The Last Plantagenet? by Jennifer C. Wilson #BookReview #BlogBlitz

The fireplace hadn't looked like a time-portal. 
All Kate had wanted was a fun, relaxing day out, watching the knights jousting at Nottingham Castle. What she ended up with was something quite different. 
Transported in a heartbeat from 2011 to 1485, how will Kate handle life at the Ricardian court? Even more importantly, how will she cope when she catches the eye of the king himself?

I'm delighted to be one of the hosts for the last day of the blog blitz for The Last Plantagenet? by Jennifer C. Wilson today today. Many thanks to the author and Rachel Gilbey from Rachel's Random Resources for inviting me and for my ecopy of this short story.
A few months ago I accompanied a class of Year 5 children on a taster day to the local secondary school and sat in with a group of them in a History lesson as they discussed whether Richard III really was the villain he is often portrayed to have been. Many decided he probably was a ruthless and wicked king but some couldn't decide and a few thought he could have been maligned by history and the evidence of his supposedly evil acts wasn't enough proof to condemn him. In The Last Plantagenet? Jennifer C. Wilson has imagined a king who definitely falls into this latter category and instead of the cruel despot depicted by Shakespeare, we see a Richard who is is just, honourable and loving though undoubtedly burdened by his Royal duties and the ever-present threats to his reign.
The story actually opens in 2011 as Kate visits Nottingham Castle for a historical re-enactment of the Wars of the Roses. She ends up learning far more about the period however, when the fireplace in the kitchen turns out to be a time-portal and she finds herself in 1485, in the clothes of a servant girl. This is only a short story so events move quickly and it's clearly not meant to be a true account of the time but the author has clearly researched the period well and although the main storyline may be far-fetched, the historical details still give a sense of authenticity to the proceedings. Kate is a likeable character whose love of history means she is able to pass as a woman of the time, though there are a few near misses. There's a poignancy that comes from her knowing that the Battle of Bosworth looms ever closer as she realises that she must let events happen as they are supposed to and not to interfere with history.
A well-rounded short story can be tricky to pull off but Jennifer C. Wilson has succeeded well here.  In just 68 pages she has created characters I cared about, a touching romance and a real sense of danger; both from Kate's fear of discovery and the question of whether she will get back to her own time.  The ending left me with a smile on my face and I loved that the story came full circle with the reburial of Richard III's skeleton in Leicester Cathedral. I love historical fiction and time-slip novels and though short, I thought the The Last Plantagenet? was an engaging, escapist read which thoroughly entertained me for an afternoon.

The Last Plantagenet? can be purchased here. Details are below if you'd like to check out some of the other posts on the blog blitz.

About the Author
Jennifer is a marine biologist by training, who developed an equal passion for history whilst stalking Mary, Queen of Scots of childhood holidays (she since moved on to Richard III). She completed her BSc and MSc at the University of Hull, and has worked as a marine environmental consultant since graduating. 

Enrolling on an adult education workshop on her return to the north-east reignited Jennifer’s pastime of creative writing, and she has been filling notebooks ever since. In 2014, Jennifer won the Story Tyne short story competition, and also continues to work on developing her poetic voice, reading at a number of events, and with several pieces available online. Her Kindred Spirits novels are published by Crooked Cat Books and available via Amazon.

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