It seems like a small eternity ago, but in reality it’s only been a little over a week. Maybe? Time is a bit squirrelly for me sometimes. I think it’s some-timer’s disease. Anyway, whenever it was, I had a surprise email from my good friend, author Samantha Wilcoxson. She’s got a novella in the queue, and would I mind taking a look? Of course I said yes. Of course! And thank you! I read it, I offered her feedback, and the next thing I know, she’s sent it forth in to the wild for everyone to read.
If you’re not familiar with Samantha’s work in this series, her Plantagenet Embers series is all about spotlighting the women from the Wars of the Roses era and the subsequent Tudor dynasty who had a pivotal role to play. Given the nature of the era in question, these women are all too often unsung, under appreciated, or just outright stereotyped, vilified, or caricatured. Samantha’s gift is to humanize these women for modern readers, peeling back the layers of history and presumption, allowing these extraordinary personalities to tell their own stories in their own way.
During the waning years of the Wars of the Roses, Beaufort’s personal trials are of the level that would crush most who had to walk a mile in her footsteps. For this and other reasons, she is often seen as an ice queen, a Machiavellian level manipulator. It’s an image that, right or wrong, dismisses the sources of Beaufort’s truest strengths: faith and family. Her role as devoted wife and mother takes center stage, returning to the story a dimension of humanity that’s so often missing. Contrary to popular belief, to weather a civil war and to set up a dynasty in its aftermath takes more than cold logic. It requires heart.
As this is a novella, the first question I had upon reading it is if it could be expanded into a full novel — or should be. When dealing with the historical magnitude in play, my instinct says yes, with a caveat. The caveat is in regards to strength of character. Sometimes characters can get watered down by expanding their roles too far, not that I’m ever worried about such matters in Samantha’s hands. The point is, less is more. This is a quick, light read that manages to pack all the character of her novels, but with a sharper focus. As with her previous novels in this series, the history is intact, and there is no need for a scorecard… most important when trying to navigate this particular era. Everything just flows as it should.
My understanding is that there are more stories in this series coming. I’m looking forward to reading them.
Want to connect with the author? Samantha Wilcoxson can be found here:
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