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The Time of Singing (William Marshal) [Paperback]

Elizabeth Chadwick
4.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (45 customer reviews)

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Book Description

4 Jun 2009 William Marshal (Book 4)

When Roger Bigod, heir to the powerful earldom of Norfolk, arrives at court in 1177 to settle a bitter inheritance dispute with his half-brothers, he encounters Ida de Tosney, young mistress to King Henry II. A victim of Henry's seduction and the mother of his son, Ida is attracted to Roger and sees in him a chance of lasting security beyond the fickle dazzle of her current life. But her decision to marry Roger carries an agonising price.

Roger's importance as a mainstay of the Angevin government puts an increasing strain on their marriage. Ida is deeply unhappy with the life she must live in his absence and grieves for her losses. Against a volatile political background, the gulf between Ida and Roger threatens to widen beyond crossing, especially when so many bridges have already been burned.

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Product details

  • Paperback: 528 pages
  • Publisher: Sphere; 1st edition (4 Jun 2009)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0751539007
  • ISBN-13: 978-0751539004
  • Product Dimensions: 12.9 x 19.8 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (45 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 201,825 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

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, Facebook/elizabeth.chadwick and on twitter: @Chadwickauthor

Product Description


A story of stirring emotions in a volatile world of politics (Now)

An enjoyable and sensuous romance (Daily Mail)

As always, readers will benefit from Elizabeth Chadwick's well-known "hands-on" approach to research and elegant prose . . . The politics are even more fascinating than the romance (Historical Novels Review)

Chadwick's grasp of historical detail is matched by her ability to weave a beguiling narrative (Choice)

Book Description

Ambition and conflict, sacrifice and desire - the court of Henry II is brought to vivid life in this gripping novel from Elizabeth Chadwick.

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Customer Reviews

4.7 out of 5 stars
4.7 out of 5 stars
Most Helpful Customer Reviews
63 of 63 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars History Brought to Life 4 Oct 2008
Elizabeth Chadwick's superb new novel, The Time of Singing, details the life of Roger Bigod, Earl of Norfolk during the time of Henry II and his sons. Chadwick's ability to bring history to life is never more apparent than it is in this illustrious depiction of the political and human world of medieval England.

Bigod, who was a companion of William Marshal, the subject of two of Chadwick's earlier novels, is first found as a young man who defies his father's rebellion and must come to terms with the type of man he will be. Bigod must constantly walk a narrow path in order to receive what is rightfully his, and the family drama of fighting for the inheritance follows him throughout his life. Interwoven in Roger's story is that of his wife, Ida, who was once the reluctant mistress of Henry II, and whose love and support provide Bigod with the stability he didn't experience early on in life. Chadwick expertly weaves fact into fiction as we see how Roger and Ida overcome the obstacles of the turbulent times in which they lived.

Once again, Elizabeth Chadwick has given us an outstanding glimpse into the lives of actual people who lived so long ago. The writing is engrossing and the plot is well paced. I could easily envision all the characters and events, and as usual, I was sad to let go of my medieval friends when I closed the last page. Storytelling at its finest! Highly, highly recommended.
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36 of 36 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Another winner from Chadwick! 5 Oct 2008
By Misfit TOP 1000 REVIEWER
The Time of Singing retells the story of Roger Bigod, son of Hugh Bigod Earl of Norfolk, who joined the younger Henry in his revolt against his father Henry II. When the revolt fails Hugh loses the Earldom and lands and when he dies there is a bitter dispute over the right to inherit the Earldom between Roger and his step-mother and her two sons. While Roger serves Henry and bides his time to claim his Earldom young Ida de Tosney arrives in court as the King's ward. Henry is smitten and has other plans for Ida and he makes her his mistress and she eventually bears him a son, William. Unhappy with her position as mistress to the king, Ida casts her hopes on Roger and Henry allows them to marry -- although she must leave her son behind.

Henry still withholds the Earldom, but he does restore some of their lands and Ida and Roger build a life and family together and begin rebuild Framlingham Castle to greater heights than it was before. Once Richard I takes the crown at the death of Henry the Earldom is restored to Roger, and the rest of the book recounts their lives as they struggle to keep everything they hold dear as the battle lines are drawn during Richard's absence on crusade and subsequent kidnapping threatens to bankrupt England.

