Despite this quite provocative cover, Queen’s Ransom is more a straight forward historical novel than a “bodice ripping” romance. In fact, the original title (from the late 70s) was the more sedate, The Royal Consorts (and The Four Queens in the UK). Regardless of the title, this is the story of the Wars of the Roses from the point of view of the four queens from the period – Margaret of Anjou, Elizabeth Woodville, Anne Neville, and Elizabeth of York. Margaret and Elizabeth Woodville get most of the page time with Margaret’s sections told in first person and Elizabeth’s in third.
Unlike most historical novels about this period, the women are neither saints nor sinners – they are women trying to make the best of situations largely out of their control. Powers gives one of the most sympathetic depictions of Margaret of Anjou that I’ve read, without making her too good to be true. And although she utilizes the rumor of Margaret’s supposed affair with Edmund Beaufort, her motives are initially driven more by reason than lust.
Elizabeth Woodville also isn’t an evil w[b]itch (nor can she conjure up storms). Anne Neville is no whining milk-sop and she actually likes her first husband, but her section is hampered by her childhood nurse having to tell her everything that's going on via rumor, gossip etc. Elizabeth of York’s section is pretty short and even though she detests the idea of marrying Henry Tudor, she comes to realize that she alone has the power to bring about peace. I enjoyed Queen’s Ransom. At times it was a little melodramatic and some of the politics are rushed through, but I think it would make for a good introduction to the period (without the emphasis on the actual battles and its pretty tame sex wise).
In case the FTC asks: Bought it used