The Lady of the Ravens
by Joanna Hickson
This title was previously available on NetGalley and is now archived.
Pub Date 9 Jan 2020 | Archive Date 20 Jan 2022
HarperCollins UK, HarperFiction, HarperCollins
Elizabeth of York, her life already tainted by dishonour and tragedy, now queen to the first Tudor king, Henry the VII.
Joan Vaux, servant of the court, straining against marriage and motherhood and privy to the deepest and darkest secrets of her queen. Like the ravens, Joan must use her eyes and her senses, as conspiracy whispers through the dark corridors of the Tower.
Through Joan’s eyes, The Lady of the Ravens inhabits the squalid streets of Tudor London, the imposing walls of its most fearsome fortress and the glamorous court of a kingdom in crisis.
Available on NetGalley
Average rating from 158 members
Thoroughly enjoyed this entertaining glimpse into the late 15th Century. Having always been fascinated by the belief that while there are ravens in the Tower, our country will be safe - it was fascinating to have this as a large part of the story. Other real life historical characters contributed to bringing this fictional tale to life and the author very cleverly marries the two together. She shows us how, even though life then must have been treacherous, with the fear of death by disease, childbirth or even execution - there was also happiness, love, joy and friendship. A great all round story.
The Lady of the Ravens by Joanna Hickson. This is just the kind of historical fiction I love. Joanna gives a great insight into Joan and Queen Elizabeth. I love the unveiling of the political drivers and how the women of the day managed to educate themselves and mentor others. The development of the fictional lives allows for great insight into the challenges of the era too. Those poor child brides and how lucky was Sim to have Joan and Richard’s protection. The only disappointment was the abrupt ending when I expected more- I’d forgotten this was Book 1! Can’t wait to see what happens next. A great read.
I enjoyed this read so much! The story of Joan and her family during Tudor times is just compelling. The story begins when Joan is very young and in service to Princess Elizabeth, who became the wife of Henry VII and progresses through her life to adulthood. Her arranged marriage to Richard Guildford, also in royal service is a great success despite her reservations. She becomes step mother to his 6 children before becoming a mother. The story tells of her fascination with the ravens at the Tower of London and her determination to protect them as legend says that if the ravens were to leave the tower the kingdom will fall. I enjoy learning about history and in particular the Tudor era. Reading a novel with historical facts makes it easy to learn. My first read of this author and I look forward to reading more of her books. Thank you netgalley and Harper Collins for the opportunity to read and review.
Having finished The Lady of the Ravens I prepared to write my review but the more I thought about the book I had just read, the more I wondered about the accuracy of the characters and this burgeoning early Tudor period. Over the next two days I became more and more fascinated as I delved into the actual historical facts on which Joanna Hickson based her novel and realised just how much research she has done and the way she has breathed life into these characters, adding to the mix the charming ancient myth surrounding the Ravens of the Tower. A very satisfying read and the abrupt ending does, I hope, mean that Joanna Hickson is prepared to take us further down this particular path of history. The fact that Joan (Giovanna) Vaux, Mother Guildford, lived to the remarkable age of 75, retaining her influence within the Tudor court, promises that there is plenty of room for more. I thoroughly recommend this book.
