The Silver Bride

   Posted by: Julia Redlich   in

Isolde Martyn, The Silver Bride. Pan Macmillan Australia, Sydney, 2002.  ISBN 0 7329 1127 3

An extremely readable and well- researched novel in which the two leading characters of the author’s first historical novel(The Lady and the Unicorn), Margery and Richard, make brief appearances.

But the focus here is on the beautiful silvery-haired Heloise and her husband Miles, whom she was forced to marry by her ruthless father.

Miles is on the staff of Harry, Duke of Buckingham, and is one of his most trusted men.  But as time marches through the explosive year of 1483 and after the sudden death of the king Heloise and Miles find themselves swept into the struggle for power in England that involves Richard of Gloucester and Buckingham.  The scene switches from Buckingham’s castle in Brecknock to London, via the surprise takeover at Northampton and Stony Stratford.  After Richard becomes king, Miles has to come to terms with his discovery of Buckingham’s treasonable plots and choose whether to stay loyal to his master – or change horses in midstream?  Throughout this turbulent time he and Heloise find their relationship and their love for each other growing stronger and the reader’s pleasure in these two genuine people takes on an anxious edge as decisions are made as to their fate.

The “real” people are just as memorable.  We can agonise with Richard, admire the serenity of his mother, Cecily and be repelled by Margaret Beaufort.

Sadly, when the book was published in the USA, it was retitled Moonlight and Shadows (which seemed to have no connection to the story) and was given a sleazy bodice-ripper of a cover that was an unpleasant contrast to the charmingly delicate illustration – a tribute to the portrait of St Dorothy from The Master of St Bartholomew’s altarpiece that was used for the original.

One of the best fictional books about the period that contrasts the green and pleasant land that was England with the ruthless and relentless struggles that seethed among the power seekers.

To find out more about the author and her books, visit Isolde’s own website.