I am an ardent fan of historical fiction. It allows me a fun way to learn about parts of history that I never normally would look into. The Tudors always fascinate me and I regularly read about them through a variety of authors. First of the Tudors, however offered me an insight into a portion of history I know little about: the early years of Henry VII and his uncle, Jasper.
It wasn’t until I read this book and looked at the family tree helpfully placed at the beginning of the book, that I realised exactly who Henry VII’s ancestors had been. Year ago I read ‘Katherine’ by Anya Seyton about the mistress and eventual wife of John of Gaunt, third son of Edward III. Katherine is Henry VII’s Great, great, great grandmother of Henry VII. I had already known that through her the Tudor line was created but I had not quite pieced this information together until I read this book. I had also never even heard of Edmund and Jasper Tudor, the former being Henry’s father. They were the sons of Catherine of Valois and Owen Tudor, whom Catherine married after the death of her husband Henry V. This is an area of British history that I know little about and this book allowed a fascinating insight into the lives of Edmund and Jasper and how the Tudor dynasty was shaped.
The story begins when Jasper and Edmund are young men and officially recognised at the brothers of Henry VI. Edmund married Margret Beaufort in 1453 when she was only twelve years old. This time period is during the infamous War of the Roses, when the house of Lancaster and York competed for the throne and a period of civil strife characterised the British landscape. It follows the story of Jasper through this period, how he remained loyal to his brother, Henry VI and held ward ship of Henry Tudor. It is also told from the point of view of Jane, mistress to Jasper and mother of his children. The blend of the two story points is well written and allows insight into two very different aspects of life during this time.
Joanna Hickson weaves a story of murder, war, love and intrigue that leaves the reader eager to turn the page and read on. After I finished the story I wanted to know more, what happened to Jasper and Jane? What happened to Henry before he took the throne? For me, that is the sign of a good historical novel, that is leaves me eager to research more about the people I have just met and the tales I have just heard
If you’re looking for a solid, interesting historical fiction of medieval England, look no further. I am looking forward to reading Joanna’s other novels.
Let me know what you thought of the book below! If you have any recommendations tell me about them!
Get the book here: The First of the Tudors