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on 9 September 2000
Ailith, is a young Saxon wife. It is the year in which she loses both her husband and young son, and the year in which the Normans come, not as friends, but in search of conquest. Ailith tries to kill herself but a handsome Norman man Rolf de Brize rescues her, he then decides to take her as his chatelaine at his English estate, although he has a wife and daughter in France, he and Ailith fall in love and have a daughter Julitta. Although later Ailith finds out things were not as they seem a discovery of a betrayal at the battle of Hastings's can she ever forgive? As I read this book I really felt in touch with the character's that is as a story should be, definitely a recommended read.
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TOP 1000 REVIEWERon 30 January 2007
Is that a word? If not it should be, at least when describing this author's books. The Conquest is really two books in one, telling the story of two generations as it opens shortly before the Norman invasion of 1066. Saxon Ailith loses her husband, brothers and new born child and attempts to take her own life, but is stopped by womanizing Norman knight Rolf de Brize. To avoid the romantic attentions of a London Goldsmith, Ailith accepts Rolf's offer to serve as chatelaine at his castle and (of course) love follows and they have a daughter Julitta. Eventually the relationship deteriorates, not helped by the fact that Rolf has a wife and daughter in Normandy.

The second half of the book tells the story of their daughter Julitta, reunited with her father after years of separation and she has to see her beloved Benedict marry her half sister who loves the church more than she loves her husband. Caught up in the revelries of a May Day celebration the actions of Julitta and Benedict have far reaching consequences on everyone's lives and.......

I'm not telling anymore, you have to read for yourself. Needless to say that once I picked the book up (and this is the second time around) I just could not put it down, and as with all of this author's books the way she brings the medieval period to life in such a graceful and effortless way, be it the sights, sounds, smells, food, clothes and battles is just awesome. Although her books are becoming rare and hard to find in the US they are readily available through UK and Canada and well worth the cost and effort to do so. Five stars.
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Much of Elizabeth Chadwick's research is carried out as a member of Regia Anglorum, this is an early medieval re-enactment society. Her writing in recent books has become much more accomplished. She now writes about the period with the convictions of her obvious knowledge of the subject and has also made a subtle change from writing what were in effect historical love stories (nothing wrong with that) to historical novels with a love interest.

Ailith, a young Saxon wife is sure that the sight of a comet in the night sky over England can bring nothing but good in spite of her husband's fears. But the year is 1066 and the bastard William is plotting at the other side of the channel. He is determined to stake his own claim and rest the English crown from the upstart Harold.

Within a year Ailith has had her husband and child taken from her and the Norman's are advancing. Ailif briefly finds love again with Rolf de Brize a handsome invader from the Norman side and bears him a daughter, but she discovers a betrayal she cannot and will not forgive.
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on 14 May 2001
The second of Chadwick's novels I've read and this one is just as enjoyable as "The Champion". My only negative comment is that, like "The Champion", the ending is a little predicatable and nowhere near as strong as the rest of the novel.
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on 23 December 2014
Beginning in 1065 and ending in 1088 , this book covers the Norman Conquest and its devastating effect on a young Saxon wife Ailith who befriends a Norman wine merchant's wife, Felice at a time when hostility is growing towards Normans in England
Ailith's two bothers are killed in the Battle of Hastings, her infant son dies and her husband is killed at William the Conqueror's coronation.
She tries to commit suicide but is stopped by Rold de Brize, a Norman merchant, and is taken to be paramour of his holdings at Ulverton. Though he has a wife and child in Normandy
His daughter by Ailith Julitte and Felice's son Bendict who up together but when Rolf's amorous adventures drive Ailith away, tragedy ensues and the trial and tribulations of the next generation begin,
A well written book, quite compelling m which takes us from England of the Norman Conquest to Normandy and the Spain of El Cid
If you like historical fiction , with a lot of romance and are not averse to some remarkable coincidences in the story line, tis will be right up your alley
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on 6 July 2001
a good read one of Ms Chadwick's best I'd say - I'd also suggest Helen Hollick's Harold the King, another good book that fits super as a prequel to this one
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TOP 1000 REVIEWERon 6 September 2009
I have an Amazon Friend who has been telling me for almost a year that she thought I would enjoy the novels of this English author. I was reluctant because I've read (and been disappointed by) books set in medieval times before, albeit by different authors, and I was not much interested in the historical period. Gladly I can say that the writing of Elizabeth Chadwick is on an entirely different level from my previous experience with this genre.

