I was re-reading The Daughter Of Time on my iPad in the dark and trying to remember Henry VII's relationship with Owen Tudor(grandson, so not that long before) and, as you do, I googled him. I found him easily in the entry about Katherine De Valois with the help of my friend Dr Wikipedia and you know how you follow links, so when I got to the bit about "historical fiction" I couldn't resist following the link to Rosemary Hawley Jarman, thinking, well, at least she's alive! She has a Goodreads profile and a website, for goodness sake!
Wrong. In fact, she died on March 17th, three weeks ago, and it wasn't in the newspapers and it's not all over social media that I know of. SF fans make a huge noise when one of their own dies, but not so much historical fiction buffs, though I follow some blogs I would have thought would mention it.
So, for those of you wondering who I'm talking about, she was the author of a number of historical novels, of which I've read four. Three of them are about Richard III - well, one of them more or less, anyway. The Courts Of Illusion is about Perkin Warbeck, but it's in the same universe, because one of the viewpoint characters is the son of a fictional character who died in We Speak No Treason, executed by that horrible man Henry VII for fighting for his anointed king. So, I've read We Speak No Treason, The Courts Of Illusion, Crown In Candlelight(Henry V) and her Elizabeth Woodville novel, The King's Grey Mare.
When I read We Speak No Treason, I was in the middle of a Richard III binge, reading everything I could lay my hands on. I was enchanted by the visuals. And the tactileness. You could see it happening, feel the rich fabrics described. You could almost hear the music, the trumpets blowing, feel the chill of a winter morning and the warmth of May Day. I have read a lot of Richard III stuff since then and there's some great books around, but none affected me like that one. IMO, it's her masterpiece and would gave been a classic even if she never wrote another thing - but she did.
The King's Grey Mare was the next one I read - believe it or not, I discovered it serialised in a women's magazine! I faithfully collected them, with their illustrations and all, and may still have them somewhere on my bookshelves. I was glad, though, when I could read it properly in book form. It was still beautifully written, though not, I think, quite as good as We Speak No Treason. I can't put my finger on it, I just didn't enjoy it quite as much. It was interesting, though. Like the first book, it was told from different viewpoints, Elizabeth herself, Edward IV, his bastard daughter Grace Plantagenet, even Henry Skinflint VII. Unlike the first, it isn't in first person, making it a bit more flexible. And despite the thing being a sort-of romance, serialised in women's magazines, this isn't sympathetic to Elizabeth Woodville. Not once she starts going after her second husband, anyway. There is a touch of fantasy here, with Melusine the fairy ancestress being very real and able to help Elizabeth get what she wants, whether it's a royal husband or revenge on an enemy. Interesting to note that in her later years RHJ wrote some fantasy novels, though set in a world more like the Austro-Hungarian Empire than the Middle Ages. I haven't read them yet.
You can't ignore Elizabeth Woodville, by the way. Through her first marriage, she is the ancestress of a large chunk of the current British royal family. Go check it out.
In The Courts Of Illusion, the family of The Man Of Keen Sight(never named in the first novel, except jokingly as "Mark Eye", but called Mark in this one) follow Perkin Warbeck. I haven't read it in years, alas!
Crown In Candelight went back to the reign of Henry V and was seen from the viewpoint of his Queen, Katherine De Valois. The trouble is, I haven't read that one for some time either, and tend to get it mixed up with Martha Rofheart's Cry God For Harry. I can see I will have to do some hunting up of those books - I bought the first two in ebook, so have re-read them recently.
I see that she also wrote a couple of non-fiction books, but if they're available in ebook, I can't find them, so may have to see if I can get my local bookshop to order them in.
There has been a spate of historical fiction in recent years, including Richard III novels. I haven't read much of it, though I'm currently reading and quite enjoying the Cromwell novel, Wolf Hall by Hilary Mantel; I got it for $4.99 when it was on special in iBooks. I just can't bring myself to read the more soap opera ones of the last few years, I don't care how many of them land on the box.
And now, no more Rosemary Hawley Jarman! All I can say is that she lived longer than Terry Pratchett and was writing all the way. Vale!