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Marriage Of Meggotta [Paperback]

Edith Pargeter
5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (1 customer review)

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Product details

  • Paperback: 320 pages
  • Publisher: Sphere; New edition edition (10 Nov 1988)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0751509132
  • ISBN-13: 978-0751509137
  • Product Dimensions: 17.8 x 11 x 2.4 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (1 customer review)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 1,467,022 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Product Description

Fatherless Richard de Clare, heir to the mightly earldom of Gloucester, was placed at the age of eight in the care of Hubert de Burgh. In the remote East Anglian fastness of Burgh he and Hubert's daughter Meggotta, the same age as Richard, met for the first time and quickly became inseparable. But two years later Hubert fell from grace with King Henry III and was faced with certain ruin and the threat of death. By then aged ten, Meggotta and Richard were already deeply in love. Striving to protect them from becoming pawns in a vicious power struggle, Hubert's wife arranged for their secret marriage. They dared to defy the rigid conventions of the feudal marriage market. But the union was doomed and the young lovers paid a tragic price for their defiance.

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews
3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Beautiful but terribly sad 17 Aug 2010
This is a wonderful book. The late Edith Pargeter in this book really shows how to evoke deep feelings in a mediaeval setting, without turning the protagonists into modern people, or rather modern adolescents. The plot isn't spectacular, no mysteries, no big battles, just a setting down of the lives of two young people within the context of their times. For anybody familiar with both English and Welsh history at the time, it may be rather surprising that Hubert, the Earl of Kent is pictured rather sympathetically here, just an old man who has been toppled down by his king rather unfairly. That he had also been grasping before, is not part of this novel. And it actually isn't relevant, because that's not what the story is about. It's about the vindictiveness of a young king, stifled somewhat because of having to conform to a regency too long, and remaining a selfish and spoilt child beneath all that. Striking out against a man who, though perhaps covetuous in the eyes of his Welsh neighnbours, and considered an upstart by his English peers, genuinely had the interests of the Kingdom and his king at heart. But it is the consequences for others that really make this novel poignant and sad. I actually had to cry when reading the last quarter of the book. Impressive!
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on (beta) 3.7 out of 5 stars  7 reviews
33 of 33 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars A grim, but very worthwhile read 14 Aug 1998
By A Customer - Published on
I picked this book by accident in the library, and found myself unexpectedly and whole-heartedly enthralled by it. Set in the time of Henry III, it describes a true Romeo and Juliet story of Margaret (Megotta) who falls in love with her father's ward Richard. They plan to marry, but when the king's displeasure is turned toward the family, they are forbidden to do so, for Richard is a politically-important pawn of great wealth. Richard and Margaret defy the king and marry, but how long can they keep it a secret, and what can they hope for?
One of the things that makes the story so emotional and moving to read is that it is a true story. Richard, Megotta and all the others really lived. They are not just shadowy imaginings of an author. They are both very young, not even teenagers, when their love affair takes place, and Ms Pargeter treats this topic with sensitivity. After all, this is consistent with a society where girls often became mothers at twelve. The story IS touching, deeply romantic and tragic, but never maudlin or mawkish.
The youthful love story of Richard and Megotta is contrasted with the adult story of Simon de Montfort and the king's sister (excellently portrayed in Sharon Kay Penman's "Falls the Shadow") There's more to it then love, however. Ms Pargeter describes the chilling atmosphere at the court of Henry III and the ruthless power-play behind the scenes. It is a place which will make an average modern dictatorship appear benign by contrast. As in her "Bloody field by Shrewsbury" and the Gwynedd brothers quartet, Ms Pargeter created a spell-binding book.
I really recommend it, but advise the readers to have the kleenexes handy. I was not able to stay dry-eyed by the end.
8 of 8 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Poignant 3 April 2006
By Miranda Good - Published on
Format:Hardcover|Verified Purchase
A workmanlike effort by the author of the Brother Cadfael mysteries. This book is a well written account of the doomed love between two very young people. I had to remind myself that marriage at the age of 13 in the 1200's was a commonplace. When life expectancy was so much shorter than in our modern day, matrimony and procreation happened much earlier in life. I confess I inwardly objected "no kid that age could have emotions that profound" from time to time, but I was able to overcome that objection due to the power of the narrative. At first I had to continually refer to the introductory list of characters, as there seemed to be more people involved than your typical Russian novel, but I quickly learned who was who. With so many Richards and Margarets, it took me some time to straighten them all out. The story picks up speed about half way through and has a very satisfying conclusion which brings the reader full circle. Despite the ultimate tragedy of the young couple's romance, their loss is balanced by the love of others which survives. There was comfort in the strength of an enduring old love and the inception of a new love which made the sadness of the hero and heroine bearable. I thought the depiction of the mercurial Henry III was excellent. Simon de Montford is only briefly introduced, but his fascinating story may be read in Sharon Kay Penman's "Falls the Shadow" which is also highly recommended.
4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A Romantic Tragedy Expresses the Human Cost of 13th Century English Politics. 4 Sep 2009
By mirasreviews - Published on
"The Marriage of Meggotta" is a novelization of the true story of Meggotta de Burgh and Richard de Clare, who were married as children in 1232 in order to protect their interests from the political upheaval caused by King Henry III's accusations against Meggotta's father Hubert de Burgh, Earl of Kent. Meggotta was the daughter of Hubert and his wife Margaret, sister of King Alexander II of Scotland. Richard was the heir to the Earldoms of Hertford and Gloucester, which would make him a powerful man when he came of age. In the meanwhile, he was given to Hubert to be raised as Meggotta's foster brother and future husband. The ambitions of a fickle and immature King, manipulated by his treasurer Peter des Rivaulx, plunge England into war and exact a terrible cost on the young couple.

