Friday, June 27, 2014

Succession by Livi Michael

Behind the bloody battle scenes of the Wars of the Roses lie the sinewy political skills of a remarkable pair of women.


Margaret of Anjou, French, beautiful, unpopular; her marriage in 1444 to a young Henry VI causes national uproar. As English rule in France collapses, Henry goes insane, civil war erupts, and families are pitted against each other. With Henry VI incapacitated, Margaret Anjou is left to fight alone for her son's position as rightful heir.

Meanwhile Margaret Beaufort, nobly born but far more distant from the throne, becomes a great heiress while only an infant. Her childhood is lived in echoing remote castles and she is lonely and vulnerable: everyone at Henry's court competes to be her guardian and to engineer an advantageous alliance through marriage to her. By the age of thirteen, she has married twice and given birth to her only son - the future King of England. But then she is separated from him . . . and her fight really begins.

Succession is the intense and powerful story of the women who gave birth to the Tudor dynasty.

Review by Mirella Patzer

SUCCESSION is a novel that focuses on the two women on opposing sides during the War of the Roses – Margaret of Anjou and Margaret Beaufort. Author Livi Michaels successfully brings to life both women, and through them, describes the War of the Roses in clear, concise, and easy to understand prose. She uses extracts from articles/chronicles to mark out peculiarities and/or public opinions of the period, which helps to underscore the importance of what is happening in the story and its impact to the people.

The two women are portrayed beautifully, honestly, with their faults as well as their qualities. I could feel their emotions as I read along, experience their hopes and dreams, and motivations too. Credible secondary characterizations also help bring to life this tempestuous period in English history.

All in all, I enjoyed this novel very much, not only for its ability to educate, but also for its entertainment value. The story is presented in easy-to-read and easy-to-understand prose! A uniquely wonderful way to gain a better understanding of the War of the Roses and how it changed England’s history.