Spanning over three decades, the Princess of Thorns spotlights the story of Cecily of York, the daughter of Edward IV of England. After her father’s demise, Cecily & her family find themselves in a precarious situation as contenders for the throne begin scheming to gain a foothold.
Amidst political marriages, self-isolation, and loss of loved ones, Cecily’s vested interest in the future of the Yorkist dynasty could have dire consequences for her position at court.
I love a good historical fiction novel with some drama, conspiracy, and headstrong characters. And Princess of Thorns delivers on all those accounts.
The writing style is just as splendidly ornate as you’d expect from a novel set in the 15th century. The vivid descriptions of the setting keep you immersed in the narrative.
Right from the beginning, the narrative covers ground with great speed in terms of events that are brought to light, plot developments that take place, and time jumps that are included.
Initially, I felt a little confused with all the names and status of characters that I had to keep in mind to understand the context of the developments, because understandably there are a lot of figures. But within a few chapters, it becomes easy to keep track of everyone’s role in the story.
Cecily’s friendship with Agnes and Thomas were two of my favourite storylines in the book, because the latter two are so blatantly honest with her, having no pretenses or qualms about her being the Princess of York.
Because of the nature of the story, and the sheer number of events that are worked into it, it was a little difficult to connect with a character or even understand any of them fully.
For instance, I would’ve really liked to know more about Elizabeth’s motivations, and Anne Neville’s position at court or even how Cecily, being as wilful as she is, allows her decisions to be moulded by those in power. A part of me understands that she is simply trying to play her cards right, but it would’ve been great to get some character development.
On the whole, I enjoyed reading this novel but would’ve liked for it to have been a little more character-centric rather than just with a strong emphasis on historical events.