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Reviewed by Lucinda E Clarke for Readers' Favorite
Faithful Traitor by Samantha Wilcoxson follows the story of Margaret Pole, one of the last of the royal Plantagenet dynasty, who lived through the reigns of Henry VII and his son Henry VIII of England. We first meet her when she’s already married and soon after gives birth to her fourth surviving child. She is close friends with Catherine of Aragon, who was first married to Prince Arthur and later to his younger brother, Henry. We follow the events of Margaret’s life, sometimes at court and when she retreats to one of her many residences in the country. We suffer with her as her fortunes decline, and smile when the Poles are again raised up in favour. Margaret never forgets for one moment that any member of her family could be seen as a threat to the throne. As Henry’s health declines and his behaviour becomes more and more irrational, the threat comes closer.
I thoroughly enjoyed this book, and read it almost in one sitting. I could identify with Margaret Pole in Faithful Traitor; the background was thoroughly researched and authentic. Samantha Wilcoxson takes you back to the Tudor court, describing clearly the architecture, the daily life, and the traditions demanded by those close to the royal family. In choosing the Pole family, the author has broadened the Tudor playing field, highlighting one of the involved families who are generally not mentioned too often in books of this period.
As I turned the pages, I was there beside Margaret, mopping Queen Catherine’s brow, playing with her grandkids, and worrying about the behaviour of her children, two of whom were not careful about speaking out in a manner considered traitorous in those days. This is not only a great story about the Tudor times, but about a woman with the same emotions and moods we can identify with today. We are reminded at the same time of the brutality which was common in those days, and mourn each loss Margaret Pole suffers as a wife, sister, mother, and grandmother. I am happy to give this book 5 stars; it really deserves them.