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With the scant remains of Richard III lifted recently from such humble soil Elizabeth Ashworth presents us here with the results of her own excavation Perhaps no other ruler has engendered such a spirit of ambivalence in the British public murderer or maverick disfigured disgrace to the throne or exciting romantic anti hero unafraid of getting his hands dirty in the heat of battle The various contradictions that feed our understanding of the man are enacted here focussing on a series of formative events in his early life that cast him in an interesting new lightWhen 17 year old Richard Duke of Gloucester defies his elder brother Edward IV and rides to Hornby Castle in the north of Lancashire to help James and Robert Harrington defend their birthright against Sir Thomas Stanley he engenders a chain of events that will have repercussions for years to come His fight for justice for the Harringtons and his relationship with Anne Harrington whose wardship has been given to Thomas Stanley cause a rift between the two men that will never be healed and which will lead to Richard being betrayed when he most needs Stanley’s supportBy Loyalty Bound tells the story of defiant Anne Harrington the woman who would later become mistress to the enigmatic Richard as a conseuence of his involvement in the trials of her family With her father and grandfather killed fighting for the Yorkists at Wakefield in 1460 Hornby Castle falls to her as an inheritance at the tender age of five years old When her ward ship is handed over to Thomas Stanley by the king himself Anne’s uncles and the influence they might otherwise have wielded are virtually cut off The story traces the Harringtons fight to keep possession of their ancestral home the support given to them by Richard Duke of Gloucester and Richard’s tumultuous and beguiling relationship with Anne as she is forced into a marriage arranged for her by her guardian a man who has objectives beyond the determination to secure her future happiness With a close eye for detail Ashworth creates an intricately nuanced landscape which serves as a remarkably effective and convincing backdrop Richard Duke of Gloucester a man often demonized in literary adaptations with his hunched back and uestionable moral code is revived to supreme effect The romance of the era is effectively relayed communicating a real sense of drama borne out of political tensions heightened by the emotional complexities that characterized the ageThe AuthorElizabeth Ashworth has been a published author from an early age with an article in Diana magazine at the age of eleven years old for which she was paid a pound Since then has had many articles and short stories published in magazines including Lancashire Magazine The Lady People’s Friend My Weekly Fiction Feast and many othersIn 2006 her first local interest book Champion Lancastrians was published by Sigma Press This was followed by Tales of Old Lancashire from Countryside Books in 2007 A fascination with one of the old stories she discovered whilst researching for this book inspired her to write her first historical novel The de Lacy Inheritance which was published in 2010 by Myrmidon BooksAnother non fiction book looking at the burial sites of some notable and interesting characters Lancashire Who Lies Beneath? was published in October 2009 and her second historical novel An Honourable Estate based on the Mab’s Cross legend was published in 2012

10 thoughts on “By Loyalty Bound

  1. says:

