The Exiled

   Posted by: Julia Redlich   in

Posie Graeme-Evans, The Exiled. Simon and Schuster (Australia), Pymble, 2003.  ISBN 0 7318 1265 4

This is the second part of the saga that began with The Innocent last year, in which we met Anne de Bohun, the beautiful illegitimate daughter of Henry VI, who won the love of the handsome young king, Edward IV.  Needless to say the king’s wife, ambitious and grasping Elizabeth Woodville, was not happy with the situation and Anne was forced into exile.  Despite misgivings about some historical inaccuracies in the text, it was generally admitted that this was an exceptionally exciting read.

Three years on we find Anne now the mother of young Edward, but proclaiming herself aunt as a form of protection.  She has established herself as a successful merchant in Bruges and, being a woman, this antagonizes her male competitors and several attempts are made to destroy her and her business.  The responsibility for this war of hate is a mystery.

When Princess Margaret of York arrives to wed Charles, Duke of Burgundy – the lengthy celebrations are brilliantly portrayed – Anne meets her lover once more.  He has accompanied his sister on this important political occasion, and this is the first time he learns of his son.  And what a role this little boy could play in English history.  The son of a king, whose wife has so far only borne him daughters, and the grandson of another king.  The Wars of the Roses is all about succession and this child, bastard or not, is doubly entitled to the throne.  It is not surprising that Anne is forced to flee into a strange sanctuary and entrust the life of her precious boy to her closest companion.

But there is an ever-present danger and violence, jealousy and ambition all conspire to keep King Edward and Anne apart.  Ricardians will be glad to know that “our” Richard is solidly in the background for his brother and loyaulte me lie is all too apparent.  It is a fascinating tale, as colourful and intricate as the marvelous fabrics that are Anne’s livelihood.  This medieval tapestry of a story is richly dramatic from the very first sentence and should delight all readers who are as passionate about these times as the author.

(This review was first published in Affinity Newsletter of the Richard III Soeciety Sydney Branch in December 2003)