To Hold the Crown tells the story of Henry Tudor (King Henry VII) and his cataclysmal reign as England’s sovereign. Henry, descendent from the House of Lancaster, marries Princess Elizabeth of York (daughter of King Edward IV), therefore uniting the two houses and ending the War of the Roses. Henry rules wisely and justly in an attempt to strengthen England, both financially and politically, following years of civil war. His reign is not without great trials; Henry must deal with the mysterious disappearance of the Princes in the Tower (the younger brothers of his wife Elizabeth), the Yorkists who are displeased with the upstart Tudor King as well as the pretenders to the throne and those whose claim to the throne is greater than his own. On top of his political problems, Henry is concerned with getting as many heirs as possible- only 3 of his 7 children survive into adulthood.
This was not one of my favourite Jean Plaidy novels. I found this one to be somewhat difficult to read and to finish. The story dragged on in some parts and the constant changing of point of views was extremely annoying. This made the story disjointed and it interrupted the flow. Now, I am not totally against telling the story from different points of view, but it must be done in such a way that it does not take away from the story or have the reader wondering who is talking now and when did it change – something that I found myself doing quite a bit while reading this novel. I also found that there was not much of an actual plot, but that it was more so a chronicle of the life of Henry VII. The way that the story was written was more so a biography of Henry VII and not a historical fiction novel as there was no romance, no real drama and not a lot of fiction – it seems as if there was a ton of history to be crammed into a 500 page novel and there wasn’t any room left over for the fiction part. I would have liked there to have been more of a romance story between Elizabeth and Henry, instead it seems like Elizabeth was just used as a breeding machine and that they solely tolerated each other, as long as Elizabeth did what Henry wanted. Finally, there was a lot of repetition in this book which was exasperating, I felt like I was reading the same thing over and over again.
Definitely not one of my favourite Jean Plaidy novels and I have to say that I was rather looking forward to reading this one and I was greatly disappointed.