The Lady of the Ravens, Joanna Hickson Review from Jeannie Zelos book reviews Genre: historical I loved this, it was a book I savoured over several sittings, not devoured in one go. I find for me that works better with historical reads, gives me time to mull over events, to think about the characters and actions, with them being so far from how we live now. I really enjoyed the day to day bits, what they wore, what they ate, Joan chatting to her friend in the sewing trade, what each person did in the duty of the royal household. I loved it when we finally got the Raven connection, that seemed to take time and I found the story a little slow at first. Henry 7th isn't someone I've read a great deal about, I know him from the periphery of stories about his son, and of course the whole York/Lancaster issues. Turbulent times to live in when one could be royal one day, deposed and in the tower the next. Of course that stood for followers too, one day landed gentry, the next everything goes to the crown and they were out, let live if lucky, tower or death if not. Hard decisions, yet as Joan sees, however one sympathised if a potential heir was living the followers would always be a danger, even if there was no intention on the potential heir's part to rule. I enjoyed reading about his royal household, the children, though was sad at how fragile life was even for royal families. Disease and death was very prevalent then, and even royals succumbed far too often. Reading too about how children were sent away from families at such a young age, for politics, for family power, for alliances and of course for their personal futures was hard. Seemed really sad to me, that close family contact was rare in wealthy households, that parents had children they rarely saw, and who could be sent hundreds of miles away, to other countries even when still only very young. They grew up quickly then, as we see from their speech and education while still little more than toddlers. I loved reading about Sim and the Ravens, about Joan's championing of them and the issues she faced. Its a fictional snippet of history with roots in reality, and certainly the Raven/Tower legend is still strong. I believe the Ravens actually have their own guardians officially now. Joanna is an author new to me, I'd be happy to read more from her when in the mood to get lost back in history for a few hours. She writes in a way that had me totally immersed in what was happening, feeling it was real, and that's always the best stories for me. Stars: Five. I thought at first it was a little slow, but that's really scene setting as I discovered when I read further, and its a book I thoroughly enjoyed. Arc via publishers and Netgalley
I really enjoyed this book. It is a compelling read, with well-drawn characters, and a real sense of the period. Once I had immersed myself in it, I found it very difficult to put down.
I love a good Historical Novel and I have read Hickson before, hence why I requested this novel, took me a little while to read it, due to personal restirctions, but it was worth the while, as this did not disappoint. I really liked her First of the Tudors books and was excited to read this, as mentioned previously. As with all her novels, she tells a great story and makes the charecters come alive , Joan was a great charecter to read, I have read so many novels that set themselves in the Court of Henry VIII and really felt it was about time that i read more about his father's court. As you read, you get to know more about said court and of course of Joan, whom I became quite attached to whilst reading, Please can we have more! I hope this comes out on audiobook as I would love to revisit it one day.
The story of how the Tower of London and the monarchy of England will fall if the Ravens leave, is the background to this fascinating story, of fifteenth century Tudor history. Shown from a feminist perspective, the trials of being a female in those days, must make us modern women, feel so thankful for advances in modern childbirth, marriage laws and a general enlightenment of the value of females today. Tudor women, especially those of Royal blood, were married early, usually to gain advantages of land, titles, very rarely was love considered. Child brides could be mothers at thirteen, and dead by sixteen. Such turbulent times, meant you could on the throne one day, and deposed and imprisoned the next. Breeding was done for children to rule the land and create powerful alliances, females were to bring advantageous marriages. The narrator of this story, is Joan Vaux, who is in Royal service. I recognised the name when I requested this book,as I lived about 20 miles away from Harrowden Hall, when I lived in Northamptonshire, but I didn't know the full story of this lady. I found this book to be a very well researched story about the early Tudor court, and I learnt a lot about this family. The amount of detail was fascinating, and never dealt with in such detail, when I was studying this period at school. I do hope there will be others in this series, I strongly believe that the small and often neglected details of the time, especially the female views, show the greatest understanding of that historical period. The life of the females was often neglected, but is so rich in that so many diaries and notes, have been made and then forgotten, and I am delighted that this rich source of material is being discovered and used at long last. I will look forward to the next book in this series, a definite five star read.
Having read the story of The Brothers York this book provides an interesting sequel. It is of a different style as it focuses on the life and career of a noble but lowly chamber maid to the Queen consult of King Henry at the start of the Tudor Dynasty. How she becomes interested in the Ravens of the Tower and succeeds in saving them when men wanted to kill them also provides an insight to the politics of the time. The Brothers York was a tragic story but in contrast this has a happy ending as she rises in the Queens service and finds unexpected true love along the way.. A most enjoyable read.
A wonderful story full of detail that brings alive the fifteenth century when Henry VII defeats the King and takes the throne. The lady at the centre is Joan Vaux whose mother served Henry's mother and now it is joan's duty to serve Elizabeth of York and she is privy to a lot of secrets that take her to meetings at the Tower where she discovers the ravens and literally falls in love with their quaint ways and believes that the Tudors will reign only when the ravens stay at the Tower. Full of vivid detail and at the centre you understand the risks that women underwent in childbirth. Joan has a marriage arranged with Richard Guildford but is also approached by another who she turns down. She becomes a stepmother to six and her difficulty coping with the brood is beautifully explained. This novel pulls aside the curtain of life at court and is a great read!