This is a wonderful book which takes place over a space of 23 years, from 1065 to 1088. All of the main characters, and there are quite a few of them, are written as complete people. Not just the good traits, not just the bad. People are never one dimensional in real life, why should we accept them when written that way in a novel? This particular author has a wonderful talent for letting the reader see all sides of a character so that they fit naturally within the story. Her descriptions of daily living, war, birth and death are vivid and compelling even if sometimes difficult, for those of us who are squeamish, to read about. Yes, the descriptions for the Battle of Hastings were unsettling for me to read but I know they reflect reality. War was never clean and sterile. It still isn't. The good thing is that this is not a book about war, it is a book about what impact that war had on the lives of these characters before, during and after that war.

The book is divided into two sections. The first centers around Ailith and the second around her daughter Julitta. I found it extremely interesting that Elizabeth Chadwick allowed both mother and daughter to make the same mistake, namely to put themselves in a position to love a man who could not be their husband. And yet Chadwick used Julitta's father, Rolf, as the character who could understand her situation best since he had lived through those same kinds of situations with her mother. I didn't want to like Rolf, but after watching him mature over 23 years I just couldn't help myself. That is the sign of a truly good author from my standpoint. Someone who writes well enough to make me change my mind.

I thoroughly enjoyed this book. The history is there, the fully drawn characters, the complete immersion in the time period. I was sorry to see it end. Thank you Elizabeth Chadwick for sharing your talent in this way and thank you to my Amazon Friend for recommending this book. I think that is the wonderful part of this Amazon amateur reviewing/sharing community.
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on 20 May 2010
I have enjoyed all the Eliabeth Chadwick books I have read so far, and this has been one of my favourites. It begins in 1065, just before the Norman invasion, and depicts the life of Ailith, a saxon woman, and later her daughter Julitta. The historical detail is very good, as in all Chadwick's novels, and the characters are interesting. I particularly loved the character of Ailith; one reason I reviewed this book as 4 stars instead of 5 was because I was quite dissapointed with the conclusion of Ailith's story, I had hoped for a happier ending for her.
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on 14 October 2013
This is the second novel I have read by this author, and I must say that the book made this period of history both colourful and interesting. Her descriptions of Norman England are fascinating. I do think that the covers of Elizabeth Chadwick's novels imply a romanticised, Mills and Boon image of what she is trying to portray, but I thought this story was well written and moved at a fast and interesting pace. True some aspects were fairly predictable, and the events at the conclusion seemed far too coincidental to be realistic, but I think it is important to accept the book for what it is in that it is never going to be a great literacy classic for goodness sake! I absolutely love history, and have read enthralling books by David Starkey and Hilary Mantel, which are vastly different in their style to the novels of Elizabeth Chadwick, but I think variety is the spice of life. I think it is important to remember that whatever the author's ability and approach, whether it be an historical novel or research account, we will perhaps never know if the portrayal of events is entirely accurate of course owing to the immense timespan of a long ago era and unreliability of evidence.
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on 3 March 2007
I remember an old episode of Cagney and Lacey. In this partucular episode Cagney is given a book to read by a new boyfriend. After not reading it and giving it to Lacey instead, she then reviews it by saying 'I hated it, right up until 4 in the morning when i left it down'.

The Conquest was just like that for me.

Set during the Norman Conquest (hence the title) it concerns the life and loves of 2 families, one Norman and one Saxon. Both families lives collide with tragic and happy consequences for both.

It's an excellent read. A 'page turner' in the true sense of the word.

One slight disapointment is that the language does, now and again, slip into Bodice Ripper territory.

Overall, highly recommended for any lover of Historical Romance.
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