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BOOK ONE

ELIZABETH OF YORK: THE LAST WHITE ROSE

History is written in black and white.

Her story begins with white and red.

Elizabeth of York.

 


Elizabeth of York.
Mother. Survivor. Queen.

AN ENGLISH PRINCESS, BORN INTO A WAR BETWEEN TWO FAMILIES.
 
Eldest daughter of the royal House of York, Elizabeth dreams of a crown to call her own. But when her beloved father, King Edward IV, dies suddenly, her destiny is rewritten.
 
Her family's enemies close in. Two young princes are murdered in the Tower. Then her uncle seizes power – and vows to make Elizabeth his queen.
 
But another claimant seeks the throne, the upstart son of the rival royal House of Lancaster. Marriage to this Henry Tudor would unite the white rose of York and the red of Lancaster – and change everything.
 
A great new age awaits. Now Elizabeth must choose her allies – and husband – wisely, and fight for her right to rule. 

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Limited-edition proofs.



EDITORIAL RECEPTION

"I finished the novel this weekend and it’s wonderful! The world Elizabeth is born into is such a fascinating one – rich, turbulent and on the cusp of great change, and you feel this so keenly as a reader. I was totally immersed. Elizabeth herself is such a gift of a character – what an extraordinary woman. I love how you set her up as the woman who paved the way for the great Tudor queens (and kings!) to come. It’s both incredible and tragic that she could never rule in her own right, and yet she believes – and knows – so fervently that this is what she was born to do, and conducts herself deliberately to that end. The complex dynamics over the years between Elizabeth and Richard III are so compelling, and I was so taken by how nuanced her feelings towards him are, right up until the end when she learns his true role in the death of her younger brothers. That strand too is beautifully played out – I was incredibly moved by how torn the adult Elizabeth is between maintaining a glimmer of hope for her brothers and knowing that their being alive would threaten her position, that of her husband and the succession of their children. She suffered such great loss; her feelings towards Arthur and the scenes following his tragic death are particularly poignant and dovetail superbly with what we see of this difficult time from Katherine of Aragon, and yet she set so much in motion too."

"What an extraordinary, inspiring and heart-wrenching read! Elizabeth’s role at the heart of this intricate, conflicted dynasty proves so instrumental in the politics both of her time and the century ahead, and that really comes to the fore with the novel’s huge moments of revelation and discovery about both Elizabeth herself and the complex world she must navigate. The merging of the two great families through her is incredibly powerful, and her mix of resolution, determination to take up the position she was born for and pragmatism in the face of impossible situations makes a unique and deeply absorbing portrait of a fascinating queen. I also really enjoyed the characterisation of the kings with whom she interacts – including the young Henry VIII to be – and the insight she offers into their motivations and wielding of power. Also, the pattern of serious, quiet heir and boisterous, charming second-born prince seems to resonate through the generations.
  I’m intrigued and moved by the themes of parenthood here, and the complicated relationships with both children and parents that are represented through Elizabeth and many other characters – Lady Stanley and Henry have as interesting a relationship as Elizabeth and her mother, and of course, Elizabeth’s conflicting emotions about her sons have such a powerful impact. I think this theme particularly struck me because it carries throughout the Six Tudor Queens series, and allows a deep empathy from the reader to these characters who are so distant from us in time, yet must pick their way through the same deep and raw emotions.
   There is an extraordinary amount packed into what I realised at the end was a tragically short life – one imagines what influence Elizabeth might have had if she’d lived to see Henry VIII on the throne. It’s a wonderful opening to the new trilogy."

"Let me say again how much I enjoyed this novel.  Her story is so fascinating and you tell it so engagingly. The interweaving of her life and the background events is so well done. For an American who hasn’t studied this history, which I think British readers have to at least some degree, you make it understandable without it ever feeling instructive. This novel is just so rich in characters, history and events—I think it’s really one of your strongest ones."

"Elizabeth walks such an interesting line of total faith in her divine right to the throne and how she goes about influencing the political sphere given the constraints of her time, and every threat and machination of court that works against her. She endures, when so many others do not…"


REVIEWS

"I was gripped from the first page to the last. With Elizabeth of York, Alison Weir gives us her most compelling heroine yet: an extraordinary woman who survived against the odds to found the most famous dynasty in British history. It’s an absolutely wonderful book. It’s a cliche to say I couldn’t put it down, but true nonetheless! Utterly addictive - and, at the end, heartbreaking. Rich in period detail, the treacherous, often deadly world of the Plantagenet and Tudor courts is vividly realised and the portrayal of Elizabeth herself is strikingly human. This is where the story of the Tudors begins and is historical fiction at its absolute best." (Tracy Borman, author of Crown and Sceptre: A New History of the British Monarchy)

