Aspiring historian Jayne Lyons has pinned her career hopes on proving that her ancestor, King Richard III, is innocent of the murder of the Princes in the Tower. While volunteering at the search for his missing grave, she is cast back into the brutal 15th century, in the middle of Richard’s army camp.
As Jayne realizes she may not be able to return home, she adjusts to her new life and finds herself falling for Richard, and becoming his mistress. She even starts entertaining the hope of saving him.
But the Princes are missing, and all evidence points to Richard. When he asks her to spy for him against his enemy, Henry Tudor, she must decide whether to help the man she loves, even though he may be one of history’s greatest villains.
What I Thought:
If you have been following my blog for any length of time, you will know that I love historical fiction. It is one of my absolute favorite genres. Additionally, any historical fiction revolving around England and any member of the royal family is right in my wheelhouse. So, when I saw this book on the Goodreads Giveaways page, I jumped at the chance!
You don’t often see historical fiction about Richard III. I actually went to the Richard III Experience Museum when I was in York a year ago, so this was especially interesting to me. Then, I won the giveaway! Yay!
I want to preface this review with this statement: I did enjoy it, and felt that the research required to write this novel was extremely well done. I was very impressed with the historical accuracy. However, one essential point to the plot made this book a pretty hard sell for me. Richard III is the ancestor of our main character, Jayne. She becomes his lover, and falls in love with him. Let me repeat that, in case you didn’t catch it…Richard III is her ancestor!! Eww. Just eww. I had a very hard time getting past this blatant, incestuous relationship.
It would be one thing if she didn’t know that he was her ancestor. Richard certainly didn’t know. Jayne, however, totally knew. This is the main premise of the plot! He is her ancestor, and she was trying to clear his name, her family name, because she didn’t believe he was a murderer. And she became his mistress anyway!!! And fell for him!!!
“I could only look inward; I had never admitted to myself that I thought he loved me, until this moment.”
Ok, moving on. The references to other historical figures, including Shakespeare, who would go on to write a scathing play about Richard III and his two nephews, were extremely well done. The world building was spectacular. Having visited this region of England fairly recently, I could picture it with perfect clarity. This, for me, was the novel’s saving grace.
Overall, it was a well written book. The writing style was good. The research was impeccable. The side characters were very well rounded. For the most part, I was rooting for Jayne and her mission. But, that incest though…
I gave The Medievalist 2.5 STARS. It is so close to 3 stars, simply from the historical research alone, but it lost half a star for the uncomfortable feels I had throughout the book…
**I won this book as an Amazon Kindle Giveaway through Goodreads!**
Are you interested in learning more about this book? Check out the links below!
Love and happy reading,