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The People's Queen Paperback – 5 Aug 2010

3.4 out of 5 stars 45 customer reviews

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Paperback, 5 Aug 2010
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Product details

  • Paperback: 544 pages
  • Publisher: HarperCollins (5 Aug. 2010)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0007311214
  • ISBN-13: 978-0007311217
  • Product Dimensions: 15.3 x 4.3 x 23.1 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 3.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (45 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 621,315 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Product Description

Review

Praise for ‘Blood Royal’:

‘Bennett writes thoughtful, well-researched historical fiction, finding connections between past and present without too much silliness or fact-bending, and with plenty of romance. Enormous, in every sense of the word’ The Times

‘A page-turning story, successfully evoking the atmosphere of intrigue and fear that beset the times’
Daily Mail

'A skilful blend of fact and fiction. [Bennett's] characters, story, and fluid writing style sweep you along in a pageant of medieval life. This is quite simply an excellent read!' Historical Novel Society

Praise for ‘Portrait of an Unknown Woman’:

'Bennett's background detail is impeccable – part love story, part thriller, all excellently imagined and written.' The Times

'There is plenty to admire and enjoy in Bennett's portrayal of a society convulsed by radical change…Vanora Bennett is a writer to watch.' Times Literary Supplement

'Distinguished…Romance, intrigue and art history are confidently blended, and Holbein canvases are afforded starring roles.' Daily Mail

‘If you want a classier-than-average romantic read, one contender is this fine historical debut, a ‘Girl with a Pearl Earring’-style tale.’
Sunday Times

About the Author

Vanora Bennett is a journalist and writer. She lived and worked in Russia for 7 years, writing for Reuters and the LA Times. She has been a foreign correspondent and feature writer and contributed to publications including The Times, the LA Times, the Guardian, the Observer and the Evening Standard. She lives in London with her husband and two sons.


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Top Customer Reviews

Format: Paperback Vine Customer Review of Free Product ( What's this? )
Set in the late fourteenth century, this follows the rise and fall of Alice Perrers, mistress to Edward III. As the king's decline becomes more obvious, Alice looks to exploit her position as much as she can, and set up her next patron, John of Gaunt. Clever and deeply involved in trade and finance, Alice underestimates both John and the feelings of the country, until even her friend and sometime lover, Geoffrey Chaucer, raised by her into a position of power in the city, feels she is going too far.

This is an intelligent novel which is well-researched but, somehow, the whole thing failed to capture or grip me. It's good that Bennett has written a historical novel which actually deals with trade and finance, rather than simply seeing `history' as the background to lush romance, but while I really wanted to like this book, somehow I just didn't. Alice should have been a great heroine: pragmatic, taking pleasure in her own cleverness, liking men as friends rather than being either their victim or object of desire - but somehow she fails to entice.

So while this is gritty and detailed, and gets to grips with money and trade as well as politics somehow the whole thing felt a little lacklustre. There should have been much to get one's teeth into: the rivalry between Edward III's sons which precipitated the so-called War of the Roses; the plotting of Alice herself; the lovely portrait of Chaucer which makes him as sweet and somehow humble while still intelligent as one would expect; the Peasant's Revolt; even the romance between John and Katherine Swynford (more popularly told in
...Read more ›
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Format: Paperback Vine Customer Review of Free Product ( What's this? )
Alice Perrers is probably one of the most reviled women in medieval history. Whilst she was no angel, the (albeit deserved) reputation for grasping doesn't tell the whole story. She certainly tried to get what she could for herself and her own, but she did provide comfort and support to an aging king who saw his hopes for the future dying as his once formidable son wasted away.

However, I don't think that this is the book to rehabilitate her tarnished reputation. `The People's Queen' seems an unlikely title: Alice was never a popular heroine, and I didn't get any real sense from the book as to why the author picked this name for her. As other reviewers have suggested, the book is at times stuck between historical novel and commentary on the period - it ends up not being entirely plausible as either. The period of history is fascinating: events then shaped the events in the kingdom for the next couple of centuries (and beyond), but the book just doesn't capture that essence of change.

Overall, it's not a bad introduction to an overlooked character, and gives some useful background to the period, but just doesn't engage.
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By laineyf TOP 1000 REVIEWERVINE VOICE on 11 Aug. 2010
Format: Paperback Vine Customer Review of Free Product ( What's this? )
'The People's Queen' tells the story of Alice Perrers, who rose from humble beginnings to become the mistress of the King, Edward III. Alice was a lady who had an eye for the main chance, storing up wealth, property, and, unfortunately, enemies. In 14th Century England, life was very hard especially for the peasants, and there were many rumblings against Alice from the start, both from the nobility and the general population. Not that Alice cared. She went on her merry way, ammassing gifts from the King, beautiful and costly robes and furnishings, whilst the population of England sufferred under the weight of the Plague (the Mortality), and the taxation and tyranny of the gentry. England was at war with France, and the war had to be paid for somehow, so the general population were taxed even more, as the infamous Poll Tax was introduced. Edward III was now an old man, somewhat in his dotage, and Alice was now more of a comfort and carer to him, than the willing and available Mistress she had been in the past. His eldest son, Edward the Black Prince, adored by the people, was dying, and his younger son, John Duke of Lancaster (John of Gaunt) was detested by the populace. Alice, who could never resist intrigue, teamed up with John (or so she thought), entertaining thoughts of how, after the death of the King and the Prince, she would still have power at court through the Duke John, who would, quite obviously, take the throne from his brother's son, a mere child. John of Gaunt maintained that such a thought never crossed his mind, that he did not want to be King of England, as he had no right, and would swear fealty to the young Prince. Working in the city is a young poet, named Geoffrey Chaucer, whose path crosses with Alice's, with far-reaching results.Read more ›
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Format: Paperback
This book does a great job of setting out the causes of the Peasants Revolt, how life at court worked and the impacts on all levels of society in a post "Mortality" (Black Death) world. It is also interesting as it describes the beginnings of the commercial power of the City of London. It was well crafted, a rewarding read. Writer's license is used to interweave the lives of the main protagonists which whilst improbable it is done well as it allows the writer to explore the issues in ways that would have been impossible otherwise.
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