Within the Hollow Crown: A Reluctant King, a Desperate Nation, and the Most Misunderstood Reign in History – by Margaret Campbell Barnes – independent book review – Historical Fiction (England)

Some title, huh? 

Although I usually love the historical novels of the late Margaret Campbell Barnes (1891-1962), this one wasn’t a favorite. Awarded three stars on Goodreads. (Worth Noting: It was reading Barnes’s novel, Brief Gaudy Hour –about Anne Boleyn— that launched me on a life-long love of historical fiction!) 

This one is a coming of age story about England’s King Richard II who comes to the throne as a boy and struggles against his powerful and jealous uncles to assume the power of the throne. 

In this novel, Richard is a sympathetic character (not the way he is usually portrayed) longing to do right but misunderstood by his powerful relatives and many in his kingdom. Not sure if I buy this version totally but it IS a different perspective on the events leading up to Richard’s ultimate murder.

King Richard II

The story of Richard’s great love for his first wife, Anne of Bohemia, is very touching as is his affection for his second child bride, Isabella of Valois. In fact the most interesting parts of the book are Richard’s relationships with the women in his life. Aside from his two wives, there’s his mother, Joan, and his nurse who plays a key role in his psychological well-being.