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Harlot Queen [Paperback]

Hilda Lewis
4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (16 customer reviews)

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Book Description

30 Nov 2011
Isabella of France was proud to be wed to the handsome Edward II of England, but her joy soon turned to rancour, for Piers Gaveston, an egotistical and mercenary courtier, usurped her husband's bed. No woman could compete with her beauty, but another man? What could she do at the age of fourteen? Wait, only wait. And so she waited, nursing her anger, rejection, and disgust. She grew in beauty and wiles; the king, in weakness, as other men, worse men, took Gaveston's place. Weary of waiting, Isabella turned to Mortimer of Wigmore. In his bed, she found comfort and love and cared little that people called her a harlot. But even the presence of Mortimer could not quench her thirst for vengeance, once she had tasted blood. Like an unleashed fury, she pursued the king's paramours. She would tear England in half to quench her rage; if she failed, her son would avenge her honour. The contest that ensued decided the fate of England. In this historically accurate and thrilling story of power and passion, Hilda Lewis has created an unforgettable account of how the fate of nations has often been forged in royal bedrooms.


Product details

  • Paperback: 384 pages
  • Publisher: The History Press (30 Nov 2011)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0752439472
  • ISBN-13: 978-0752439471
  • Product Dimensions: 20 x 13 x 3 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (16 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 622,015 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Review

PRAISE FOR HILDA LEWIS: 'Hilda Lewis is not only mistress of her subject, but has the power to vitalise it' THE DAILY TELEGRAPH; 'A born storyteller' THE YORKSHIRE POST. Praise for Hilda Lewis's Wife to the Bastard: 'The private life of William the Conqueror and his wife Matilda of Flanders... convincingly worked out, and the historical background carefully painted in' THE DAILY TELEGRAPH; 'Matilda, wife to William the Conqueror, is painstakingly depicted through her deflowering, marriage, much child-bearing, some jealous violence and repentance... well documented historical fiction' THE OBSERVER; 'A work of quiet distinction... her subject is treated well and movingly, with dignity and insight' THE SUNDAY TIMES; 'A spankingly good story about Matilda, whom the legends call gentle but she calls a good deal more' THE SPECTATOR.

About the Author

Hilda Lewis was one of the best-known and best-loved of all historical novelists, known for her authentic application of period detail to all her books. She was born in London and lived for much of her life in Nottingham. She wrote over 20 novels, most published in hardback by Hutchinson and paperbacked by Arrow. Hilda Lewis died in 1974.

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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
10 of 10 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Harlot Queen by Hilda Lewis 16 Sep 2008
Format:Paperback
Harlot Queen tells the story of Isabella of France, married to King Edward II.
Lewis charts Edwards affairs with Pies Gaveston and Hugh Despenser, which eventually turned Isabella to the arms of Mortimer of Wigmore, causing war between the King and Queen.
The readers sympathies swing from Isabella to Edward before the book reaches its ultimately satisfiying ending.
If there is one thing Lewis does well, it is leaving you with a sense of satisfaction and an ending that will stay with you, a rare thing in a book.
This tale of passion and war is well told by Lewis. She keeps the story as historically accurate as she can, unlike some modern historical ficton writers.
The style is somewhat formal but her books are always well peopled and the characters believable. A fantastic piece of serious historical fiction.
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9 of 9 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Close to perfection! 24 Jan 2009
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
This is the third Isabella book I have read and it has to be my favorite if you have not read anything on her I suggest you go straight for this one. Isabella of France is married to Edward the second of Britain and in doing so she causes herself much grief. Edward has no real interest in women instead he prefers the company and love of men and showers them with riches including some of the Queens own jewels and money. Of course this is bound to cause some ill feelings towards Edward on the Queens part, setting in motion a series of events that will mark the dramatic end for a king. What sets this book apart from all others is Isabella and her character we find how she was the manipulator behind every decision made and had the Despenser's never entered onto the scene she could very well have ruled Britain well behind the scenes. What makes this book the best is the twist at the end both heart breaking but beautiful, a wonderful end that will never in my mind be beaten!
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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The making of the She-Wolf 5 Dec 2008
Format:Paperback
Isabella of France was long known to history as the She-Wolf of France, and castigated for her betrayal of Edward II, both as her husband and her king. Hilda Lewis brilliantly shows us how this vixen was not born but made, as a result of the neglect and shame inflicted upon her during her years of marriage. We see her first as a hopeful young bride, in a new country, trying her best to do all that is expected of her. As such, she is a delightful heroine, one whom it is impossible not to like. However, as her story progresses, we gradually see how her sweetness turns to bitter hatred and anger. Concurrently, our own feelings of sympathy change too, as Isabella changes from victim to oppressor.

