-by Anne Easter Smith
*I recieved this book through Crazy Book Tours.
Cecily Neville's eldest brother was her mother's favorite, and she, the youngest, was her father's. Born into 15th century Britain, her life as a woman was without a doubt considered less than that of a man. But because of her father's attention in the early years of her life and a strong personality, Cecily is torn between following the rules of noblity and what she was brought up on. Betrothed to a childhood friend at the age of eight, she grows to love her future husband before she is totally sure of what love even is.
The duke of York, Richard Plantagenet, comes into Cecily's life as an orphan. He is looked on as a threat to the king, not only because his late father was a traitor, but also because his claim to the throne is stronger than that of the boy king. Cecily's father treats him like a son, and when he arranges the marriage of his daughter he couldn't have made a better match.
Queen by Right is the story of Cecily Neville and Richard of York as they grow up together, and grow close together. The two of them are born into the Hundred Years War and their journey takes them from England to France and to England again. Richard gains the king's trust, and Cecily gains her husband's.
One of my favorite parts was that of Jeanne d'Arc. Her similarities are not completely recognized by Cecily because their ranks separate them, but the young girl who wore men's clothes is much the same as the Cecily who wore boy's braies as a spoiled daughter of her father's. She sympathizes with Jeanne, but has to hold her tongue in public because she is worried that Jeanne's fate will also fall to her. And holding her tongue is not something that Cecily does particularily well.
From the beginning I was intent on diving into the life of young Cecily. As she grew up I drew away from her character because her life was no longer as relevant to mine. It was wonderfully written, and a few times when I spoke the chapters out loud, the sentences rolled off my tounge in beautiful prose. I enjoyed reading it, but I would recommend it only to older readers because of some of the skipping I had to do. The mix of romance and politics was interesting to unfold, but most of the time I got lost in the family tree. A little background on dukes, earls, and rights to the throne would have made reading the book much easier, but I was still able to understand what was going on.