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The Agincourt Bride [Paperback]

Joanna Hickson
4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (120 customer reviews)
RRP: 7.99
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Book Description

3 Jan 2013

The epic story of the queen who founded the Tudor dynasty, told through the eyes of her loyal nursemaid. Perfect for fans of Philipa Gregory.

Her beauty fuelled a war.
Her courage captured a king.
Her passion would launch the Tudor dynasty.

When her own first child is tragically still-born, the young Mette is pressed into service as a wet-nurse at the court of the mad king, Charles VI of France. Her young charge is the princess, Catherine de Valois, caught up in the turbulence and chaos of life at court.

Mette and the child forge a bond, one that transcends Mette’s lowly position.
But as Catherine approaches womanhood, her unique position seals her fate as a pawn between two powerful dynasties. Her brother, The Dauphin and the dark and sinister, Duke of Burgundy will both use Catherine to further the cause of France.

Catherine is powerless to stop them, but with the French defeat at the Battle of Agincourt, the tables turn and suddenly her currency has never been higher. But can Mette protect Catherine from forces at court who seek to harm her or will her loyalty to Catherine place her in even greater danger?

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Product details

  • Paperback: 592 pages
  • Publisher: Harper (3 Jan 2013)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0007446977
  • ISBN-13: 978-0007446971
  • Product Dimensions: 19.6 x 12.7 x 3.8 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (120 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 55,508 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

Joanna Hickson was born in England but spent her early childhood in Australia, returning at thirteen to explore her first castle and develop a fascination with medieval British history. She also discovered a love of words in all their guises, took a degree in Politics and English and a career in journalism, spending twenty five years in the BBC producing and presenting News and Arts programmes for TV and Radio. Joanna has previously published a children's historical novel but is now writing adult fiction in the period she fell in love with as a child, indulging her passion for bringing the medieval past to life. She is married, lives in an old farmhouse near Bath, has a large extended family and a wayward Irish terrier. She welcomes contact on Facebook (Joanna Hickson) and Twitter (@joannahickson) but warns that she spends a lot of time in the fifteenth century!

Product Description


Praise for The Agincourt Bride

‘Gripping and emotional.’ Woman

‘Superb…a real find.’ The Bookseller

‘Captivating.’ Woman’s Own

About the Author

Joanna spent twenty-five years at the BBC writing and presenting for radio and television.
Gripped by Shakespeare’s historical plays, Joanna began researching the King Henry V’s ‘fair Kate’ as a schoolgirl and the story of Catherine de Valois and the Tudor genesis has remained with her throughout life.
Joanna Hickson lives in an old farmhouse in East Lothian and is married with a large family and a wayward Irish terrier.

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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
34 of 34 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Historical Fiction at its best! 4 Jan 2013
Catherine of Valois is one of the most intriguing of medieval queens. Largely drawing on knowledge gleaned from Shakespeare's Henry V, Catherine was an important (although not necessarily the most important) component of the peace settlement between France and England after the English victory at Agincourt in 1415 which left much of the French nobility dead on the field. How would a young girl deal with being married off to a king that had brought her country to its knees, effectively robbing her own brother of his royal inheritance? In The Agincourt Bride, Joanna Hickson takes just such a look and reveals a far more complicated and remarkable, even shocking, story, brought to life with a prose that is so light and full of feeling that it almost dances across the page.

At the heart of the novel is Catherine and her wetnurse Mette. Recently delivered of a stillborn son while still a child herself, Mette had been removed from her home and placed in the royal household as wet nurse to baby Catherine, the tenth child of a mad king and a proud, bitter queen. Neglected and almost forgotten, Catherine grows to love her surrogate mother Mette to the extent that she can never be without her again, however much the queen and her agents seek to keep them apart. For as soon as the princess is of an age to be useful she becomes a pawn, caught in the petty wars between members of the House of Valois, dividing Catherine from her brothers and sisters, and placing her in the utmost danger, not least at the hands of John the Fearless, the Duke of Burgundy and a monster. No wonder, then, that the often promised but frequently withdrawn hope of a marriage to Henry V offers the tantalising chance of an escape to the brave, loyal and vulnerable Catherine.
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16 of 16 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars a very well written historical novel 20 Nov 2012
By Mrs. A. Wright VINE VOICE
Format:Paperback|Vine Customer Review of Free Product (What's this?)
I really enjoyed this book. It is the story of Catherine of Valois from her birth until her marriage to Henry V. I had read nothing of Catherine's early life and nor had I read of French politics at that time. The story is told through the eyes of Mette who was Catherine's nursemaid from birth. The life of the French both royal and common at that time is well and vividly described sometimes a bit too graphically. It is difficult to separate fact from fiction as the tale is told seamlessly. It is compellingly told and gripped me from page 1. I really had to finish it but yet there was much to feel sad about. Perhaps it helps to explain Catherine's behaviour in her marriage. If I have any criticism it was that I found French politics a little confusing at times but I think it was a very chaotic time. As a debut novel I cannot praise the author highly enough and look forward to reading further works from her
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13 of 13 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Perhaps Less Than Credible in Parts 26 Jan 2013
Format:Paperback|Vine Customer Review of Free Product (What's this?)
This is an account of the early life of Catherine de Valois, wife - if rather briefly - of Henry V, the warrior Lancastrian king who won back much of Edward III's empire in France. The story is told by the woman who was her wet nurse and became her Mistress of the Wardrobe when she grew up, Guillaumette or Mette for short.