Joan Vaux is a young woman in the court of King Henry VII, her mother is one of the ladies in waiting to Henry’s young queen Elizabeth. Joan herself is fascinated by the ravens which reside at the Tower of London, and builds a relationship with them, feeding them and encouraging their presence – she finds herself much derided, particularly by Sir Henry Wyatt, a senior member of the king’s team. As the girls around her marry, Joan is terrified of the prospect, and above all terrified of the prospect of childbirth. It seems marriage is not something she can avoid and she is soon forced to choose between Sir Henry Wyatt, and the recently widowed Sir Richard Guildford, neither proposer being someone she wants to accept. The story continues exploring Joan’s marriage, her new role as stepmother, and her promotions up through the rank of the queen’s ladies. Joan is a fascinating character, and I found the story compelling. I’ve not read any of Joanna Hickson’s work before, but have dipped into Philippa Gregory, and this is the best comparison – definitely on a par.
I absolutely fell in love with Joan and her ravens. This book is well written, well researched and utterly captivating, transporting you back in time with ease. A must read for historical fiction fans.
I love historical fiction set in Tudor times and this time I was not disappointed at all. I loved the storyline and the characters, The story tells us about the women that history usually forgets. Highly recommended!
It’s not often that I read a historical novel as I always worry the will be a little dry and boring. This cannot be said of this book though. I instantly became friends with Joan Vaux, around who this tale is told. What an absolutely wonderful character, strong, loving, and very good at her job it would seem! England under the Tudor’s was an exciting time, and this book really brings all of that to light, I struggled to put this book down and I was really sad when it ended. Overall an absolutely cracking historical read.
A well written story that was full of passion and above all friendship. Mother Guildford. Is shown as a strong person who was loved by all she met. The story depicts life under the start of the Tudor reign so realistically. I loved the fact that the ravens played such a large part in the story as I also grew up knowing that the day they left the Tower would be the end of England. These birds now have a special place at the Tower and no-one would ever try to harm them. Lady Guildford would be so pleased. The descriptions of the characters, places and social events have all been clearly described. For anyone interested in historical based stories, this one is highly recommended. The Tudor period was one of the most influential and exciting time of our history and warrants such a lovely insight. I look forward to reading more by this exciting author.
A great book set in the reign of Henry vii if you like philippa Gregory and jean plaidy you will love this. Full of historical detail you can tell the author loves her subject.
What a brilliant read this was. Many people are aware of Henry 8ths wives and his adult life but it is interesting to become familiar with his parents Court and the intrigues surrounding the beginning of the Tudor dynasty. All of this is brought to us through the eyes of Lady Joan Guildford a confidant of his mother Queen Elizabeth but also a lover of the ravens of the Tower of London and the belief that they are the guardians of the dynasty. Lovers of this genre and fans of Phillippa Gregory will adore this book.
Historical Fiction at its best: In 1485 The Wars of the Roses ended on the battlefield of Bosworth Field, in which the reigning King Richard III lost his life and Henry VII won the previously disputed throne. Henry VII was the first Tudor Monarch, a dynasty which was to last until the death of Queen Elizabeth I in 1603. Henry's marriage to Elizabeth of York (whose brothers perished in mysterious circumstances in the Tower during the reign of Richard III) in 1486 effectively united the claimants to the disputed throne and was to usher in a period of relative calm to English history. His marriage to Elizabeth was also symbolic of Henry's determination to bring the previously warring factions together and make the Tudor dynasty one of the greatest in Europe. Although initially a marriage of expediency it appears that Henry VII and Elizabeth were to have a loving marriage. However, Tudor Courts were full of intrigue, potentially deadly, and it is against that background that Joanna Hickson sets her novel, "The Ladies of the Raven". Narrated through the lives of Henry's wife, Elizabeth of York, and her Lady-in-Waiting, Joan Vaux, the reader is made aware that to survive in the Tudor Courts of England it was a necessity to keep one's eyes and ears open to plotting and intrigue. It is to that factor which the "Ravens" of the title refers. The two women, who are brought vividly to life by the author, used subtle influence and guile against those who they perceive as a threat to their own positions and the throne. The influence of women in the Courts of the day should never be underestimated. Exceptionally well researched, although rather lengthy at 466 pages, the pages soon fly by as the reader is carried along by Joanna Hickson on an enthralling and educational journey. For lovers of Tudor historical fiction and historical fiction in general. I thoroughly enjoyed the novel.
