A Tale of the Wars of the Roses, a book by Charlotte M. Yonge, is a beautiful story of kindness and patience. It is a 300 page book, published by Lepanto Press.
The story takes place all over England and in Bruges, Flanders. In the beginning of the story, they are in England. But when a horrible blame is lade against Grisell, the main character, the tale moves to Flanders until the end.
The book opens up in the year 1443 and closes in 1467. Through all these years the reader follows the life of Grisell. Throughout them she learns a great deal about life and soon learns also the cruelty of men.
I would consider this an adventure novel. It’s a little bumpy in the beginning as Grisell is tossed from place to place in search of somewhere where she will be cared for. In the end she is only safe with a couple that is not even from England.
In the beginning, Grisell Dacre is a kind young girl of ten. Her family is fighting on the side of the White Rose during the English civil war.
She is being raised in the Manor of Amesbury with the kind Count and Countess of Salisbury. Grisell’s life is a very happy one until her face gets burned by Leonard Copeland, the man she is doomed to marry.
After this catastrophe, she is sent to a convent to get better. The burn does heal, but her beauty does not.
Sir Leonard tells Grisell when he does not know who she is, “They say she has a face like a cankered oak gall or a rotten apple lying cracked among the wasps. ”
For this mishap Grisell is shunned by all that see her. Her patience is both tried and nourished throughout her unhappy childhood. She is then sent to her parents’ house.
They are very disappointed that their daughter’s beauty has been so badly marred. After Leonard is captured, he is forced to marry Grisell.
When Leonard is nearly killed, Grisell devotes herself to the work of patiently nursing him back to health. During this time she sails over to Flanders to avoid a cruel death.
The rest of the story focuses on Grisell as she tries to win her unwilling husband’s love. Will it ever happen?
Sir Leonard Copeland is a young teenager of thirteen when he finds himself also living at Amesbury. His family is gung-ho for the Red Rose.
While living at Amesbury, little Grisell drives him crazy by haunting his footsteps. Once, as they are standing by a barrel of gunpowder, Leonard seizes his chance to teach that Dacre girl not to get so close.
Grabbing a hot iron, he drops it into the barrel. KAWOOF!! Maybe that was a little too harsh! Instead of frightening poor Grisell, it burns her face!
Leonard pays dearly for that blow, but, with his childish way of thinking, he still thinks that she got what she deserved. After Grisell goes to the convent, the reader loses sight of Leonard.
The next time he appears is when he is captured by Grisell’s father. He has, by this time, fallen in love with a girl from the Red Rose party.
However, when offered an either or between marriage to Grisell or execution, Leonard chooses the wedding. As soon as he is married, he again disappears.
The third time he reappears in the story is when he is nearly killed, and Grisell is on the charge to save her husband’s life.
When Leonard awakes from weeks of fever, he has no idea who is taking care of him. He finds himself in a strange land where none speak English save his young nurse.
Leonard is still deeply in love with the other girl and even tells Grisell this, as he says, “Oh! She was fair, fairer than yonder star in the sunset…”
Will he ever be able to see through his blindness and understand who this loving, mysterious young English maiden is?
This novel was a little hard to follow as the author is from a very different era and wrote using strange phrases, but, all in all, it was an excellent novel and I would read it again.
Although it’s a very sad story it has a happy outcome and is very touching. I liked it as it was filled with suspense.
Once one thing is over with, another event happens and there is never a real sense of satisfaction until the last two pages.
This story had a “don’t judge a book by its cover” moral. Grisell, because she thinks she is ugly, tries to make herself loved by being useful and industrious. Grisell is loved by all because she attains this goal.
Thanks for reading my book summary! I loved A Tale Of The Wars Of The Roses and would read it again and again. It definitely deserves a place on every family bookshelf!!
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