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About the Book:
About the Author:
Elizabeth Chadwick is the author of 17 historical novels, including The Greatest Knight, The Scarlet Lion, A Place Beyond Courage, For the King’s Favor, Shadows and Strongholds, The Winter Mantle, The Falcons of Montabard, and To Defy a King, six of which have been shortlisted for the Romantic Novelists’ Awards.
In her latest novel Elizabeth Chadwick tells the tale of two strong women who were both known to history as Lady of the English; Queen Adeliza, Henry I’s widow and his daughter, Matilda. While Matilda was never crowned Queen of England she was Henry’s choice to rule after his death – his only legitimate heir after his son had been killed in the famous “White Ship” shipwreck. Henry had his barons swear that they would honor Matilda’s right to the throne but it was not a time when men thought women could do anything other than produce babies. God forbid they could actually THINK.
After the death of Matilda’s husband, the Emperor of Germany she is recalled to England where she meets her new stepmother. Adeliza is younger than she but they form a strong bond. As part of Henry’s grand dynastic plans Matilda at around 26 is sent to marry Geoffrey of Anjou a 14 year old Count. She is less than thrilled. The marriage is less than harmonious but it does produce three sons including the future Henry II of England.
Like most of Ms. Chadwick’s works there is a real feeling of time and place when you get involved in the story line. The small details draw you into the story and you feel like you are living it rather than reading it. With this tale it is split between the two women and it covers such a huge block of time and wars on two continents there is a bit of a break from chapter to chapter as time flies by. If I didn’t remember to look at the chapter heading to see how where I was in time I was a bit lost at first. Now I did have an Advance Copy so some changes might have been made. This is a very minor complaint within the scope of a very enthralling tale.
The personalities of both Adeliza and Matilda come through and their characters are well developed. I know from reading other books set in this time period that I would not want to cross Matilda. This is the first I have read anything about Adeliza. It was refreshing to see this period in history through different eyes. It is usually just Stephen and Matilda. And in my opinion neither Stephen nor Matilda were very good for England – except for the fact that Matilda gave the country Henry II and the rest of the Plantagenets although that would lead to its own set of problems later now wouldn’t it?
Political battles aside this was a fascinating book with different insights to a difficult time in England’s history. It does keep the focus mostly on Matilda and not on what the country was suffering. But she was an arrogant, over proud woman so perhaps that is how it should be.
Lady of the English is available at Sourcebooks.
Lady of the English is available at Amazon.com
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Disclosure: I received a copy of Lady of the English gratis from Sourcebooks. Any opinions expressed are my honest opinions and were not impacted by my receipt of the free book. I received no monetary compensation for this post.