Edith Parteger could not know what Meggotta and Richard said or felt for one another, though it seems they did intend to honor their marriage vows well into their teens. She uses the situation of these two young people, buffeted by forces beyond their control, to present the human side of the complex political events that led to war between King Henry and Richard, Earl Marshal and Earl of Pembroke (young Richard's uncle), a situation instigated by the King's dubious accusations of treason and ill treatment of the Earl of Kent. Also playing out in the background is the romance between the King's sister Eleanor and Simon de Montfort, Earl of Leicester, another love match that is threatened by political realities.

As Eleanor explains, "marriages are about lands and alliances and status". To stand in the way of family ambitions is to court disaster, at least among the nobility. But people do fall in love, as is natural, and that is inconvenient, most of all for the lovers. Edith Parteger's great success in "The Marriage of Meggotta" is her ability to portray the emotional lives of both young and old characters. Hubert's emotional defeat as an old man is affecting, as is Richard's passion and frustration as a young man. It's curious that for all we admire brave and beautiful Meggotta and her formidable mother Margaret, it is the men whom Parteger understands best and whom she gives the greatest depth. The men had the power, and, perhaps, as the author was a woman, they fascinated her most. "The Marriage of Meggotta" is a touching and perceptive look back at 13th century England.
2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Sad, but Beautiful 14 Jan 2005
By Alina SanJuan - Published on
I just finished reading this book, which I found very entertaining, well-written, and thoroughly researched, with characters that stay with you after the book is returned to the shelf.

The aftermath is sad, the more becuase it is true, but the love shared by Richard and Meggotta is one of a kind.

I highly recommend it!
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Intrigue and betrayal in the court of Henry III 16 May 2011
By Sergio - Published on
Pargiter (aka Ellis Peters) uses her extensive familiarity with medieval England (see the Brother Cadfael mystery series) to breath life into a side-note in English history. Though the engagement and marriage of Margaret (Meggotta) de Burgh is the basis for this historical novel, the primary story is that of the fall from favor of Meggotta's father, Hugh de Burgh. After a lifetime in service to Henry III (and King John before him), de Burgh had become influential and wealthy, but had made many enemies who begrudged him his influence with the King. As de Burgh's enemies gained influence at his expense, Megotta's childhood engagement to Richard de Clare (heir to the earldoms of Gloucester and Hertford) no longer suited King Henry's plans.

Pargiter presents a fine historical novel here, letting Meggotta's story guide while giving the bulk of the story to the more interesting action of Hugh de Burgh's struggles against his enemies at court. An enjoyable read and a good introduction to the political scene of time.
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