Motivated by a desire to exonerate Richard III from the atrocities unjustly attributed to him by his enemies, Bridget Beauchamp composed this medieval romance, which sets out to portray this much-maligned monarch sympathetically.
The story imagines a liaison between its heroine, Eleanor, a simple country girl and Richard, Duke of Gloucester, destined to become Richard III, the last Plantagenet King of England. It blends elements of fact and fiction in a way guaranteed to intrigue and entertain any reader interested in this dramatic period of English history.
The story begins in 1468, when a chance encounter with the Earl of Warwick’s hunting party changes the course of Eleanor’s life and she finds herself in service at Middleham Castle, the imposing residence of the Earl’s family, the Nevilles, set in tranquil Wensleydale.
It is here that she first encounters the youthful Richard, the Earl’s ward, unaware at the time of his noble birth.
The two teenagers fall in love and soon afterwards he leaves the castle. She bears his child, but keeps the father’s identity secret.
We follow the events of Eleanor’s life through marriage, widowhood and brief encounters, whilst Richard fights his first battles, marries, returns to Middleham as its new Lord, is reacquainted with Eleanor, eventually becomes King, faces treachery and rebellion and finally, aged 32, dies in battle at Bosworth Field on 22nd August 1485.