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Roan Rose

a novel by Juliet Waldron

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Poppet, playmate, servant, lover – Rose gives her heart and a lifetime of service to the doomed and damned House of York.

cover of Roan Rose

Born to a peasant midwife, she is taken to nearby Middleham Castle by the Countess of Warwick, in the same way we might “rescue” a puppy. Here she becomes poppet and companion to the mighty Earl of Warwick’s frail daughter, Anne. Here she also meets Duke Richard, King Edward’s youngest brother, who is undergoing knightly training.

The three children form a kind of friendship. As they grow to adulthood, the War of Roses adds more chapters of violence and betrayal. Anne is almost lost to Richard forever when her father betrays King Edward and sets off another paroxysm of fighting between the Houses of York and Lancaster.

portrait of Richard III

The distance required by Anne’s high rank is asserted when she marries Richard. For her loyalty, Rose is given a husband “of her own kind,” one of the Duke’s archers. She now travels between village and castle, raising her family and nursing the sick.

Richard usurps the throne upon his brother’s death. The mysterious disappearance of his nephews in the Tower of London is first followed by the death of his heir and then of Rose’s beloved Anne. When Richard dies in battle, Rose returns to her village. Abandoned by her husband, she struggles to survive. Her royal friends are dead, but she has a last service to perform.

Roan Rose illuminates a lively, brutal medieval world. The painful pushes and pulls of a friendship unequal in rank and gender, the balancing of the needs of those whom she serves against the claims of her family, are Rose’s perpetual dilemma.

Pat Bertram & Juliet discuss Roan Rose

Read Pat’s November 15, 2012 blog entry about the book.

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