"This is Alison Weir’s best novel yet. A queen too often seen as a blank slate, a cipher, emerges from the shadows as a living, breathing, acting human being. What dramas Elizabeth of York knew! –imprisonment, murder and incest. Yet she emerged as foundress of our most famous dynasty.  Those of us familiar with the history can enjoy seeing all the sources slot into place. Those who aren’t, have the delight of discover a truly staggering story." (Sarah Gristwood, author of The Tudors in Love and Blood Sisters)

"A triumph! Alison Weir’s Elizabeth of York  has captured the vast sweep of history of the last Plantagenet kings through the tumultuous life of Elizabeth of York and her ability to survive and thrive in a most treacherous world." (Susan Ronald, author of The Ambassador, Pirate Queen and Heretic Queen)

“Weir provides a realistic feel for the worry Elizabeth’s family experiences as their fortunes shift, especially after Richard III usurps the throne following King Edward’s death, and her brothers disappear while in his custody. The story gives a coherent, convincing picture of the treacherous political climate and its many players and reveals why Elizabeth plots to marry Henry Tudor. Weir’s thorough approach to her subject is impressive, as is the sumptuously recreated atmosphere of late-medieval royal life.” (Booklist)

"A detailed and rich portrayal. Alison flawlessly presents a fictionalised account." (Devon Life)

"Weir tells the story through Elizabeth’s eyes, narrating it in the first person. As with all her books, it is superbly readable and engaging. I doubt we will ever tire of the Tudors, not while we have novelists like Weir to bring them to life." (Historical Novels Society)

"This latest novel is a true historical feast which I very happily gorged on. To put it mildly, I absolutely loved Elizabeth of York: The Last White Rose. [It] is a novel that completely consumed me, captured my imagination, educated me and emotionally moved me.I am really excited about what’s to come!" (Novel Delights)

"The author's in-depth knowledge of the Tudor age helps to lend credence to the story, particularly in the warm and loving relationship between Elizabeth and Henry. Beautifully written and meticulously researched as all of this author's writing, I found much to enjoy in this comprehensive account of Elizabeth of York's short life. Politics, passion and intrigue all combine to paint a dramatic picture of the tentative early years of the Tudor dynasty and, thanks to the joy of good historical fiction, we can spend intimate time with Elizabeth  and be a fly on the wall at some of the most momentous events in early Tudor history." (Jaffareadstoo)

"This is a well-researched book, full of rich detail bringing this world to life. I would recommend this book to anyone who loves well written and well researched historical fiction and fans of this particular time should definitely read this book." (Series Book Lover)

"A new series of novels featuring three generations of the Tudors is an enormous treat for fans of historical fiction, and this portrait of a woman, a “Mother, Survivor, Queen” is as carefully and vividly written as any of Weir’s other novels. I found it a powerful and well written story. Alison Weir is a historian with a deep knowledge and understanding of the Tudor period. She writes fictional portraits of the people of the time, especially the women, from a rich wealth of resources and research. Yet this book, as with her others, creates a real sense of the people and their emotions and motives for what they did. Weir has used her considerable skills to give a credible portrait of Elizabeth in her context. I recommend this book to those who have some knowledge of Elizabeth of York, as they will discover possible aspects of her life, as well as those for whom she is an unknown quantity. It is a powerful book of female led historical fiction, and beautifully written." (Northern Reader) 

"The spellbinding story of Elizabeth of York, the first Tudor Queen. This Yorkshire lass enjoyed reading about Elizabeth of York, and I look forward to reading more by Alison Weir in the future. Happy to recommend for historical fiction fans." (Mentoring Mum)

"For many history enthusiasts, I’m sure this book will be a delightful dive into an important historical figure whose story is often overshadowed by the men around her. Full of historical detail and dealing with some famous mysteries from the time, there’s a lot to sink your teeth into." (Ramblings of a Nobody)

"I truly adored this book from the beginning all the way to the end. I am looking forward to the next book in the trilogy! It was my first book by Alison Weir, but it won’t be my last – I am already eyeing up The Six Tudor Queens collection. Many thanks to Headline Review for the copy of this wonderful book." (Monika Reads)

"This is definitely one for people with a fascination for history." (Jen Med's Book Reviews)

