England, 1444. Three women challenge the course of history…
King Henry VI’s grip on the crown hangs by a thread as the Wars of the Roses starts to tear England apart. And from the ashes of war, the House of Paston begins its rise to power.
Led by three visionary women, the Pastons are a family from humble peasant beginnings who rely upon cunning, raw ambition, and good fortune in order to survive.
Their ability to plot and scheme sees them overcome imprisonment, violence and betrayal, to eventually secure for their family a castle and a place at the heart of the Yorkist Court. But success breeds jealousy and brings them dangerous enemies…
An inspirational story of courage and resilience, The Royal Game, charts the rise of three remarkable women from obscurity to the very heart of Court politics and intrigue.
My thoughts: I really enjoyed this, exploring a family a few rungs down the social ladder from the nobles most books set during this period (the War of the Roses or the Cousins’ War) are written about.
Based on real letters written by members of of Paston family, it charts their almost constant legal battles as they struggle to hold onto the many houses and parcels of land they’ve acquired. They’re not actually very good at it and spend a lot of time in court and at war with their neighbours and other claimants. I can’t imagine any of them were particularly happy, but at the time success was measured in land and wealth – some things never change.
By focusing on the women of the family, we see more of the domestic side of life – Meg in particular spends a lot of time on running her household – managing servants, ordering new clothes for her children, planning menus and trying to balance the books while her husband spends his time in court, trying to keep enough land in the family to pay for everything.
A fascinating look at a different aspect of medieval life and an intriguing start to a new series about the ups and downs of the Paston family.
*I was kindly gifted a copy of this book in exchange for taking part in the blog tour but all opinions remain my own.