Rosalba Whitby is born during a tumultuous time, the War of the Roses has been disrupting the life in the English countryside for years. Rose is the oldest of her mother's children and learns the trade of herbs and healing from her mother. When Countess Warwick arrives in town in need of aid, Rose's mother is called and Rose is brought along to aid the ailing Countess. Impressed with Rose, the Countess decides that Rose will make a good companion for her daughter, Anne Neville. At the age of 10, Rose is reluctant to leave her mother and home; however, the placement will save her from a brutal father and early marriage. Growing up intimately with Anne Neville and Richard Plantagenet, Rose becomes an intimate to their secrets. She also bears a secret and shared love for the to-be King, Richard. As she grows up, Rose must struggle with her love and allegiance between her charge Anne, who is promised to Richard and the growing love of the King that will be forever remembered in infamy.
Rich in historical detail that pulled me into the countryside, castles and battlefields of the War of the Roses, Roan Rose is an entertaining piece of historical fiction that shows a different side to Richard III. In the light of the women who love him, Richard is not cast as the entirely evil and power-hungry King that is usually portrayed. Through Rose's eyes, Richard is seen from a young boy who is a bit weaker that the other's, but must try that much harder, Richard is consistently sweet and caring to his much younger cousin, Anne and her maid, Rose. As Rose, Richard and Anne grow, the difficulty in the decisions that Richard must make are evident. Rose is a strong willed, intelligent character. It was interesting to see her fate as she was taken from the countryside and woven into the fates of the future King and Queen only to find herself right back where she came from. With an interesting twist at the end, Rose's story is sure to delight.
This book was provided for free in return for an honest review.