A very enjoyable surprise for me was the appearance of my personal favorite hero, William Marshal - I did not expect him at all, or to feature so prominently - but it appears Bigod and Marshal were contemporaries and friends. Another big surprise was Ida's son William - who readers of fiction set during the reigns of John and Henry III will recognize as William Longespée, and I have to admit many of my favorite moments in the book were of William and his attempts at a relationship with his mother, Roger and their children.
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31 of 31 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars `You are stronger than you think' 11 Oct 2008
By Jennifer Cameron-Smith TOP 500 REVIEWER
Ms Chadwick's latest novel draws additional historical figures from the shadows of the 12th century and imbues them with vibrant life. Roger Bigod, is the disputed heir to the earldom of Norfolk from approximately 1177. This dispute, which involved Roger's stepmother and stepbrothers, commenced during the reign of Henry II and extended for over a decade before being resolved by Richard I. The dispute brings Roger to court, where he meets Ida de Tosney who is Henry II's young mistress and the mother of his son. Eventually, Ida and Roger marry and while the marriage is a consequence of mutual attraction, it has its costs and burdens.

Ms Chadwick's greatest strength is her ability to combine historical accuracy and characters whose actions can be viewed from a contemporary perspective without any loss of authenticity. This accuracy is important to Ms Chadwick, and it is conveyed to the reader in a way which, while it seems effortless, is a tribute to detailed research. We may not know, with great certainty and at this distance, exactly how Roger and Ida interacted with each other on a personal basis but the novel largely accords with the known facts and provides a fascinating insight into a particularly turbulent time in English history. The medieval code of chivalry carried with it both burdens and costs as well as benefits and privileges.

For me, an added attraction is the links between the Bigods and another of my personal heroes: William Marshal. I was aware of Roger Bigod before reading this novel but not especially interested in him. Now I find that Ms Chadwick has - yet again - introduced me to an historical character about whom I need to know more. Fortunately, I am provided with a select bibliography which gives me a great starting point.

Jennifer Cameron-Smith
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11 of 11 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Chadwick's best! 4 Jan 2009
There are few certainties in life: you will get gray hair, you will eventually turn into your mother and you can't go wrong with an Elizabeth Chadwick book!! I mean this woman is GENIUS at writing medieval novels! You can always expect (and get) brilliance at dialogue, character development and interactions, description of medieval life - the scenes are so beautifully written, just close your eyes and you're there.

There are many literary couples that stay in your mind long after closing the book on their story; Jamie and Claire, Llewelyn and Joanna, and now we can add Roger and Ida. A true love match. Chadwick brings to life one of the most charming love stories from the medieval era as only she can. The best parts of the novel for me were the scenes with Roger, Ida and their family - I don't think I've ever felt so much like a fly on the wall as I did in this novel. The mention of Roger's hats (which EC recently posted about) and Ida's sewing abilities were an extra glimpse into their lives that we as mere readers aren't usually admitted into. I loved that Chadwick included bits about Ida's son, William, growing up at court and the insights into what type of a boy he turned into and then watching William getting acquainted with his mother again was interesting.

There is an added bonus of meeting the studly William Marshall in this novel as well. Eat up ladies!

I highly recommend this novel to um, well, everyone.
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars
Published 15 days ago by SUEB
5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars
great book
Published 2 months ago by E. Tait
5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars
Never read a bad Chadwick yet, and this is no exception
Published 2 months ago by Helen Hinds
5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars
I enjoy all of her works
Published 3 months ago by Jennifer Goodchild
5.0 out of 5 stars Really enjoyable
Fabulous story, well written!
Published 3 months ago by Mully
5.0 out of 5 stars another great read that I couldn't put down
Having read the Marshall books and those about King Richard I couldn't wait to read this one as well. I wasn't disappointed and I'm looking forward to my next E Chadwick read. Read more
Published 6 months ago by Elaine
5.0 out of 5 stars William Marshal - what a great story
Elizabeth Chadwick must write the best 'lighter weight' history novels around.
Don't take 'lighter weight' as a criticism. It is not.
I love her books. Read more
Published 6 months ago by Berniebob
5.0 out of 5 stars The Time of Singing
Wanted to obtain Elizabeth Chadwick's William Marshal books all in one go. Prices and quality allowed me to do this. Prompt delivery with no postage! What else can one ask for! Read more
Published 7 months ago by m houghton
4.0 out of 5 stars Bought as a Gift
This item was bought as a gift for a friend who is into Historical Novels and they liked it very much.
Published 9 months ago by tinywarbo
5.0 out of 5 stars Another superb book from Elizabeth Chadwick
very well researched the story carries you along until you feel part of a special family. All the characters are brought to life and I have enjoyed Lear. Read more
Published 10 months ago by Jan H
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