"This is a beautifully researched book and as a reader you feel in very safe hands with Weir. Her Elizabeth feels true to what we know of her through historical fact but also breathes life into her and makes her feel very much like a real person with feeling, ambition and intellect rather than a distant figure from history. Her story is incredibly compelling and I couldn’t tear myself away from the pages. Weir blends fact and fiction deftly and with great care and I absolutely recommend The Last White Rose to any fans of historical fiction." (Life With All The Books)

"This being Alison Weir, the historical foundation of the book is firm which allows the reader to relax into the story without worrying about the accuracy of what they are reading. For anyone fascinated by the rise of the Tudors it is a must read novel about the woman who secured their dynasty, and a riveting imagining of how life must have been for a woman buffeted by the winds of a fate that was out of her hands. I thought it was marvellous and a welcome addition to my collection of novels about the period." (A Little Book Problem)

"There is nothing I enjoy more than a historical fiction and I have heard that Alison Weir is the absolute queen of the genre! Incredibly this is the first of her books that I have read and it certainly won’t be the last (the Tudor Queens series has been on my Wishlist FOREVER). I just love losing myself in these stories - political intrigue, strong female characters, passion… I just got swept away by this story and can’t wait to read the rest of the series (this is the first of a trilogy). It is evident how much Weir has researched in order to write this story so authentically and it just feels so intense while you are reading. I loved this book - definitely recommend it to my fellow history fans!" (Sara's Bookstagram on Instagram)

"When, as a lover of historical fiction, I heard that Alison was embarking on a new series of books the Tudor Rose Trilogy. I literally clapped my hands in glee and anticipation, how could I not! History fans everywhere (my self included) are already enamoured with Alison’s skill at reanimating and reimagining our Tudor heritage, with her extensive knowledge and in exquisite detail. For me, Alison is masterful at marrying factual history with insightful, intuitive, and imaginative fiction, allowing her readers to inhabit the lives of remarkable, resilient, regal women; whose vital roles in our past all too often have been relegated to the margins and footnotes of the past we are taught. Through Alison’s exceptional articulation,  
"The author is very knowledgeable about her subject and she uses her knowledge to create a compelling story. I  enjoyed seeing things from [Elizabeth's] viewpoint as it helped me to understand how the characters would have been feeling in response to the political developments of the time. There are also some emotional moments and I was really able to empathise with the characters. I loved being taken back to the period and the writing is so descriptive that I felt I was living it with her." (Portable Magic) 

"There is plenty of period detail to soak up as you follow Elizabeth's tale and you know that the author is fully in control of her information. This novel, although lengthy, varies you through her story and I can highly recommend it to anyone who loves this period in history." (Books, Life and Everything)

"A well researched & brilliantlly written story that blends historical fact with the imagined thoughts & feelings of Princess Elizabeth of York. a superb exploration into the life of woman who, along with her husband gave us the Tudor dynasty & possibly the most infamous English King, Henry VIII. History buffs & Tudor fans are definitely going to enjoy." (Natasha Leighton on Instagram)

 I absolutely loved this book! Alison Weir has real gift when it comes to telling the stories of royal Tudor women. Incredibly well researched, this book had me hooked, even though I knew the outcome! I highly recommend Elizabeth of York: The Last White Rose." (historyart10 0n Instagram) 

"Everyone who has loved Weir’s Six Queens series will gulp this down." (Tudor Times)

"Weir tells the story through Elizabeth’s eyes, narrating it in the first person. As with all her books, it is superbly readable and engaging. I doubt we will ever tire of the Tudors, not while we have novelists like Weir to bring them to life." (Historical Novel Society)

"Just brilliant. One of the great women of history, trying to survive treason, murder and war, all to save her father’s kingdom. Nail-biting, exciting writing. History has the best stories and they should all be told like this." (Conn Iggulden)




UK holding jacket, 2021.

FIRSTBORN
UK E-SHORT: a prelude to the novel



The Palace of Westminster, 1466. As the Queen of England lies in her chamber, exhausted from childbirth, the court awaits news of the longed-for heir…
 
The King
Edward prays for a son to ensure the succession of his line.
 
The Godfather
Warwick knows his influence over the King cannot last.
 
The Grandmother
Cecily hopes her new grandchild will one day bring great fortune to England.
 
The Friend
Lord Hastings fears the growing hostility within King Edward’s inner circle.
 
The Young Rival
The boy Henry does not yet know his own significance.
 
The Uncle
Richard visits the new baby – and dreams that night of a golden crown.


UK TRADE (AIRPORT) PAPERBACK




THE SANDS OF TREGANLLAW



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History Hack Podcast - History Hack: Elizabeth of York with Alison Weir | Free Listening on Podbean App

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