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Isabella of Angoulême Paperback – 30 Oct 2015
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About the Author
Erica Laine was born in Southampton in 1943 and originally studied for the theatre at the Arts Educational School in Tring. She worked as a library assistant in London and trained as a speech and drama teacher before moving with her family to Hong Kong in 1977. Here she worked for the British Council for 20 years as a teacher and educational project manager.Since 1997 she has lived in South West France where she became interested in all sorts of historical research and writing, as President of the Aquitaine Historical Society. This led to a focus on Isabella of Angouleme and her life and times. The Aquitaine region is rich in English and French history and Isabella is a person who was woven into both. Erica has begun writing Part 2 of The Tangled Queen which will show how Isabella played all sides against each other and how her intrigues became part of the beginning of the 100 Years War.
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A visit to the Lusigan’s from King John was to change Isabella’s destiny. With a bad reputation around women and young girls, John saw this beautiful rich young girl and wanted her. The thought of becoming Queen of England soon turned Isabella’s head. While John sent Hugh off on an errand likely to take several weeks, her parents, keen for such a prominent match took her home and allowed John to marry her.
Even at twelve, Isabella was very materialistic, dreaming of power and riches. Returning to England to have their wedding blessed and live with him at court, she soon found all John really wanted was her young body and her riches. He was not at all interested in her as his queen or in giving her any power.
The book tells of her life with John, one of disappointment and frustration. She has four children with him but spends most of her time almost exiled with them, cheated of the life at court she originally had planned. He does buy her expensive jewels but thinks nothing of taking them back to sell when he’s short of money.
John is a devious licentious man, extremely cruel and greedy, only interested in accumulating wealth and land and murdering those who get in his way. It is easy to understand why the barons rebelled and forced the Magna Carta on him. His greed, however, was such a singular focus in his life that it left him open to grave errors one of which cost him his lands in France.
This is an interesting historical account of Isabella’s life with John. Even after his death, she is kept from having any influence over her son Henry and the court he will establish. Part one ends as she plans to return to her homeland in France and left me wondering what was in store for this very unhappy and frustrated woman.
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