    Review for By Loyalty Bound By Elizabeth AshworthTo clarify I was sent this book to review by Clay Press but was not paid for the reviewIt is a fact of history that Richard III had two illegitimate children recognized by him but no one knows who their mother was This novel suggests an identity for the mother and tells her story The premise of the book was fascinating and Anne Harrington a heroine with whom I could sympathize though there were some parts of the plot that I didn’t find totally plausible More of that laterAs a convinced Ricardian the portrayal of Richard himself was crucial in influencing how I felt about this book Ashworth has been even handed showing both a Richard who is capable of disposing of his enemies but also who is sensitive and capable of great affection Of course the issue of the princes in the tower comes up how could it not? but this book doesn’t add to that debate nor does it attempt to The focus is very firmly on Anne Harrington and the novel should be judged on that basis One of the strengths of this novel is the sense of time and place conveyed both through descriptions of food clothing modes of travel etc and the political manoeuvrings of the various factions There is a particularly clear depiction of the way marriage among the upper classes was regarded as a means to acuire land and money or to cement alliances between families Both men and women being expected to put the needs of their family before their private wishesI don’t want to give away key parts of the plot however at the outset of the novel Anne Harrington is portrayed as a pawn to be played to the advantage of whoever has charge of her and while I found it easy to believe the actions of the Stanleys I found it much harder to accept her uncle’s attempt to use her I also found her own actions when Richard first comes to Hornby less than convincing particularly her radical change of mind regarding whether or not to give herself to Richard and the speed with which it occursI have already mentioned description which in my opinion is one of the finest aspects of this book phrases such as ‘hanging drizzle’ and ‘a log sighed and settled in the hearth’ are good examples of the evocative uality of the writingHowever whether it is because of my background in teaching English or my own experience as a writer I am a critical reader and for me this book does have some weaknesses both in plot terms and in writing style As far as plot is concerned while Richard talks of his marriage to Anne Neville as making no difference to his relationship with Anne Harrington he does not attempt to continue that relationship thereafter only taking it up again after Anne Neville’s death And there are hints that Richard’s marriage is far from unhappy and that he had a close friendship with Anne Neville as a child while Anne Harrington herself talks of knowing that his wife is never far from Richard’s thought To me there seems something of an inconsistency in all of that In terms of style one issue for me was the stilted nature of some of the dialogue which I didn’t feel could be explained simply as a formal style I also sometimes found the word choice clumsy for example ‘lips fumbling’ or unnecessary – eg when Anne is thinking about what it might be like to be married she adds ‘to a man’ – surely redundant And one other minor issue – there were occasions when the time shifts were rather abrupt from one season to the next within the same page Overall however this was an easy read and an enjoyable one And I will certainly read another by Elizabeth Ashworth

  2. says:

    I knew nothing about the alleged mistress of Richard II as all the stories I have read speaks of a devotion to his wife Anne Neville daughter of the Kingmaker However Ms Ashworth makes a very convincing case for Anne Harrington being the royal lover an heiress at the mercy of a guardian of the StanleysThis complicated era of history is handled extremely well Edward IV did not have an easy rule and no one was certain of which side to join and many changed loyalties according to who was in the ascendant and whose army was biggest By the end I was confused as to who actually was the ‘rightful’ king so even with hindsight had I lived in the 15th Century I would have made the wrong decision Villains abound in all guises and Anne has to tread a careful path with her in laws who regard her as having brought disgrace on them by being Richard of Gloucester’s mistress hypocritical in the extreme as they forced her to marry their son so they could grab her estateDespite its difficult beginning in that she was presented to him as a bribe by her family girls had a rotten time in the 15th century Anne’s devotion to Richard of Gloucester is touching so much so she refuses to consummate her marriage to Edward Stanley though fortunately he does not press the issue and takes a mistress of his own In an age where bearing heirs is vital I wondered at her father in law’s silence on the fact she had produced two healthy children for Richard but none for her own husband but he remains enigmatically silentMargaret Beaufort joins the Stanley family making the entire crew even sinister and Anne has to watch her back for stray daggers at times relying only on her aloof serenity to keep her safe For those who are interested in the late Plantagenet kings and the lead up to Bosworth Field this is a thoroughly enjoyable read

  3. says:

    Ok I have read dozens of Wars of the Roses themed books these last few years some brilliant some uite good some ok I am the wrong age for this book I think if I'd been a teenager or about 20 I might have loved it However having read a lot of fiction of this topic this book was one of the oh ok well not exactly a waste of time but still type of books

  4. says:

    Far from ruthless Richard III the most loyal and valiant man to ever rule England He was brought to life in this medieval love story This book demonstrates the greatness of not only a true King but of the kind loving and brave man Richard was during his entire lifetime An excellent read Love King Richard III

  5. says:

    interesting read written a little simply no way of knowing if any of it is true so a little disappointing on that front

  6. says:

    A fantastic easy read Fact meets fiction but this is no less a book because of that