I really appreciated that Lewis did not try to whitewash Isabella's violent actions to maintain our sympathy, but rather forces us into criticism and even condemnation. At the same time, we are not left agreeing with the historians who painted her as pure evil; rather, we see a woman whose natural strength was twisted over time until channeled into extreme acts of revenge. This is an outstanding character study, which forms the core of an excellently written historical novel. The supporting characters are all well-drawn, the settings convincing, and the prose very readable. It is wonderful that the success of Philippa Gregory is (presumably) responsible for the reissue of this and other historical novels, including those of Norah Lofts and Jean Plaidy.

Highly recommended.
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars nice to see her from a different angle 1 Mar 2010
Format:Paperback
i enjoyed this book, it was nice to see Isabelle from a different angle, she is so often painted as - the harlot queen - yet in reality she was a proud princess from a royal court and it must have been galling to see your family jewels draped over your husbands 'boyfriend' the day you arrive at court.
i really enjoyed this book - well written, good description of the age and factual
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Interesting 1 Nov 2012
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
Good historical novel. Worth a read. I did not know much about this period in history but certainly do now!
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A beautifully written, absorbing read. 3 Oct 2012
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
This novel has given me a good deal of pleasure. As others have noted, it deals with Isabella, wife to Edward II of England. Her fortunes rise and fall and her ultimate pitfall is her infatuation with a much younger man, just as her husband, much to her chagrin, had become infatuated with handsome young men in earlier days. The impeccable prose, slightly formal yet none the less absorbing for that, leads naturally and ineluctably to a huge ironic twist at the end, one which does no violence to history, since history is undecided on the matter. Besides being a work of craftsmanship, this is a truly exciting tale, exquisitely told. I urge all lovers of reputable historical fiction to read it: you will not be disappointed.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Great reading 3 Oct 2012
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
I really liked this book. It was about a Queen I knew little about but gave an interesting perspective as to why she became to be the person she was in later life. I would definitely read another book by the same author.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars HISTORY REVISITED 30 Sep 2012
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
This is an excellent mix between fact and fiction and really brings home what poor Queen Mathilde (Caroline) went through after being forced into a marriage she dreaded from the start. Heart-rending but worth reading!
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars Good book, enjoyable read
Great book by Hilda Lewis. Love historical novels and always Impatient for the next one. I would recommend this one.
Published 1 month ago by Marinamol
1.0 out of 5 stars Harlot Queen
Good plot and story, marred by dreadful editing or re-writing for the Kindle edition? Not sure which, but am sure the author would not have approved - too many errors of spelling... Read more
Published 5 months ago by Catsandra
5.0 out of 5 stars Harlot queen
I would recommend this to anyone interested in historical novels...a really I retesting enjoyable read.
She is a really good storyteller.
Published 10 months ago by maribee
5.0 out of 5 stars harlot queen
As per usual Isabella of France, wife of Edward11, is shown as a wilful and power hungry woman, the villain of the peace, but this was not the view of her contemporaries, as they... Read more
Published 12 months ago by loner
5.0 out of 5 stars Loved it
Amazing depth and story so interesting enjoyed every page and the ending is sad but heart felt. I will read more from the author
Published 14 months ago by nic
4.0 out of 5 stars Very Enjoyable
I don't think that Hilda Lewis is the easiest author to read - her style is very 'of her time'. By the same token, a bit of concentration is no hardship and this book is certainly... Read more
Published 17 months ago by Alison
4.0 out of 5 stars Good read.
Really enjoyed this book, it put a different slant on history reading it from Isabella's point of view being married to a weak, self-indulgent king.
Published 22 months ago by Denise Smith
3.0 out of 5 stars Not Hilda Lewes' best
I have long been a fan of Hilda Lewes but found this disappointing. She has been rather kind to her characters and this may be one story where it is better not to sit on the fence. Read more
Published on 11 July 2012 by Rosemary
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