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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars THE WOMAN BEHIND THE THRONE...
In this well-written book, set amidst the pageantry and tumult of the fourteenth century, the author expertly chronicles the tragic story of Isabel the Fair, daughter of King Philip of France, who became wife to Edward II, King of England. Their marriage would prove to be the undoing of both of them.
Unfortunately for Isabel, her charms, while a hit with the English...
Published on 28 Mar 2005 by Lawyeraau

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3.0 out of 5 stars A slightly quaint account of Edward II's naughtinesses and the reactions they inspired in his beautiful wife, Isabel
This is a good, though not outstanding account of the life of Isabel, Queen of England. It encompasses both her own infidelities and those of her husband Edward. The writing is of serviceable quality, but the tale is a good one, and my interest was held until the very end. Some 'facts' contradict those in other accounts of the marriage, but this is a niggle: we're dealing...
Published 15 months ago by Glilla Bear


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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars THE WOMAN BEHIND THE THRONE..., 28 Mar 2005
By 
Lawyeraau (Balmoral Castle) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Isabel the Fair (Hardcover)
In this well-written book, set amidst the pageantry and tumult of the fourteenth century, the author expertly chronicles the tragic story of Isabel the Fair, daughter of King Philip of France, who became wife to Edward II, King of England. Their marriage would prove to be the undoing of both of them.
Unfortunately for Isabel, her charms, while a hit with the English people who adored her, were apparently lost on Edward who, quite charming and attractive himself, seemed to have eyes only for those of the same sex. In particular, he had a very strong attachment to Piers Gaveston, a childhood friend with whom he had been raised. It appears that his relationship with Gaveston was of a romantic nature, and Isabel found herself taking a backseat to these two lovers, a position that did not sit well with the beautiful and resentful Isabel, whose only desire had been to have a happy marriage.
Moreover, Edward II's relationship with Piers Gaveston was totally indiscreet and, as a royal favorite, Gaveston incurred the enmity of the all powerful barons of England who looked upon Edward II as a weak king unable to govern his kingdom properly. Consequently, England would always seem to be on the brink of civil war during his reign. Still, King Edward II did his duty in terms of securing an heir, and, though an errant husband, he would prove to be a loving father. He and Isabel would have several children with Isabel functioning as a royal brood mare, a role that she was to resent.
The affair with Gaveston reached scandalous proportions and even temporary exile to Ireland did not cool Gaveston's and Edward II's ardor. When Gaveston returned to England, it would be the beginning of the end for these two lovers, with Gaveston meeting a fate that would forever cause Edward II to grieve. After the death of Piers Gaveston, it was hoped by all that the relationship between Edward II and Isabel would normalize, but a new favorite, Hugh the Dispenser, would succeed Gaveston, and once again, Isabel would find herself to be a third wheel. This time, however, Hugh the Dispenser, lacking Gaveston's innate charm, would prove himself detestable to those of Edward II's court. He would also seek to separate the King from Isabel, becoming her implacable enemy.
The ensuing estrangement from her husband would act as the catalyst for Isabel's alliance with a powerful and ambitious border lord in exile, Roger Mortimer. He would become her lover and set in motion events that were to see Hugh the Dispenser executed and King Edward II deposed. Edward III, son of Isabel and Edward II, would be crowned King of England, while his father still lived. Shortly after, Edward II would meet a most heinous death, one that would cause his son to root out those who he believed had murdered his father. Unfortunately, as much as King Edward III loved his mother, he hated Roger Mortimer. What would happen to them both would be a curious justice for his fathers ignominious death.
This is a wonderful book that examines those events that led to the deposition and death of Edward II. The author paints a somewhat sympathetic portrait of Isabel, the wronged wife who sought to be loved as a man loves a woman, and who found solace, however short-lived, as well as intrigue, in the arms of Roger Mortimer. The author grounds the events in the context of the political and social mores of the tumultuous fourteenth century. Awash with vivid period detail and peppered with the names of those who would have lasting historical impact, it is an entertaining, as well as informative, work of historical fiction.
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3.0 out of 5 stars A slightly quaint account of Edward II's naughtinesses and the reactions they inspired in his beautiful wife, Isabel, 24 April 2013
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Glilla Bear (Isle of Wight, UK) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Isabel the Fair (Paperback)
This is a good, though not outstanding account of the life of Isabel, Queen of England. It encompasses both her own infidelities and those of her husband Edward. The writing is of serviceable quality, but the tale is a good one, and my interest was held until the very end. Some 'facts' contradict those in other accounts of the marriage, but this is a niggle: we're dealing here with "historical fiction" after all. There's not a great deal written about Edward and his lovers, Piers Gaveston and Hugh Despenser, so if you have an interest in the Plantagenets, I'd recommend this novel.
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Isabel the Fair
Isabel the Fair by Margaret Campbell Barnes (Hardcover - Dec 1957)
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