Waldron certainly knows her history, and the details of this book ring true to the time period and the famous historical personages involved. Yet despite its accuracy for setting, Roan Rose is ultimately a book about character. Rose and Anne and Richard are all fully formed people with their virtues and faults, their moments of great kindness and integrity, and their selfish concerns and failings. Rose walks a difficult line between friend and servant. She is often Anne's closest confidant - and is more than once Richard's lover - but both Anne and Richard do not hesitate to put her in her place when it suits their purposes. ... Rose refuses to bow down in servitude, and her spirit is not broken ... Her heart belongs to the two people who always stand above her, who will never view her as their equal, yet who can never bear to part with her company for long. When they call for her, she comes - turning her back on her own family for the sake of her beloved Anne and a great king whose tragic end we already know.
--Dianne Salerni, "We Hear the Dead," "The Caged Graves."
Rose bonds strongly with Anne Neville, her young mistress. She also meets a royal boy enduring his knightly training—Richard of Gloucester, King Edward’s little brother. The noble children have illness and accidents as they grow, but Rose remains a constant, always there to nurse and serve.
Rose bears intimate witness to the passions, betrayals, battles and all the reversals of fortune which will shape her lady’s life—and her own. Anne Neville will briefly become a Queen, and Richard, Rose’s secret love, will become a King, one whose name has become synonymous with evil. When the King is betrayed and slain at Bosworth Field, Rose returns to a peasant’s hard life. She has one final service to perform.
If you wanted more of Phillippa Gregory's The White Queen, you will love the “downstairs” story told by Juliet Waldron’s Roan Rose.