical fiction does. I found this book somewhat overly sentimental, but that's how Smith writes--so some might find it a little sappy. All said and done, I recommend the book for those who like this genre.

  • Christine Cazeneuve
    2019-01-30 21:22

    It's hard for me to rate this book only because I probably should not have read it so closely after I finished Red Rose, White Rose which is also the story of Cecily Neville. When I read RRWR I knew next to nothing about Cecily and, therefore, was fascinated by her story. Then reading QBR, the basis of the story was pretty much the same. Certainly there were differences as both books are historical fiction but I enjoyed RRWR more. All in all it still was an enjoyable book and I do like this author alot.

  • Susan
    2019-02-08 22:08

    Historical fiction are pretty good reads. This one takes you down the family tree of York. If you love to read this is over 500 pages.