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Wife to the Bastard Kindle Edition
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Mrs Lewis concentrates on the relationsship of William and Matilda and tells the story from the point of view of Matilda. She exploits the rumour that Matilda had been in love with the English ambassador to Flanders, a Saxon named Brihtric, who declined her advances. In the novel she even has a child by Brihtric. This puts her on an equal footing to William the Bastard and her refusal to marry Whatever the truth of the matter, years later when she was acting as Regent for William in England, she used her authority to confiscate Brihtric's lands and throw him into prison, where he died. The secret kept and partly revealed starts haunting and the relationship collapses more or less. Ambition does hold the couple together and the divisions increases through the the different links with their children.
Lewis constantly repeats the themes and goes on and on these fundamental issues. She simply overdoes it. After a while, this becomes wearying to the reader. Lewis's prose style takes a bit of getting used to. It's sometimes very formal and than quite dramatic, and sadly, it's also devoid of humor. On the plus side, Lewis makes us share Matilda's and William's ambition and frustration All in all it is not a book one dislikes, but one does not particuarly like it either. It is a quite mixed bag.
All in all a thought provoking read for the reader of serious historical fiction
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