I really enjoyed this book set in Tudor times. Elizabeth of York and Joan Vaux find themselves drawn together. The research of the historical detail was both compelling and very interesting. I am looking forward to Queens of the Tower Book 2.
My thanks to Netgalley & HarperCollins UK for an advance copy of this book in exchange of an unbiased review. I try to avoid spoilers and do not go into plot details except when it is unavoidable. Joan Hickson has an enviable reputation of deep knowledge and understanding of England's medieval period. And a catalogue of historical books to her name. So, when a new book is published along with the title of a new series, -Queens of the Tower, Book 1, we know we are in for a well research volume with a good read and long ride. Some have criticized it for being slow, but I think Mrs Hickson is carefully laying the groundwork for other books in the series. I must also declare and interest in that I am waiting with bated breath for the last in the Wolf Hall trilogy and this new pasture giving a fair background to life in the early Tudor period is just what i wanted as a warm up. I will follow The Queens in the Tower with interest and if they come up with the quality promised in this first volume I will be well pleased. Five stars all the way.
Great addition to the fictional Wars of the Roses genre, focusing on a key participant who us often pushed to the sideline by the men if the story. Well written, with almost no anachronistic errors and a compelling voice.
This is a fantastic book! I love historical fiction, especially during the Tudor period. This caught my eye because if the cover and the referencing to thw ravens, which are a fixture of London Tower. I thoroughly liked getting to know Joan Vaux and she tells a powerful story, it immersed me in the book and didn't let go until the very last page. A big thanks to Netgalley for allowing me to have a copy to read and review.
Historical fiction at its best Jane and her ravens drew me in kept me involved.A book i didn’t want to put down& go back to my real world.Highly recommend the book the author. #netgalley#harpercollinsuk
I’m a huge fan of historical fiction, particularly books set in the Tudor era, so this book really appealed to me. I hadn’t read much about Joan Vaux before so I found it very interesting to learn more about her story. I really liked Joan who came across as a very clever, honest lady who doesn’t take herself too seriously which made me warm to her. I also liked her husband Richard who underneath everything was a lovely, kind man whose love and loyalty to his family shined through. I enjoyed reading about the two of them throughout the book. There is some amazing historical details in this book which helps make the era come to life. I especially enjoyed all the vivid descriptions of the big events like the coronation and Henry’s marriage to Elizabeth which made me feel like I was actually there watching everything unfold. The author has clearly done her research and I liked the way she managed to blend the historical facts into the story making it really come to life. The novel is set in and around the tower of London which I found fascinating as I don’t remember reading many books set there. The presence of the ravens made the book stand out to me and I liked learning more about the myths surrounding them. They also added a bit of a dark, almost gothic feel to the book as it felt like they were always watching and waiting! Overall I really enjoyed this book and found it to be very absorbing and intriguing. The author paints a bleak picture of life at that time and all the dangers that were around then. I found myself feeling very glad that I didn’t live then especially, as a woman I think I’d have had a hard time. Huge thanks to Anne Cater for inviting me onto the blog tour and to Harper Collins for my copy of this book. If you’re a fan of author’s like Philippa Gregory then you’ll enjoy this book as the styles are similar.
4.5 stars rounded up. Well. I have to confess that in recent years, I have had an aversion to historical fiction of the Tudor era. This is largely because I get bogged down in all the different characters of court, often with the same name. How many Margarets, Mary’s and Elizabeth’s, Henrys and Edwards do you need?! So this author did a fantastic job of keeping everyone straight in my head. I enjoyed this book because it concerned the period where Henry VII came to the throne. I’m so bored by stories concerning Henry VIII and Elizabeth. And another attraction to this book was the thread about the ravens and their establishment at the Tower of London. A fascinating and charming story that has reinspired my interest in the earlier years of the Tudors, before it really became a dynasty. Many thanks to Netgalley for an arc of this book.
