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Owen by Tony Riches

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Interest in HF: I love history, but it's boring in school. Historical fiction brings it alive for me.
Preferred HF: Iron-Age Britain, Roman Britain, Medieval Britain
Location: New Orleans

Owen by Tony Riches

Postby Rowan » Thu November 17th, 2016, 6:07 pm

I was thrilled to learn of this book that covers the life of Owen Tudor, the Welshman from whom the famous or infamous Tudor Dynasty stems.

When the story opens, Owen is roughly 22 years of age and he is about to meet his new mistress, Henry V's widow, Queen Catherine of Valois. Henry has died, leaving behind his young wife and a son, who will become Henry VI. Henry, in turn, will be the ineffectual ruler who causes the Wars of the Roses to begin and it is Owen's grandson, Henry (VII), who will be the one who brings the Wars to a close.

Owen falls in love with Catherine and they marry in secret and then go on to have four children, three of whom survive. Edmund, the eldest, is the father of Henry VII with his wife Margaret Beaufort. Jasper, the second son, was a military leader for his half-brother, Henry VI, and also raised his nephew, Henry Tudor who would become Henry VII. Jasper lead a big army on behalf of his half-brother until he lost at the battle at Mortimer's Cross. It was there that Owen's story came to an end as he was beheaded as a traitor.

I learned about this book through a group on Facebook and when I learned who it was about, I jumped at the chance to learn more. I mean everyone knows how Henry VII married a Yorkist to effectively end the Wars of the Roses. We all know his son Henry VIII who had six wives. We all know the first queen of England in her own right, Elizabeth, and the path she took to get to the throne. We know all of the famous members of the Tudor Dynasty and hundreds of books have been written about them all, but little is written about the man who started the dynasty, though it wasn't that much at the time. If Owen hadn't followed his heart despite the risk of Henry VI (or any of his councilors) imprisoning him, history might've been a very different story.

The book is written first person present, which is an unusual point of view to write from, but Riches pulls it off well. Though admittedly there were a few spots where I wondered if he had originally written it in third person as most stories are told then went back and changed it to the first person present that got published. There were also some startling leaps in time that I wasn't prepared for, which could've been overcome with better spacing. Despite these technical glitches I would definitely recommend this book to anyone interested in little known persons of history. I believe there will be a follow-up which covers Jasper Tudor's life. I look forward to reading it.

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MLE (Emily Cotton)
Interest in HF: started in childhood with the classics, which, IMHO are HF even if they were contemporary when written.
Favorite HF book: Prince of Foxes, by Samuel Shellabarger
Preferred HF: Currently prefer 1600 and earlier, but I'll read anything that keeps me turning the page.
Location: California Bay Area

Re: Owen by Tony Riches

Postby MLE (Emily Cotton) » Thu November 17th, 2016, 8:55 pm

Thanks for the review--I downloaded a sample of this, and found it well-written. I meant to order it, but it dropped 'below the fold' on my kindle.
(One quibble, though--the first Queen of England to rule in her own right wasn't Elizabeth, but her older sister Mary.)

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