||Spun Stories Press
||October 22, 2011
THE BRIDE PRICE is the first in a series of four books about Cecylee Neville (1415-1495), mother of Richard III and Edward IV, Queen by Right and Abbess. This tale of Cecylee’s girlhood will appeal to readers of YA novels.
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Cecylee is the apple of her mother’s eye. The seventh daughter, she is the only one left unmarried by 1424, the year she turns nine. In her father’s eyes, however, she is merely a valuable pawn in the game of marriage. The Earl of Westmorland plans to marry his youngest daughter to 13-year-old Richard, Duke of York, who is close to the throne.
This is a splendid match, for if anything were to happen to three-year-old King Henry, Richard would be King. But what about Cecylee? Does she want to marry Richard? Does she want to marry at all? For by the age of ten, Cecylee has already experienced too much violence at the hands of men.
Set in the years following the great English victory at Agincourt in 1415, the novel shows Cecylee surrounded by a household of clever and resourceful women who read Chaucer’s The Wife of Bath’s Tale and other subversive manuscripts, which colors her attitudes about marriage and the role of women. Does she wish to marry Richard? Does she wish to marry at all? For at the age of ten, Cecylee has already experienced too much violence at the hands of men.
Castle Raby, Scottish Marches
The Feast of Saint John
June 24, 1424
Today they tell me I must behave.
I’m not allowed to laugh loudly, stare, or make
I must put on my best gown, the pink silk damascene
with the long train, balance my heavy headdress on my head,
and play my psaltery. The king’s uncles are coming to visit.
Today, they decide if I’m suitable enough to be made
Duchess of York, and maybe queen. Richard Plantagenet,
Duke of York, the boy I’m supposed to marry, is only
thirteen, but they say he will be the richest peer in the
kingdom when he reaches the age of twenty-one.
“But that’s not for years,” I point out. “I’m only nine
years old. Why do I have to do this now?”
“Richard is the king’s cousin,” Audrey, my mother’s
maid, tells me. “If the king were to die, Richard would be
king. Your father wants to secure your future now.”
I sigh. Sitting in stuffy rooms listening to Mama and
Papa and all those important people they know wearies me. If
you are the Earl of Westmorland, like Papa, and the king has
given you the task of guarding the English border against the
heathenish Scots, then you must want to know many such
people. But I prefer to frolic under one of the huge trees that
surround the castle.
I turn my head slightly, and Audrey mutters as she
stuffs my thick blond hair into the netting under the
headdress. Sliding my eyes to the right, I can just make out
the shapes of the trees through the newly glazed windows of
our rooms in Bulmer’s Tower. Bulmer’s Tower is a five-sided
tower shaped like an arrowhead that stands apart from the
rest of the towers comprising Castle Raby. It can be easily
defended from a sudden raid on the castle, so Papa decreed
The Bride Price 7
that all of us should live here. The trees seem small and very
Historical fiction at its best
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4.0 out of 5 stars HISTORICAL FICTION AT IT'S BEST April 18, 2012
Thwarted Queen divides into four books: book one THE BRIDE PRICE, book two ONE SEED SOWN, book three THE GILDED CAGE, book four TWO MURDERS REAPED.
THE BRIDE PRICE is about Cecylee Neville's girlhood. When Cecylee was nine years old she was betrothed by her father to his thirteen year old ward Richard Plantagenet, 3rd Duke of York. When Cecylee father, Ralph Neville died, bequeathing the wardship of Richard to his widow, Joan Beaufort. Joan, prevented the marriage between her daughter and Richard because she was her mothers baby daughter, apple-of-her-eye, and she wanted to keep her close to home. Twelve years later Richard returns looking for Cecylee, all he wants is to marry the girl that he loves. Cecylee is not sure if she wants to marry, she is happy being a educated young woman with her own voice. But, when she sees Richard and the young man he has become she decides marry him is what she needs to do...this is where book one ends.
Cynthia Haggard is a exceptional writer, THE BRIDE PRICE is written in first-person and it gives a pure innocence of Cecylee the young girl. The story flows quickly, pulling you along. Her descriptions of scenery and action of the characters made you feel like you were with-in the book. I hightly recommend looking at this four part series, it is worth the read.
I recieved this book from the author for a honest review, thank-you for a wonderful story.
Great start to the series
I found myself gradually getting swept into this book. I felt the innocence of a young woman come across and the story really grabbed my interest the further I got. It sets the pace for the series and I particularly liked the author's note which helped me put it all into perspective. A 3.5
Why to read this book
The Bride Price by Cynthia Sally Haggard has preformed a delicate balance that can be very difficult when writing any historical fiction; and she did it very well. This book will enchantment avid readers of historical fiction and those that are thinking of giving it a shot of any age. Cynthia Sally Haggard has been able to bring a fresh and light tone to the story of Cecylee de Neville while keeping within plausible reality. I really enjoyed that the author provided family trees, and short bios of the prominent people within the story. It helps not only people new to the history but also people who are familiar but need a little help keeping people straight. Here I must note and compare another book about the same subject such as Queen by Right by Anne Easter Smith being the closest. While I have read both books I must say that both are very different and will not disparage either, as I enjoyed them both. While both books are about the same person each has a very different tone and emphasize different parts of the story, sources and plausible actions taken by people hundreds of years ago. So do not fret, as The Bride Price by Cynthia Sally Haggard will be a very different read and should not be put aside as an attempt of imitation. All said read this book as it is very fun and sets the rest of the series up very well and holds great promise.
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