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Reviewed by Mike Dixon for Readers' Favorite
After eighty years of conflict, the War of the Roses is nearing its end. Edward IV made a disastrous mistake when he married Elizabeth Woodville. Her ambitious family did everything to increase their power and suspicions were aroused when Edward died mysteriously at the age of forty. The Woodvilles were suspected of his murder and Edward’s younger brother, Richard, feared for his life. Richard had spies but history does not say much about them. Barbara Gaskell Denvil fills in the gaps and introduces us to the mysterious Andrew Cobham and his female companion, Tyballis, otherwise known as Blessop’s wife. They probe London’s sordid underworld and invade the equally dangerous world of the nobility. Damning evidence is uncovered and delivered to Richard who seizes the throne as Richard III. Shakespeare condemned him as the murderer of the princes in the Tower. Later generations have come to question this interpretation of history.
Barbara Gaskell Denvil has a mastery of words. Blessop’s Wife is well researched and follows the main course of history. Her description of places and events conjures up vivid images. She recreates the world of King Richard and shows a good understanding of that bygone age. Her scenes of political intrigue are brilliant. Her “bedroom scenes” are done with equal subtlety. Readers who like to be immersed in a world of historical intrigue, difficult human relationships, and a very dangerous way of life will relish this novel. It is perfect for those who enjoy a good, long read.