Methinks I need to cease squealing & pay better attn to the summaries ere hurling books into my library bag I expected Figures in Silk by Vanora Bennett to be a lovely "merriest harlot" romp thru Edward IVs bedchamber with Jane Shore, but 95% of the book focused on her fictional sister, another Isabel (who was not quite as stupid as the Isabel in The King's Daughter but was still rather irksome).
Waaaaaaaaaaay too much technical info on how to make silk. I have the mall. I care not LOL I skimmed thru that judiciously.
Jane Shore's father, John Lambert, is a silk merchant in the London Mercery who has managed to get on the bad side of some important peeps & stripped of his alderman privileges, so he's trying to make better connections & the plan is to marry his daughters off to better important peeps. Bad plan. Will Shore turns out to be impotent & mighty pissed that she came to the king's attn at their wedding (Edward owed Dad money LOL so must've figured his presence to be partial payment) & they end up getting an annulment. Dad gets lands out of Edward in exchange for the loans so he gets some good out of things. Isabel is married to Thomas Claver, whose widowed mother, Alice, is one of the leading & most successful silk merchants in London. Alas Thomas has a house fall on him PMSL I am so not kidding after about a month of wedded bliss. Isabel has always been irked that Daddy never let her play with nice things & decides to learn the bidness from Alice. Pals include Will Caxton & a nice Venetian gent named Goffredo who's a trader & there's an ambitious scheme afoot to smuggle peeps & looms into England to eliminate the middleman & squeeze out the Italian monopoly on such. Jane's connection with Edward proves useful in getting a house in Westminster & a nice grant o' groats for such things.
Color me gobsmacked but the focus is not on Jane & Edward at all, but on Isabel's illicit liaison with Richard of Gloucester! I'm sorry, it is asking the reader to suspend belief to expect that a man in that position & in the public eye can successfully carry on a long-term affair with the daughter of a London merchant & meet at the exact same inn in the exact same room all that time & ain't no one whispering about it
Isabel meets Dickon whilst praying in church because she's not fussed with Dad's marriage plans. This is about the time when RIII was doing his legendary hunt thru London for Anne Neville to give you a time frame idea. Instant soulmates yadda yadda tho they don't do the deed until the 2nd date PMSL Isabel doesn't even know who he is for a while. HELLO, BADGES! They all wore em....don't ask me to believe whilst Dickon was tossing about raiment prior to hopping into bed Isabel never caught a glimpse of the white boar.
Anyhow, FFW, Isabel is no longer 15 but 24 & life revolves round the rare mtg with Dickon (now the Great Lord of the North & married) & her silk stuff. Elizabeth of York's betrothal to the French dauphin is broken off & Isabel gets the commission thru the King's Wardrobe dept to go do something with the criminal waste of unnecessary trousseau. Elizabeth Woodville's nostrils flare a lot LOL Esp when Edward drops dead & she drags all the kidlets across the road to Sanctuary.
Now I am getting puzzled because the author has gone the tormented sensitive Dickon route & suddenly morphs him into a Shakespearean caricature! So we've got the lopping off of the heads of Anthony Woodville & Richard Grey (the latter incorrectly described as a Woodville uncle when he's EWs son), the PITT, the execution of Hastings, the arrest of Isabel's sister under accusations of witchcraft (a burning offense dontcha know), the bastardizing of EWs brats, & voila Evil Dickon is now king. Isabel is also all WTF? LOL
This is the explanation ya get for the attitude adjustment & I am not sure if this is true historical fact or what so please jump in if you do know. Apparently Dickon was granted the wardship of one George Neville, accounting for his control over half of his vast northern territory. George is referred to as a little boy & I WAS thinking he could be John Neville's, Montagu's, kid, but to be a "little boy" he'd have to have been born 5 yrs after Pops bought it because Tewkesbury was in 1471 & tis now 1483. So who is this kid & what's up with this? George is dying of the consump (this is a few mos ere Edward catches cold) & Dickon is fretting to Isabel about the loss of half of his power base because then control of the lands go back to the Nevilles. I'm thinkin OK CONTRIVED, when your big bro be king you don't have to worry about such things, there's always a workaround Then Isabel points such out to him right after I thunk this LOL & Dickon's all o jolly good notion there & I was all how stupid are ya mister?
So the justification he feeds Isabel for seizing the throne is that he knew he'd be squeezed out by the Woodvilles round the boy king (there was something about Dorset trying to get control of the English Navy & again I was all WHAT English navy? ) & lose his power base & mayhap his own life (George inconsiderately did not cock up his toes until after Edward did). So she's all hmph spring my sister & maybe you'll get laid again in this lifetme bucko PMSL & he does so she's all OK everything's fine now, esp as E of Y lets her know she's had letters from the PITT who ain't in the Tower so that's why they're all coming out of Sanctuary. And Dickon approves of his crown solictor Thomas Lymon marrying Jane Shore, too.
