The Innocent (War of the Roses 1) by Posie Graeme-Evans
The year is 1450, a dangerous time in medieval Britain. Civil unrest is at its peak and the legitimacy of the royal family is suspect. Meanwhile, deep in the forests of western England, a baby is born. Powerful forces plot to kill both mother and child, but somehow the newborn girl survives. Her name is Anne.
Fifteen years later, England emerges into a fragile but hopeful new age, with the charismatic young King Edward IV on the throne. Anne, now a young peasant girl, joins the household of a wealthy London merchant. Her unusual beauty provokes jealousy, lust, and intrigue, but Anne has a special quality that saves her: a vast knowledge of healing herbs. News of her extraordinary gift spreads, and she is called upon to save the ailing queen. Soon after, Anne is moved into the palace, where she finds her destiny with the man who will become the greatest love of her life — the king himself. (Goodreads)
15 year old Anne is being taken by her foster mother to work as a servant in merchant’s house. She has good knowledge of herbs and after Anne saves the merchant’s wife, her knowledge brings her to the attention of the court’s doctor.The doctor brings Anne to court to help the queen giving birth to their first child. While being there she attracts the king’s eye and discovers the truth about her parents.
Oh boy, where am I gonna start? First of all, if you’re gonna read this for historical accurancy, don’t bother.
My first problem is with Anne. She is just too perfect. Every man falls for her, even the king who is known for his many fleeting affairs just falls in love with after few glances. Of course she can heal better than the doctors, evade the merchant’s son who loves to spend his time raping the servant girls, staying annoyingly innocent and being nice to everyone.
In the beginning of the book the merchan’t son, Piers, has some rather gross sex scenes with this girl which I could have lived unknowing. And we also learn that Edward IV finds watching other people having sex erotic and appearantly so does Anne after peeking from the door where Hastings is with some laundress *insert eye roll here*
And the truth about her parents? Her father is none other than Henry VI. Because he’s known to be chasing girls between praying and his bouts of madness… And it’s rather understandable that after Margaret finds out the girl is pregnant she tries to assasinate her. This whole thing was little too much on the melodramatic side for my liking.
And after Anne finds out about her father, she rather instantly finds maturity and kind of a royal bearing. And after months of evading Edward she jumps to his bed after finding who she is. Because it’s much more logical doing adultery when you are royal bastard than a mere servant…
And why illegitimate daughter might be such a big threat to Edward is totally beyond me.
But I liked William Hastings. And I think that’s the first time so there was at least one thing I liked.
Published: Hodder (2005)
Source: my own