Review: Royal Mistress by Anne Easter Smith

Title: Royal Mistress
Author: Anne Easter Smith
Publisher: Touchstone, Simon and Schuster May 7, 2013
Genre: Historical Fiction
Labels: Jane Shore, England, Royalty, Edward IV, Richard III, 15th Century, House of York
Format: Paperback
Age: Adult
Pages: 512
Rating: 4 Stars

#5 Book on the War of the Roses

Jane Lambert is the daughter of a textile mercer. At age 22 she is unmarried. Her parents, especially her pious and controlling father wants her to be married and out of his home. Any sexuality in his view is despicable and sin. When he looks at his daughter his eyes show hatred. On the other hand Jane's younger sister Isabel is the father's darling. Jane is happy to be unmarried; although she pines for love, or rather a lover who will sweep her off her feet and out of the controlling home of her father. Jane's romantic nature, coupled with her sensual and beautiful body, as well as her charming personality, makes her intoxicating to any virile man.
Jane's father arranges a marriage for her. Her new husband is also a mercer, William Shore. Jane is prompt in the duties of working in a mercer's trade. She is appalled at being married to a dour-faced icy-cold man. Their union is a mistake for both.
Edward IV
Edward IV is King of England, his wife is Elizabeth Woodville, they have a large family. Edward IV, as typical of king's takes a mistress. His choice is Jane. The beginning of their relationship is lust, but love takes root.
Elizabeth Woodville
My Thoughts:
I kept having to tell myself while reading this story that Jane was very young and naive. She was also a bit full of herself---because she was a natural beauty, and added to her nature a sensuality that oozed Marilyn Monroe. Men naturally fell in lust with her and tried to bed her.
She thought as a young woman that lust and sex equaled love. Not.
Lesson #1. Lust and sex is not love in and of itself. Sex should be an expression of love, or at least it shouldn't be confused as love itself.
Jane hadn't learned this life experience, yet.

What I liked about this story.
  • I knew little about Jane Shore. Recently I've read books about Edward IV, Elizabeth Woodville, Richard III. Yet, when Jane was mentioned it was as the kings whore. Such a tart name. 
  • Jane's character has a transformation. 
  • It was difficult to not like her. I could identify with her naiveness in her youth, and having a realization of how life really is as I grew older. She is a likable person. She has a great love for the down-trodden---for those in need, and she gave graciously. Her gracious giving left her with an additional reputation that helped. 
  • There is a bit of symbolism in this story which I didn't expect. Often rats were seen scurrying. Rats are opportunists, scavengers, they eat whatever they can devour. This idea carried over to the people in royal court. Opportunists and scavengers, wanting to devour any person that outshone them, was a hindrance to or a threat, or was in their way of advancement. 
  • I learned about the mercer's trade, court life, the life of a mistress, 15th century England, culture of women both in the royal court and in civilian life.
  • Richard III is not displayed as a complete villain. 
What I disliked about this story.
  • One thing that I thought could have been written more tastefully is the sex scenes. I felt they were sensationalistic------over-done and annoying. I'm aware that other reader's will love this, but I didn't. 
 Over-all I gave this story 4 stars. Even with my one dislike, I recommend this story!

Thank you to Touchstone and Simon and Schuster for my free review copy!

Link @ Amazon:
Paperback $12.65
Kindle $10.38