Thru her working for E of Y, Isabel natch gets all the good goss as servants do & E of Y confides in her about Buckingham's rebellion & the plot btwn EW & Margaret Beaufort to marry her off to Henry Tudor. Isabel runs off to inform Dickon of this. For someone who was all horrifed at the earlier executions & even helped smuggle Dorset off to Bruges, suddenly she cares not about Buckingham's head at all. Inconsistent with her character so far & tis rationalized that Dickon's life is worth more to her. O BTW note he is now KING & STILL playing footsie at this inn in Westminster! Not credible
Pathos when Edward of Middleham dies & then Anne Neville becomes a fruitcake over it, we're back to tormented sensitive Dickon again. It seems as if E of Ys got an edge on Isabel because she prattles on about the tale of the hunt for AN & emphasizes how much in love with AN Dickon used to be till she went whacko, & about how she herself just ADORES Dickon & looks fw to when she gets to be his queen, & leaves Isabel alone just long enough for Isabel to snoop & find a draft of a letter E of Y is composing re her feelings for Dickon & what can be done to speed up the dispensation process....almost as if E of Y KNOWS Isabel's been banging the headboard with Dickon all these yrs & is TRYING to make her jealous. Then Isabel lifts her stupid head & realizes that even tho Anne's still breathing Dickon do seem to be courting his niece E of Y. Well, that ain't right, she's thinkin. THIS is what starts to push her into the yesm you ARE a Shakespearean caricature camp, feminine jealousy, esp when darling Dickon denies it not looking all male sheepishlike & hastening to assure her tis merely good politics. But she unexpectedly runs into him coming to call on E of Y & sees the look in his eyes when his niece enters & thinks YOU BASTARD!!!
E of Y further relates that Dickon is having AN drugged with enough laudanum to kill a horse to hasten the process because the bitch just won't die already. Isabel's all nay nay not my dear Dickon but still she has to wonder considering.
Then tragedy strikes twice in one day. Whilst Isabel is in bed with Dickon for what turns out to be the last time, her silk house is burnt to the ground with all her peeps & her MIL still in it This is because those pesky Lombards fond out what Goffredo was up to with the silk making thing & made trouble & incited the mob. Only Will Caxton is left out of all Isabel's circle of friends. Meanwhile back at the palace Dickon finds out AN has died. He races back to the inn looking for comfort from Isabel, staring right out the window at the smouldering embers of her house, & it's not even registering tis hers & 30 peeps have just died & she's ruined & she would've been one of them if she hadn't been lollygagging in bed, that's just how self-centered he be. He just wants Isabel to make nice to him because his wife has died
Isabel has come to the belated realization that Dickon should not have been the center of her universe all these yrs & she has no peeps left because of it (your basic guilt tripping) & besides she's still ticked off re E of Y, so she wrenches herself out of his arms & accuses him of poisoning AN & sees something in his eyes that tells her she's not wrong & flounces for good. At the giant funeral she makes sure she tells every peep she sees about how the king got rid of his wife to marry his niece & the common folk is appalled & soon London is buzzing & peeps are starting to think AHA Shakespearean caricature of him & withdrawing their support
O BTW Goffredo is pulled out of the basement like a wk after the fire & lives LOL Isabel sells off the bidness & then there's Bosworth & I'm thinking, OK, you were so madly in love with this guy for 99% of the relationship for like 13 yrs & not even a tear is shed over poor King Richard's naked & mutilated corpse tossed over the side of a horse? You'd think she'd at least be a LITTLE sad
She has to go see E of Y to return some stuff she didn't finish because she retired (a passel of real emeralds amongst them as they were embellishments) &.....let's just say when it comes to devious, manipulative, positively Machiavellian royals, E of Y is the queen of such things
Yesm I didn't see THAT coming & it explained a lot of the WTF stuff nicely. E of Y lets her keep the nice emeralds as sort of a pymt for bring easily manipulated LOL I very much enjoyed a not-stereotypical meek & mild E of Y portrayal for a change. Henry Tudor OWES her big time for bringing Dickon down!
Isabel decides all of a sudden that Goffredo is hot & mayhap they can still eliminate those pesky Italians & travel the world as silk traders THE END. Rather abruptly. Like the author ran out of steam.
It wasn't BAD (tho HOW the proofreaders missed the consistent misspelling of "Britanny" 11dy6x I am sure I dunno) & RIII gets to be both camps for a change & tis written well & obviously researched decently. It just asked you to suspend historical disbelief quite frequently in order to stop going WTF & some of it did get sorted in the end. Not what I'd call a keeper alas but I wouldn't say don't read it just for the weirdness of Dickon's dual personality alone LOL