“Again Juliet Waldron has given us a well-crafted historical novel with a likeable (but not “feisty”, dread word) heroine. Waldron has a thorough knowledge of the period of which she writes, but never overloads her text with hard-to-digest gobbets of history. The story flows from its intense and immediately engaging start, through the highs and lows of turbulent history as observed by a trusted family servant, to its always sad ending. For this reader, Waldron’s greatest achievement in historical fiction so far is her often under-rated Mozart’s Wife, with her Genesee running it a close second, but Roan Rose shows the same strength of research and story-telling.”
~ Meredith Whitford, author of Treason and Shakespeare’s Will
“Waldron certainly knows her history . . . Yet despite accuracy for setting, Roan Rose is ultimately a book about character. Rose and Richard and Anne are all fully formed people with their virtues and faults, their moments of kindness and integrity . . . Rose walks an uncomfortable line between friend and servant. Her heart belongs to the two people who always stand above her, will never view her as their equal, yet who can never bear to part with her company for long.”
~ Dianne Salerni, The Eighth Day (HarperCollins, forthcoming.)
“. . . I liked the author’s evenhanded view of history and the fact that her characters do not divide neatly into heroes and villains. She obviously sympathizes with Richard but does not turn him into a saint. She lets Rose be as perplexed as many of us are today about the apparent contradictions in his character. Anne Neville’s first husband, Prince Edward, is also allowed a large measure of complexity. People on both sides of the battle lines are human and prey to frailties and human tragedies (though Henry VII’s mother certainly seems like a complete villain). This is, in other words, a grown-up’s view of history. Rose is a strong character with an interesting life of her own, apart from the royalty she loves and serves. All in all, Roan Rose is an enjoyable historical novel that manages to be romantic and also intelligent.
~ Phyllis T. Smith,
Historical Novel Society
“ . . . Another unique quality is the way the author manages to convey Richard’s supposedly cruel transformation upon claiming the crown after Edward’s death, with the additional mystery of the missing Princes in the Tower and the reasons for betrayers to change sides out of sheer greed or survival. The word “poignant” is almost an understatement throughout the entire novel.
Readers who love natural homeopathy techniques and medicines will love the extensive descriptions of what flowers and herbs are used for specific illnesses or problems in the 15th Century.
Rose, as well as a good friend, is also depicted as a romantic character in quite a surprising way, one not well-developed in other novels (although others write of Richard’s earlier liaison with Kate Haute). Rose, Anne, Richard also focus on how their religious souls are in jeopardy as so much of what happens in this novel is sinful or heretical, with a touch of the “old ways” or pagan rituals and beliefs.
A surprising amount of the story concerns the cruel suffering Anne Neville experiences as she is shuffled around as a political tool. The social issue of woman treated poorly is given fair treatment in these characters and the expediency of male will and actions thoroughly depicted and satirized. Finally, the atmosphere of the times – rich v. poor status the main division – is clearly delineated but in a way that shows the attitudes of contentment and hatred regarding living, work, health and other conditions.
This reviewer absolutely loved this novel and shortage of space here prevents me from sharing more (plus we don’t want spoilers for those not familiar with this famous historical albeit fictional account), but suffice to say Juliet Waldron is one very talented writer and I look forward to reading more of her books. Highly, highly recommended, delightful historical fiction!”
~ Viviane Crystal,
Crystal Book Reviews