Tuesday, July 27, 2010

"To Defy a King" by Elizabeth Chadwick [4 1/2]

The privileged daughter of one of the most powerful men in England, Mahelt Marshal's life changes dramatically when her father is suspected of treachery by King John. Her brothers become hostages and Mahelt is married to Hugh Bigod, heir to the earldom of Norfolk. Adapting to her new life is hard, but Mahelt comes to love Hugh deeply; however, defying her father-in-law brings disgrace and heartbreak.
When King John sets out to subdue the Bigods, Mahelt faces a heartbreaking battle, fearing neither she, nor her marriage, is likely to survive the outcome ...

First a warning ... this is not a quick read, with just over 500 pages it is one of those novels for when you have plenty of time to read.

This is an amazingly detailed story based on history from England, set in a time when power and greed mean survival of the fittest. King John is one of the most ruthless rulers of his time and the noble barons as well as the ordinary people have had enough, but to depose a King is not a small feat. William Marshal is an extraordinary man who uses his wit and intelligence to bring this tyrant King to his downfall. This story is about his eldest daughter Mahelt and her struggle to find her place in this world, she is sent to the Bigod household as an engaged child of 13 and there learns the ways of what a wife is supposed to do.

This is a stand alone novel on it's own but Chadwick has also written previous novels about William Marshal and also Roger Bigod so those of you who have read some of her other novels will be able to recognized some of the people mentioned in this one. The author's note at the end of the book is worth reading as it gives you factual detail of events mentioned through the novel.
This book is amazing in it's detail, and the characters just leap off the page, the background information entices you into this medieval way of life and before you realize it you think your living it. Totally enjoyed reading this novel.

I rate this book 4 1/2 stars.

1 comment:

Irish said...

Can't believe that you have finished this book already .... hee hee ..... Sounds like a great read though ...

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