These two books are a marvel. Complete historical tosh but a good read. And to be fair to Sandra Heath Wilson, she does not pretend that they are anything else. She writes:
Although written around known historical events and people, this book is fiction, not fact.
Fair enough, in my view, to create a wonderful love story about Richard and his spirited niece Cicely (and by the way SHW gets my vote because she is a committed Ricardian; is disgusted, as I am, by his vilification in Henry VII’s reign and subsequent re-telling and also retailing of his black deeds).
So SHW creates this marvellous story about Cicely Plantagenet, second daughter of Edward IV. There is historical evidence that at the time there was a scandal about Richard III and his niece Elizabeth, so to fabricate another heady love story between Richard and Cicely, one of the other nieces seems to be absolutely fine, especially as there is a clear disclaimer that this is a novel. It is a germ of the idea: “what if” expanded into three volumes. There is another volume due out in October this year.
Cicely Plantagenet’s grandmother, also a Cicely, was a known character of some mettle. Married to Richard, Third Duke of York and great grandson of Edward III, she was known to have gone on campaign with him to France, and during all that racketing around bore him several sons and some daughters; when he and his son Edmund were killed in the campaigns of Margaret of Anjou (wife to Henry VI) Cicely and her two youngest sons Edward and Richard (later to become King Edward IV and Richard III) stood alone in the marketplace braving the combined forces of Margaret and her followers immediately after the battle. There is no reason to suppose that her granddaughter did not have some of the same characteristics; even though historically she was something of a wallflower, because it was Elizabeth, her oldest sister, who married Henry Tudor and became queen, thus ending The Wars of the Roses.
There is really nothing to quarrel with in these books. They are a lively romp through a dramatic period of English history. They are not text books! Take them on the beach and have a good cry!