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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars An extra treat
Hugh and Bess, sequel to The Traitor's Wife, felt to me more like an extra treat for readers who loved the Despensers in the latter novel and want to know what happened to them next, rather than a standalone novel in its own right, let me just say that straight off the bat. It's a good book with a sweet story at its heart, but those expecting the same type of novel as The...
Published 20 months ago by Iset

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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars A MEDIEVAL LOVE STORY...
Having read and enjoyed "The Traitor's Wife" by this author, I eagerly looked forward to reading this book. Unfortunately, this book was not of the same caliber. Moderately entertaining, the book tells the story of a young woman, Bess de Montacute, who, though the daughter of an Earl, is forced to marry Hugh Le Despenser, whose father and grandfather had been ordered...
Published on 23 Aug. 2010 by Lawyeraau


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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars A MEDIEVAL LOVE STORY..., 23 Aug. 2010
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Lawyeraau (Balmoral Castle) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Hugh and Bess (Paperback)
Having read and enjoyed "The Traitor's Wife" by this author, I eagerly looked forward to reading this book. Unfortunately, this book was not of the same caliber. Moderately entertaining, the book tells the story of a young woman, Bess de Montacute, who, though the daughter of an Earl, is forced to marry Hugh Le Despenser, whose father and grandfather had been ordered executed as traitors by King Edward the III.

Hugh, who has been beset by the vicissitudes of fate, is trying to rebuild his fortune and reputation, and the marriage to Beth will assist him in his rehabilitative efforts. Though he a man in his thirties who is in love with another woman who is not of his station and Beth is a very young teen-age girl, barely in the flowering of womanhood, they are married. This is the story of their life and love.

Those who enjoy light medieval romances may enjoy this slow paced book that contains dialogue with an almost contemporary feel. Those who enjoy historical fiction may be, as I was, somewhat disappointed.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars An extra treat, 27 July 2013
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Iset (London, UK) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Hugh and Bess (Kindle Edition)
Hugh and Bess, sequel to The Traitor's Wife, felt to me more like an extra treat for readers who loved the Despensers in the latter novel and want to know what happened to them next, rather than a standalone novel in its own right, let me just say that straight off the bat. It's a good book with a sweet story at its heart, but those expecting the same type of novel as The Traitor's Wife won't get it. Hugh and Bess is not the sweeping epic that The Traitor's Wife is and is instead a cosy character tale of personal relationships. Whether or not you like that flavour of story is really up to your individual tastes as a reader.

I'm not sure whether the historical context contributes anything to this - after the rollercoaster of a ride through the history of Edward II's reign in The Traitor's Wife things are a little bit quieter for the Despenser family in the aftermath - or whether this focus on personal relationships in the novel is more the active choice of Higginbotham as an author. And because of the way the novel ends, there is a different feel to Hugh and Bess. The characters feel swept up in the tide of history, taking them where it will, rather than the history in The Traitor's Wife which felt shaped and created by conflicting and competing human agency.

Still, it's impossible to deny that I liked this book. There are some pretty big gaps in the historical record that Higginbotham has to tackle here, and it feels like she does to sensitively and plausibly. Hugh and Bess is marked by the same excellent story-weaving, character-building, and nuanced attention to the details and the setting as ever before, and the human voices that emerge are sympathetic, identifiable, and entertaining.
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6 of 7 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Very enjoyable tale, 8 Aug. 2009
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Misfit (Seattle, WA USA) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Hugh and Bess (Paperback)
Hugh and Bess are Hugh le Despenser, son of the infamous traitor "Hugh the Younger" and Bess, daughter of William de Montacute Earl of Salisbury. After Hugh's father is executed for treason (drawn and quartered) he is imprisoned for several years, and even when released he is still tainted with the "sins" of his father. Hugh must eventually marry, although the very young Bess is none too thrilled with her parent's choice of an older groom and a son of a traitor to boot.

The rest of the book details the relationship between the two, from a frosty beginning to one that culminates in a strong and loving marriage. I really enjoyed the relationship between the two, especially in the latter half of the book as Bess matures. I liked the banter between the two (ROFL when they went to court and she got a bit too tipsy), as well as getting glimpses of Joan of Kent and that old she-wolf Isabella. I also liked the way the author writes the dialogue, she doesn't throw in all those let's-try-and-make-this-sound-authentic words like "woe", "tis" and "certes", she just keeps it short and to the point. A refreshing change from some other books that I have recently sent flying.

While I did find the first half a bit slow paced (it might have been me, we did have just a tad bit of a record setting heat wave here), I was turning the pages at the very end to find out what happened next. I just wish it could have been longer with the secondary characters fleshed out more, but that's just me, I like big fat books. I would definitely recommend you read The Traitor's Wife first so that you have background knowledge of the period and Hugh's father and the relationship with Edward II. I am very much looking forward to Higginbotham's next book set during The Wars of the Roses, tentatively called The Stolen Crown.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars excellent, 30 Mar. 2010
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Ga Bronsdon - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Hugh and Bess (Paperback)
what a really good follow up on the life of the despensers, i really enjoyed this book and was almost put off purchasing by an adverse review but i like this author, she is informative about the era in question, based on solid fact but you really get a sense of liking and knowing the charactors.
good follow on to 'the traitors wife'
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5.0 out of 5 stars Excellent Read, 27 Dec. 2009
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This review is from: Hugh and Bess (Paperback)
I was completely engrossed with this book and couldn't put it down. It is well written and the characters come to life on the page. It is a very enjoyable tale and well worth reading. Highly recommended.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Awesome read, 13 April 2013
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This review is from: Hugh and Bess (Paperback)
Makes a change to read about supporting characters rather than the Kings and Queens. So oftern we hear about these people cropping up in the background. This was refreshing.
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3.0 out of 5 stars same old story, 3 Feb. 2014
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This review is from: Hugh and Bess (Paperback)
Just different characters, disappointed as this author was new to me.
I did finish reading it but scan read two thirds.
Thankfully it was second hand.
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4.0 out of 5 stars A Good Read, 10 April 2014
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This review is from: Hugh and Bess (Kindle Edition)
This book was a good read, never read anything else about the main characters. The historical facts are first rate
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5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars, 24 Mar. 2015
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This review is from: Hugh and Bess (Paperback)
very good read, bought the characters and time period to life
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Hugh and Bess
Hugh and Bess by Susan Higginbotham (Paperback - 18 Jan. 2010)
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