A Tale Of The Wars Of The Roses

Updated by Mary on February 28, 2020

a tale of the wars of the roses

"I loved A Tale Of The Wars Of The Roses and would read it again and again!"

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 Setting

A Tale of the War of the Roses takes place all over England and in Bruges, Flanders. In the beginning of the story, they are in England. But when a horrible accusation is laid against Grisell, the main character, the tale moves to Flanders until the end.

A Tale of the War of the Roses opens 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 which sadly includes the cruel nature of her fellow men.

This adventure drama is tragic in the beginning as Grisell is tossed from place to place in search of somewhere where she will be cared for, but in the end she finds love and safety as Divine Providence clearly had a plan for her.

Patient And Kind Grisell Dacre

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 boy she is intended to marry.

After this catastrophe, she is sent to a convent to heal. The burn does heal, but leaves her face grisly and scarred

Later in A Tale of the War of the Roses, Sir Leonard tells Grisell whom he no longer recognizes, “They say she has a face like a cankered oak gall or a rotten apple lying cracked among the wasps. ”

For this tragic scarring Grisell is shunned by all that see her. Her patience is both tried and nourished throughout her unhappy childhood. She is then sent away from the convent to her parents’ house.

They are very disappointed that their daughter’s beauty has been so badly marred. They later capture Leonard and only free him when he agrees 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 arrest for a false accusation of witchcraft.

The rest of the story focuses on Grisell as she tries to win her unwilling husband’s love. Will it ever happen?

Proud And Frank Sir Leonard Copeland

Sir Leonard Copeland is thirteen when he finds himself also living at Amesbury. His family is supports 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 a barrel of gun powder. 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. By this time, Leonard has fallen in love with a girl from the Red Rose party.

However, when offered an ultimatum: execution or marriage to Grisell, 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 estranged 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?


A Tale of the War of the Roses 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.

A Tale of the War of the Roses has an “ugly duckling” moral. Grisell, because she thinks she is ugly, tries to make herself loved by being useful and industrious. In the end Grisell is loved by all because of her beautiful soul that she so carefully cultivated. 

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's bookshelf!! 

-Teen A

Faustina Bowen is a founding member of industriousfamily.com. She is the second of ten children. This homeschool graduate likes writing scripts for movies, helping mothers with their babies and learning new instruments. She contributes to society at large by making wholesome movies and writing amazing articles and entertainment reviews.

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