I love historical fiction and really enjoyed this book. Set in Tudor times in the reign of Henry VII this book is well written and a fantastic story. I highly recommend The Lady of the Ravens
The Lady of the Ravens opens in 1485 just weeks after Henry Tudor had taken the throne to become King Henry VII of England and Lord of Ireland. This is historical fiction about the early years of Henry’s reign as seen through the eyes of Joan Vaux, a lady in waiting to Elizabeth of York, whose marriage in 1486 to Henry united the Houses of Lancaster and York after the end of the Wars of the Roses. Henry comes across as a competent king, which is really all I knew of his reign before reading this book. I’ve read Joanna Hickson’s earlier book about him, The Tudor Crown, which is about his early life and how he gained the English throne. Joan Vaux also features in a small way in this book. In The Lady of the Ravens he is shown to be determined to hold on to his throne, dealing with several Yorkists’ claims to the throne, in particular those of Lambert Simnel, who claimed to be Edward Plantagenet, 17th Earl of Warwick, Elizabeth’s cousin, and Perkin Warbeck, who claimed to be Richard of Shrewsbury, Duke of York, who was the second son of Edward IV, Elizabeth’s brother, one of the so-called Princes in the Tower. It is also about his family life – his marriage to Elizabeth,,the births of their children (three of them died in childhood), and his concern for his subjects – for example both he and Elizabeth were present at Joan’s wedding and we also see him enjoying dancing at court. Joan Vaux is also a real historical character – her mother, Katherine was French and had been a lady-in-waiting to the former queen Margaret of Anjou (the wife of Henry VI).. Joan had served Elizabeth as a woman of her bedchamber before Elizabeth’s marriage to Henry and, after her own marriage to Sir Richard Guildford, as a lady-in-waiting. And before that she had been brought up in the household of Lady Margaret Beaufort, Henry’s mother. Joan became a good friend and confidante of Elizabeth, even after her marriage and the birth of her son Henry, known as Hal, who also became a good friend to the young Prince Henry. The fictional element is in the story of Joan’s fascination for and care of the ravens of the Tower of London firmly believing in the legend that should the ravens leave the Tower for good then the crown will fall and ruin will return to the nation. I came to really like Joan, a warm and caring woman. Joanna Hickson goes into detail describing the traumatic birth of her son and the lives of ordinary people outside the royal court. It is a rich and vibrant novel, full of action and political unrest. I particularly like the glimpses we see of the ill-fated Prince Arthur and his bride, Katherine of Aragon. And I was especially delighted by the portrait of Prince Henry (who later became Henry VIII) as a young charismatic child of nearly three. His father was furious about the imposters’ claims to the throne and had decided the best response was to invest his younger son as the trueborn and genuine Duke of York. Little Henry, with his bright red Tudor hair, was mounted on a gleaming black warhorse strapped into a specially made high-backed jousting saddle and escorted by his great-uncles, the Yeoman of the Guard and the King’s Archers as they processed around the streets of London to Westminster. He was in his element, waving to the crowd who cheered and threw flowers as he went by. This novel is beautifully written, grounded in its historical context, full of colour and life. I loved all the descriptions of the various settings, especially the Tower of London, and the ravens. My grasp of English history in this period was very hazy and I learned a lot reading this book, especially as the characters came to life on the pages, but most of all I loved the portrayal of Joan Vaux, Lady Guildford. And I see from the Author’s Note at the end of the book that there is more to come about her, including a mystery, her second marriage and her close relationship with Katherine of Aragon and the early years of Henry VIII’s reign. I’m looking forward to reading that!
