History 101: Richard III

History 101 is an original, regular feature here at The Pretty Good Gatsby that combines my two passions: history and reading. Each post I’ll discuss a historical figure or event and then pair it with a book. Interested in previous History 101 posts? Check out its page!

r3 Yesterday news of the discovery of King Richard III’s skeleton rocked the world. Even more exciting was where his bones were discovered: in an ordinary parking lot.

Although it would be beyond awesome for this to be just a completely random uncover, the truth is that archaeologists had an idea where to look. See, it was long believed that his remains resided in a Franciscan monastery. Unfortunately, that monastery has long since been destroyed. However, ancient walls were unearthed and that got the ball rolling, eventually resulting in a skeleton.

I remember the announcements of this discovery last summer, but at that point scientists weren’t 100% positive of the identity. Tests done to age the bones as well as wound marks pointed to the slain monarch, but they needed DNA proof.

A direct descendant was tracked down – a furniture maker living in Canada – and after some DNA testing, it was determined once and for all the remains of Richard III were indeed found and will receive a proper burial next year.

Fun fact: Richard III was the last English monarch to die in battle!

My book pick for this edition of History 101 is The Perilous Gard by Elizabeth Marie Pope (my full 5-star review → here).

No, Richard III does not play a role in the book (and, no, I was not going to recommend Shakepeare’s play). Instead, The Perilous Gard takes place during Mary’s reign, though much of the focus is on Elizabeth (still Princess at the time) and her young handmaiden. Mary and Elizabeth’s grandfather, Henry VII, seized the throne after Richard III’s death and issued in the reign of a little family known as the Tudors.

Unfortunately The Perilous Gard was only one of two books Pope wrote. Originally released in the 70s, I had only just recently discovered the novel and fell for it hard late last year. Kate Sutton is exiled to an old fortress after Queen Mary receives a letter written by Kate’s younger sister. Now long after arriving at the Perilous Gard, Kate gets to feeling that something isn’t right.

A trip to the village results in looks of terrors and whispers of the Fairy Folk and Christopher Heron lives with the guilt of his young niece’s sudden disappearance.

Take a look at my reviews; I’m extremely picky when it comes to handing out praise, but my goodness The Perilous Gard was PHENOMENAL. Also, it features one of the best romances I’ve come across in YA.

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