The tales of Catherine's very early life are intertwined with those of the other royal children, but particularly her youngest brother Charles, who by various twists of fate becomes the Dauphin despite being the fourth son born to the House of Valois. It is quite hard to believe that any royal children would be treated in the way that the author catalogues Catherine's upbringing, even if born to a woman as careless as she would have us believe Queen Isabeau was.

We hear very little of Catherine subsequently, in the years she spent at the Convent at Poissy, but she reappears as a girl aged 13 to be used as a pawn in order to seal a peace treaty with England. The remainder of the book traces the following period of about six years, finally leading up to her marriage and arrival in England for her coronation. And there it ends, quite abruptly, in 1421.

Joanna Hickson draws her characters convincingly and the reader warms to Mette, the narrator, as a sensible, kind hearted and loyal substitute mother for the young Catherine. The mad king of France is also well drawn which helps us to understand how the country was overrun by the English with such a leader. However, the novel feels over drawn out in the years between Agincourt and Catherine's marriage and at times does verge on the tedious.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars A TERRIFIC READ 25 Jan 2013
By Mrs. C. Swarfield TOP 1000 REVIEWER VINE VOICE
Format:Paperback|Vine Customer Review of Free Product (What's this?)
This book engaged me from the first page - and l could not wait to pick it up and continue
reading. If like me you are a fan of Phillipa Gregory then you will absolutely adore this.

Fate plays a big part in the life of Mette who by pure chance becomes a wet nurse to a new
born princess after the still birth of her own baby boy. The baby princess is Catherine
whose father is a mad king and her mother is a very bitter and proud queen. As the tenth
child of the marriage Catherine is forgotten and neglected by her parents and Mette becomes
so indespensable to Catherine that she refuses to be parted from her no matter how hard
outside forces conspire to keep them apart.

Without giving away to much of the plot this is a beautifully written book with such
an abrupt ending I cannot wait for the sequel.

Historical fiction at its best - read and enjoy.
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
4.0 out of 5 stars Four Stars
Interesting read.
Published 4 days ago by christine
3.0 out of 5 stars Holiday reading
I enjoyed this book if a little too long and a little far fetched in places but great for a holiday read . Read more
Published 8 days ago by Mrs. Avril Gilbert
5.0 out of 5 stars Katherine de Valois
The early life of Katherine Valois, up until her marriage to Henry V of England. I have read other books about her, slightly different, but I guess that's to be expected when it's... Read more
Published 9 days ago by Ase Johannessen
5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars
good read
Published 9 days ago by Jenny
5.0 out of 5 stars Excellent book
Excellent read. Well written by an author who is not afraid to use her wonderful wide vocabulary. Will certainly be looking our for more by this author.
Published 12 days ago by janelle
5.0 out of 5 stars The agincourt bride
A great read not the type of book I normally go for however i was soon under its spell. I takes the reader from the childhood of the royal children in Paris as we follow the life... Read more
Published 14 days ago by David Holdsworth
5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars
I really enjoyed this book - a great read and really well written.
Published 15 days ago by Anna
5.0 out of 5 stars Enjoyable read
Well-written, just enough description of courtly life and politics to make it fascinating without being pedantic. Read more
Published 23 days ago by Unawatuna
5.0 out of 5 stars French coldness worthy of reading
An expertly woven piece of historical fiction, bringing in social history and commentary around a time of war, illness and the pawn like world of being a female where connection... Read more
Published 29 days ago by AM Groves
4.0 out of 5 stars Enjoyable historical novel
The first of Joanna Hickson's novels about Catherine of Valois, the French princess who married Henry V, king of England. Read more
Published 29 days ago by M. F. Cayley
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