Enjoyable romp through the closing years of the pre Tudor monarchs, with lots of detail on the silk business; late medieval trades, guilds and hierarchies; Italian monopolies of silk cloth manufacture and international finance; and good coverage of the dynasties involved in the fast moving politics that marked the end of the Wars of the Roses.
The novel revolves around Isabel, (fictional?) sister of Edward IV’s mistress Jane Shore, and a London silkwoman who falls in love with the future King Richard III – he of “Princes in the Tower” infamy – after a chance tavern meeting as a 14 year old bride-to-be. Yes, not a terribly credible plot line, and there were some turns of phrase that didn’t sit comfortably (“back-up” – have we suddenly found ourselves in a 20th century crime thriller, dear reader?), but a good enough yarn to keep me turning all 400+ pages.
If you like Elizabeth Chadwick, you’ll like Vanora Bennett.
Amazon.co.uk link: Queen of Silks – Vanora Bennett