13 of 14 people found the following review helpful
`You have to know when to seize the advantage and when to yield.',
This review is from: To Defy A King (William Marshal) (Hardcover)
Mahelt Marshal is the eldest daughter of William Marshal, one of the most respected and influential knights in England. During King John's turbulent reign, William Marshal is suspected of treachery and with two sons being held hostage he seeks to make an advantageous marriage for his daughter. A marriage to Hugh Bigod, the son of Roger Bigod, Earl of Norfolk is arranged, and Mahelt moves to Framlingham to live with her new family.
This is Mahelt's story during the period from January 1204 to September 1217. It is the story of a proud Marshal daughter growing into a young woman and realising that a Bigod wife is sometimes required to have different allegiances than a Marshal daughter. In the meantime, the reign of King John is creating political and religious upheaval, and both the Marshals and the Bigods are in danger. Mahelt and Hugh's marriage is also under threat as allegiances and loyalties are challenged.
I enjoyed this novel. Ms Chadwick brings medieval England to life by deftly recreating the physical world and the mindsets of the period. This makes it easier for the 21st century reader to appreciate why the 13th characters behave the way they do.
While this novel can be read as a standalone, I'd recommend reading Ms Chadwick's other novels about the Marshal (The Greatest Knight; The Scarlet Lion; A Place Beyond Courage) and Bigod (The Time of Singing) families first.