Thwarted Queen

Young Adult, Romance, General Fiction

By Cynthia Haggard

Publisher : Spun Stories Press

ABOUT Cynthia Haggard

Cynthia Haggard
Cynthia Sally Haggard was born and reared in Surrey, England. About 30 years ago she surfaced in the United States, inhabiting the Mid-Atlantic region as she wound her way through four careers: violinist, cognitive scientist, medical writer, and novelist.    Cynthia graduated with an M More...



THWARTED QUEEN is a portrait of a woman trapped by power, a marriage undone by betrayal, and a King brought down by fear.

It is 1424. Lady Cecylee Neville is nine years old. Her girlhood comes to a sudden end when her father,  Ralph Neville, the Earl of Westmorland locks her up, to ensure her betrothal to Richard, Duke of York takes place.

It is 1441. Cecylee, Duchess of York is 26 years old. While her husband, Duke Richard is away fighting the French, Cecylee has a love affair which produces a child (the “One Seed” of Book II), who becomes King Edward IV. Somehow, Cecylee persuades her husband Richard, Duke of York, to accept this child as his own, even as he has the power to lock her up, or dispose of this illegitimate son.

It is 1483. Cecylee, Queen By Right, the King’s mother is distraught by the news of her son’s sudden death. King Edward IV was only forty years old, and had seemed in good health. He was a strong king who held together various political factions. With his death, all hell broke loose. If this sounds familiar, it may be because Season One of Game of Thrones takes its inspiration from the sudden death of a strong king (Robert Baratheon or Edward IV) and the war that broke out between the Starks and the Lannisters, or the Yorks and the Lancasters.

This novel contains many voices, not least those of the Londoners, who forged their own political destiny by engaging in public debate with the powerful aristocrats of the time - Humphrey, Duke of Gloucester (the King’s uncle), Richard, Duke of York (the King’s cousin) and Richard, Earl of Warwick, (known as Warwick the Kingmaker) - and set the stage for American Democracy.

I started to write this novel about Cecylee Neville when I heard that Michael K. Jones, a British historian, had been combing through the archives of Rouen cathedral and discovered that Cecylee's husband Richard of York was absent for 5 weeks during the summer of 1441. Nine months later, Cecylee's son Edward, who later became King Edward IV, was born. This piece of research seemed to give credence to the idea that Edward was illegitimate. I wrote the novel because I had a burning question: What on earth did Cecylee say to her husband when he returned home from fighting the French?