When I think of historical fiction, I think of the Middle Ages. I think of kings, plagues, treaties and other such paraphernalia that just does not interest me. For this reason, I tend to stay away from the genre.
However, The House of York by Terry Tyler is a historical fiction novel with a twist. Tyler rejuvenates the events of the Wars of the Roses* by bringing them into the modern day.
*In English history, The Wars of the Roses was a series of wars between the Lancasters (represented by the Red Rose) and the Yorks (represented by the White Rose) between 1455 and 1487 in a bid to claim the throne.
The plot follows Elias York (King Edward IV), Gabriel York, (George Plantagenet, brother of Edward IV) Richard York (brother of Edward IV, the infamous King Richard III) and a whole host of other characters, who also correspond with other historical figures. There is a struggle for control over the York family business, called Parhelion, mirroring the various battles which took place for control of England.
The House of York is filled with rivalries, marriages, secrets, affairs and many tense moments, keeping me truly enthralled for most of the novel.
I particularly liked the regular shifts in narration, so I could see events from different character perspectives, allowing more insight into how each character’s mind worked and what their ties to everybody else were.
I also liked “watching” the home lives of the characters. I’m a huge fan of The Sims series, and to see characters get married, have children, go to work and grow up in The House of York, like they can in The Sims, was fulfilling and entertaining.
Richard York’s creepy exploits were incredibly dark but intriguing, and so this storyline was my favourite narrative in the book. I felt absolute disgust at this vile man, emotions I may not have felt so strongly had it been written as a piece of historical fiction set at the time.
However, whilst I liked Terry’s hints at the supernatural, they were far and few between; the notions of premonitions and auras didn’t feel developed enough for me.
I also found that some parts of the book, based directly on the context of the 1400s, seemed to be uncomfortably “shoe-horned” in. The various mothers regularly whined and worried about their sons’ inheritance rights and all the teenagers kept running off left, right and centre to get married. Though these would have been undoubtedly natural events in 1400s, these elements just didn’t seem to fit within the context of the present day.
All in all, I genuinely enjoyed reading The House of York and it was a refreshing way to experience historical events without being bogged down in archaic language, and the other paraphernalia I mentioned earlier! If you enjoy historical fiction, I strongly recommend that you read this book.
Star Rating: 4/5 Stars