I very quickly bonded with this intelligent, sparky young woman, whose unfashionable looks didn’t bother her all that much, as she had developed a horror of marriage and childbirth. Through her eyes, in first person viewpoint, we get a real sense of her life as an attendant of Elizabeth of York, betrothed to Henry VII, the first Tudor king after years of savage fighting during the Wars of the Roses that tore apart the kingdom. I’d studied this period of history, so knew a lot about the events Hickson covers in the book – but it was a real joy having such a ringside seat to this fascinating time. Through Joan’s eyes, we see Elizabeth’s life unfold as the Yorkist princess, having to put aside her grief for her lost brothers (the princes in the Tower) and her dead father, as it is her place to found a new dynasty. Hickson’s thorough research builds up a vivid sense of daily life, where Joan is at the beck and call of her royal mistress, learning of events that shake the kingdom through the people at the centre of it all. I knew that childbirth was a major issue for women up until medical advances made it safer, but this book brought home to me the sheer terror of facing such an ordeal with no effective painkillers and a high death toll from the likes of breech births and secondary infections. There was also the heartbreak of losing babies and children, who also were carried off by diseases and infections in very high numbers. I’m aware that I’ve made this book sound a rather dreary round of catastrophes and death – and it’s nothing of the sort. Joan is a bright, engaging character with plenty of spirit and is strangely drawn to the ravens who roost around The Tower. She is aware of her good fortune, has a loving relationship with her mother and her benefactor, the Lady Margaret who looked after her while her mother was busy at court. It was interesting to see that Tudor working women had the same strains on their personal lives that we experience in modern life. I’ve noticed that Hickson has written a number of other books centred on this period and I’m going to see if I can get my hands on them. Her deft, lively writing style and detailed knowledge that gave the book such a strong period feel without compromising the pace or narrative arc meant that I found this one difficult to put down. Highly recommended for those who enjoy historical adventures set around the Tudor period. The ebook arc copy of Lady of the Ravens was provided by the publisher through NetGalley in return for an honest opinion of the book. 9/10
It was a fascinating and engrossing read that kept me hooked till the end. I loved the well researched historical background, the mix of historical facts and fiction, and the well crafted plot. The characters are well developed and interesting, the historical background is fascinating. It's the first book I read by this author and won't surely be the last. Highly recommended. Many thanks to the publisher and Netgalley for this ARC, all opinions are mine.
The story centres around Joan Vaux and her relationship with the Queen. She is also known as the Lady of the Ravens. I am not a fan of historical novels but this book is brilliant, it builds around Henry VII and therefore we are introduced to the young Henry VIII and his siblings. Fascinating, brilliantly written would so recommend.
The Lady of the Ravens is the latest book from the wonderful historical fiction author Joanna Hickson. When she was a young girl Joan Vaux was told the story that if the Ravens leave the Tower of London then the Kingdom will fall. Little did she know how significant the Tower will be come in her life, and the ravens that guard it. Lady of the Ravens is the story of Joan Vaux and her relationship and friendship with Elizabeth of York from when she marries Henry VII in 1485 and unites the houses of York and Lancaster under the Tudor name. Two very different women, but a friendship founded in trust and loyalty that lasts through a very turbulent time in English history. This book is set during one of my favourite periods of English and European history, a time of uncertainty in England with a new King and a new ruling house, the Tudors, when the queen Elizabeth of York was more popular than her husband and always the threat of Yorkist rebellions. Joan Vaux is a character I have come across before, but later on in her life in Henry VIII reign, so I thoroughly enjoyed learning more about her early years. Joan, brought up in the household of Lady Margaret Beaufort, mother to Henry VII, and this is how she becomes companion to Elizabeth of York before her marriage and her Lady in Waiting after. Very different in their appearance, one dark one fair, and in their position in life, but Joan is intelligent, speaks four languages, is well read all of which make her an ideal companion to the queen. I loved reading about her early life, how her attitudes changed, how she progressed and rose in position to Elizabeth, found love, and her determination to care for and protect the ravens at the tower. She sees their intelligence where others see them as stupid birds, she sees the beauty in them, where others see them as ugly and understands their importance where others see them as vermin. Whilst this is set during Henry VII reign, this book is more about the woman in that time. As well as Joan and Elizabeth, Lady Margaret Beaufort and Dowager Queen Elizabeth, Elizabeth of Yorks mother, a formidal pair, both play important parts in their story; there is no doubt that Henry VII was surrounded by strong and intelligent women. I really loved the historical detail in this book, the contrast of life in the royal palaces against the life teaming on the streets of London, with its dirt, smells and crowded streets. Many people associate the Tower of London with death and imprisonment but here we see how it was used as a treasury, a place of protection for the Royal Family and as a home to Joan Vaux. I have always been intrigued by the character of Perkin Warbeck, said to be Richard Duke of York, one of the Princes allegedly killed in the Tower by Richard III, so was excited when he made an appearance; he was a real threat to Henry VII with many wanting to believe he was who he said he was, so the son of Edward IV who could take the throne from Henry and restore the house of York, a popular idea to many. The Lady of the Ravens is a magnificent and sumptuous read, with an intriguing main character in Joan Vaux. Joanna Hickson writes with skill and detail about this period and the myriad of events that make this such a fascinating period of history to write about. In her author biography Joanna Hickson says she spends a lot of time in the fifteenth century, and I felt I was there with her. Another rich, colourful and spectacular novel from Joanna Hickson, and I’m excited that this is the first in a new series.
