New York Times bestselling author Elizabeth Chadwick has written over 20 historical novels sold in 18 languages worldwide. Her first novel, The Wild Hunt, won a Betty Trask Award, and The Scarlet Lion was nominated by Richard Lee, founder of the Historical Novel Society, as one of the top ten historical novels of the last decade. Elizabeth's nineteenth novel, To Defy a King, won the RNA Historical Novel Prize in 2011. THE SUMMER QUEEN, the first novel in her stunning Eleanor of Aquitaine trilogy, will be followed by THE WINTER CROWN and THE AUTUMN THRONE.
Find out more at www.elizabethchadwick.com, Facebook/elizabeth.chadwick and on twitter: @Chadwickauthor
Renowned historical novelist Chadwick tells this battle-of-the-sexes story from a woman's point of view, channeling Matilda and the wannabe regent's stepmother as storytellers (New York Post)
Two strong women struggle for the crown of 'Lady of the English', in this dazzling new novel by acclaimed historical novelist Elizabeth Chadwick
Lady of the English I can never wait to get my hands on one of Elizabeth Chadwick's books, I know I am in for a treat!
Lady of the English is about two women. First of all the Empress Matilda (as she is called in this telling) and Adaliza of Louvain the second wife of Henry I. The story begins when the newly widowed Empress Matilda is called home to England by her father, after the disastrous death of Matilda's only legitimate brother. Henry has married a teenage Adaliza in hopes of siring a male heir but has been unsuccessful which is quite astounding as he is known to have had and claimed about 20 illegitimate children. At least one conceived while he was married to Adaliza.
Matilda was soon married to Geoffrey of Anjou, who was 14 nearly 15 when he married Matilda a mature woman of around 26. You can't write a story about Matilda with out writing about the Anarchy of King Stephens reign. But the political aspects, and the battles take second place to the story of these two very different women, who find they have more in common than you initially think. This is a book about the more intimate aspects of these women's lives, difficult marriages, duty, unrequited love. When Henry becomes resigned to the fact that there will be no heir except Matilda's son Henry he forces his barons to swear to uphold Matilda's right to rule. This is extraordinary because no woman has ever ruled England in her own right. Nearly all the barons were of Norman descent and French Salic law barred women from succession to the throne. I guess I have read enough about Matilda that I really didn't learn anything new about her.Read more ›
**Full Disclosure. I have never posted on Amazon UK before, but I have over 300 reviews posted on regular Amazon. I am posting this here because this amazing book is not yet available in the States.**
"If she thought a man was a fool, she said so to his face in front of others, and gave no quarter. She was tall, slender, beautiful, desirable. . "
This is how Empress Mathilda is described. This is the woman this novel is about. She was the daughter and the only surviving heir to Henry I. The men of England got on their knees three times in front of her and three times, swore to uphold her as their queen. When her father died, however, they upheld her cousin Stephen instead. Mathilda was enraged and thus, a battle began to retain her crown and her country for not necessarily herself, but her heirs.
The novel begins in this manner, with Mathilda arriving in England from Germany where he husband, an emperor, has died. She begins her first steps towards inheriting the throne by abiding by her father's wishes and marrying Geoffrey of Anjou. This is not a happy partnership. He is a young, arrogant whelp and her thoughts. . well, here's a quote from the brave and opinionated Mathida, "No more of an abomination than me being made to wed an idiot who is as far beneath me as a pile of dung under the sky. . You may be my husband, but you will never be my lord and master and you will never amount to anything more than a scrawny cockerel on top of your little midden heap!"
I love this woman. Nevertheless, despite her strong words, duty prevails and her and Geoffrey manage to do what they are supposed to do and they breed heirs. This makes Mathilda all the more eager to ensure that she obtains the throne of England.Read more ›
Elizabeth Chadwick's novels really do illuminate the past. Her characters leap off the page, and live in my head for weeks after I've finished reading. I've learned more about early medieval history, and the complicated politics and loyalties of the period, than in all the history classes I've ever attended. Each novel brings her a wider audience, not only in English, but in many languages around the world. I declare my bias: I am her agent. I fell in love with her words on the page when she sent me her first manuscript more than 20 years ago, and have been privileged to read every one since. If amazon will allow someone to post a review who declares they have not read the novel, then I hope they will allow mine to appear as well. I have read every one of this fine writer's novels, and enjoyed them tremendously, both personally and professionally.
Being a die hard fan of Elizabeth Chadwick, I must admit I awaited the arrival of Lady of the English with great impatience. Upon it's arrival, I immediately began the journey into the lives of Matilda and Adeliza. For this book is about both women.
Ms. Chadwick's take on Matilda is very much tempered with support and excuses for this very disparaged Empress. And although the book has a rather sad and irritating overtone, I found Ms. Chadwick's prose to be as interesting as ever and, I am sure, historically accurate. It must have been a monumental task to sift through the written historical records to find much of anything redeeming in Matilda's treatment of those around her.
However, even with Chadwick's numerous attempts to excuse Matilda's behavior, I found I could not like her at all. And that totally colored my enjoyment of the book.
Ms. Chadwick's treatment of Adeliza was curiously benign, and I wonder why so much of the storeline was devoted to her. Perhaps it was to show that Matilda did, at least, have one friend.
I am glad that I purchased this book, as I think Elizabeth Chadwick is an exceptional author, and meticulous in her research. And I eagerly await her next book.
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