A cinematic and mesmerising tale of how the ravens came to be appreciated and respected at the Tower of London. It ends rather abruptly but that may be because I read it as an ARC and I am very much looking forward to the next book in the series.
Joan Vaux is at the very centre of the new Tudor monarchy. A close friend of the queen, Elizabeth of York, at a time when the monarchy is nervous and conspirators are working to undo and overturn the King. This is an incredibly well researched book, with many of the characters based on real people, which really brings the story to life. Details which were particularly hard hitting were those on childbirth and the mortality rate for young women. Really eye-opening! I found that I really cared about Joan and her family, and followed their story avidly. A great historical read!
I really enjoyed this book! A great story line that kept me hooked and excellent main characters. I would highly recommend this book.
This was a detailed and engaging portrayal of an intriguing woman, you could tell how much research had gone into it. I didn't know anything about the Vaux family so found it really interesting and I was quickly engrossed in the storyline . You see all the court intrigues through the eyes of the main female protagonist, Joan Vaux. , we follow her through marriage, child bearing and see how she manages to navigate court life without resorting to the scheming of the other courtiers. As she marries Sir Guildford she becomes the Queens lady in waiting and we see the relationships between the royal house hold through her eyes. I liked her character so Much, she was Elizabeth's confidante and helped her through some harrowing experiences. This was definitely an interesting period with politictal turmoil rife. Joanna Hickson has managed to write an engaging and thoroughly thought provoking narrative. I would thoroughly recommend it to anyone who likes Phillipa Gregory or Alison weir
When the email about The Lady of Ravens first popped into my inbox I was delighted. Absolutely delighted. I love historical fiction and I barely read any last year. 2019 was the year of the thriller for me, but I’m hoping 2020 will be a little bit more varied. Anyway. I love a good historical read and in particular I really enjoy books set around the Tudor period. The Tudor history is so rich, opulent, intriguing, interesting and a big bit murdery. The Lady of the Ravens was set in the early years of Henry VII’s reign as seen through the eyes of Joan Vaux, who was a lady in waiting to Elizabeth of York – who then goes on to marry Henry and unite the Houses of Lancaster and York. So, I was excited to get stuck in… As of tonight, I haven’t finished the book. I’m not even close. I only got my copy today, so I’ve just managed to squeeze in a couple of chapters. And so far it is good. Very good. And very readable. I will be returning to the 14th century as soon as I am done writing this blog post. And I am looking forward to it. I get the sense from the beginning that Joanna Hickson has managed to strike the fine balance between fact and fiction. When I read historical fiction I primarily want to be entertained, but I also want to get a real sense of the time period, the historical figures and the daily lives of the characters. I want it all. And I have high hopes for the rest of The Lady of the Ravens. I will report back… UPDATE - It was a great read, a full 5 star read! I couldn't put it down and I flew through the pages as I followed the lives of the characters - Highly recommended.
I enjoy historical fiction that weaves around facts and even more so when the story features a woman from history who had once been important but is now mostly forgotten. Joanna Hickson brings not only this tumultuous time in history to life but she makes Joan very relatable in this first story of the Queens of the Tower series. Joan (baptised Giovanna) Vaux held key positions in the Tudor court - lady-in-waiting to Elizabeth of York, Lady Governess to Princesses Margaret and Mary and wife to Sir Richard Guildford. She is 21 when we meet her. Something flashes her back to when she was 8 which links in to the ravens. As the title suggests, ravens are important! I enjoyed these scenes and found the information fascinating. I think my favourite has to be Sim’s demonstration, probably because of how emotionally involved I was! Joan would be very impressed with how the ravens in the Tower are cared for now! Amidst the turmoil of the Flemish pretender and the rebellions from Cornwall, Joan’s life and relationships at court unfold. I was so absorbed in every detail that it felt as if I was living this life. And it’s the little things that are fascinating too. I never knew that one of the occupations ever existed … Conflict comes from not only court intrigue but an unexpected source which kept me wondering how this would impact on the story. Society’s expectations we may worry about and fear today are also things that affected Joan. It was easy to identify with her as a lover, a mother, a friend and confidante and protector. The Lady of the Ravens was a page turner for me. Highly recommended.
This book was a brilliant read and one that is perfect to escape for a few hours and loose yourself. A great read.
Choosing the ravens as a focus for this book provided Hickson with an interesting anchor that served to provide a more personal account of this period of history. This hook is especially important for me as, although an extremely keen reader of historical fiction, I tend to become lost when there are too many historical facts churned out. Hickson's use of description provides colour and that necessary element of reality that not all historical novelists manage to conjure up. Although I still personally find this first person narrative approach less enjoyable I do appreciate that it enables Hickson's main character' to convey her feelings and emotions to the reader. This reminded me very much of Jean Plaidy novels and, as with those, I would very much recommend 'The Lady of the Ravens'. Thank you to Harper Collins and NetGalley for this copy in exchange for an honest review.
A complex story which the author has very clearly researched in extreme detail. The pace is sometimes a little slow but then so were the events described. Relationships are sometimes difficult to follow if ones own recall of the era are sketchy (as are mine) so this is more acriticism of the reader (me) rather than the author. The linear plot makes for an easy to follow narrative and the atmosphere is well crafted to the point where our ficticious character melds perfectly into the millieu in such a way as to be totally believable. Good fun and a cert for followers of this well drawn form of writing.
Praise Joanna Hickson and great historical novel that had me intrigued from the beginning. Told from a Lady In waiting to Elizabeth of Yorks perspective. Joanna guides you through the times with her descriptive narrative. Historical figures are bought to life wonderfully. A must read for any Tudor Fiction Fan.
England in the late 15th century was a time of change, treachery and the founding of a dynasty. Henry wants to establish the Tudors, and he chooses Elizabeth of York to help him. Joan Vaux, who has little outwardly in common with the new queen, gains entree into her world, through her unusual upbringing. The two women become close and live through one of England's most turbulent times. Joan finds much of her life revolves around the Tower of London and develops an affinity with the mystical ravens who live there. They are seen by some as symbols of the monarchy's strength, whilst many view them as pests and harbingers of death. Joan's life collides with the ravens at many key times, Important characters and points in her life are associated with them. This story creates an intricate tapestry of life at the time, the darkness, disease, treachery and unruliness. Historical characters are blended seamlessly with fictional ones, giving the story historical authenticity, and history an intimate drama of day to day life and iconic events. A rich, vibrant story told from a brave woman's point of view, who overcame her fears and obstacles of class and gender to lead a purposeful, rewarding life. Affairs of state, family drama, the role of women and a touch of romance make this easy to read. This dramatic story lets you experience the beginning of the House of Tudors. and 15th Century English life. I received a copy of this book from Harper Collins UK - Harper Fiction in return for an honest review.
Lady of the Ravens is the first in a trilogy of historical fiction. Henry Tudor has just taken the throne and hopes to unite the warring factions by marrying Elizabeth Woodville. Having studied Tudor history, I found this book to be incredibly detailed and fascinating. The Lady of the Ravens is based on the real-life Joan Vaux, who was part of the royal household, and became governess to the princesses. Joan is an incredible character. A scholar, a linguist and highly thought of by the Queen and King, she becomes the centre of this beautiful novel. She is fascinated by the ravens that nest at the Tower, and becomes their greatest advocate. They are said to protect the Tower and the Kingdom and she fights to ensure their survival. Joan is a mother, a wife, a lady-in-waiting, a champion for those in need, and a kind and compassionate woman. This first book ends with the marriage of Prince Arthur and Catherine of Aragon, and I most certainly look forward to reading the next book. History is brought to life with Hickson's wonderful writing that gives us an insight into life during this turbulent period of time.
A fascinating tale of Tudor times told by a very strong female character. I Loved the way the characters went well together and this book has renewed my interest in reading more Tudor based books, sometimes with other books in this era I got a little confused with so many characters sharing the same Christian name, this book was very clear about who you were reading about. This was my first Joanna Hickson book but it will not be my last. Thank you netgalley.
This is an amazing read for historical fiction fans. I loved reading about Joan and her ravens. It was written in a captivating way. I was immersed in the time period and the story completely. Great plot building and character development. Sublime research, and it shows. I highly recommend it. Thanks to the publisher and netgalley for this copy.