Results tagged “Elizabeth Chadwick” from Reading
Elizabeth Chadwick's third historical novel, and - even with a re-edit following subsequent successes - refreshingly free from the quirks I find so annoying in later books. Purely fictional, The Leopard Unleashed follows Renard FitzGuyon from the Crusader Kingdoms of Outremer to the northern end of the Welsh Marches, where, as King Stephen and Empress Matilda battle for the throne, he must choose between duty and passion.
Publisher page: The Leopard Unleashed - Elizabeth Chadwick
I don't know why I do it. Every time I plough through one of Elizabeth Chadwick's historical novels I get irritated by the deliberate use of words and phrases (presumably) unearthed in this season's research (my bête noires from in this particular novel are: solar plexus and dapifer) and the mediaeval Mills and Boon plot.
Amazon.co.uk link: To Defy A King - Elizabeth Chadwick
We follow William and Isabelle through the growth of their family, their travels through their lands in on continental Europe, England and Ireland, and the difficulties of staying loyal and honourable during the reign of King John, a corrupt court and the chaos and collapse of the Angevin Empire.
Amazon.co.uk: The Scarlet Lion - Elizabeth Chadwick
The perfect read for the long journey home from Bhutan via Kolkata. Shadows and Strongholds tells of the childhood friendship and subsequent marriage between Fulke FitzWarin and Hawise de Dinan - characters I'd first met in Lords of the White Castle and which I now feel the need to go back and read again!
The novel also shows the friendship between their fathers - minor noble Fulke FitzWarin (senior) and former mercenary, Joscelin de Dinan, whose sensible wife Sybilla had inherited Ludlow castle - and the ever present threat to their power posed by rival claimants and the Welsh. I felt that I'd me these characters too - but can't work out where.
The novel spans 12th century decades from the waning of the civil war between Empress Matilda and King Stephen and Matilda's son Henry II, firmly taking control of the crown and the country.
One of Elizabeth Chadwick's best, with the powerful female characters underlining the limits of female freedoms and corresponding male attitudes.
Amazon.co.uk link: Shadows and Strongholds - Elizabeth Chadwick
A slimmer volume than some other Elizabeth Chadwick novels, but still a good love story set in the Middle Ages. In Shields of Pride, Linnet de Montsorrel finds freedom from her abusive oik of a noble husband when Giles is killed at Smithfield horsefair, but her hand and her land is swiftly "reallocated" to Joscelin de Gael, illegitimate son of William Ironheart. The course of true love is inevitably indirect, but Linnet and Joscelin get there in the end, and on the way we have brawling (half)brothers, obsessed and bitter wives/ mothers, ghostly apparitions and royal rebellion.
Amazon.co.uk link: Shields of Pride - Elizabeth Chadwick
A tale set in England during the turbulent 12th century, when the repercussions of the Norman Conquest were still being felt - not just in England but in what we now know as France too - as Empress Matilda and her cousin King Stephen fought for the crown, bringing civil war, famine and fear to the country that Henry I had made strong and prosperous.
The man at the centre of the novel is John FitzGilbert, Lord Marshal of England, who after loyal service to Henry I, first supports Stephen and then switches sides to support Matilda, staying Lord Marshal throughout. He discards his first wife on the grounds of consanguinity, and swiftly makes a political and more profitable marriage to Sybilla of Salisbury.
As you might expect, Elizabeth Chadwick turns this somewhat unsavoury set of events into a tale of passion, heroism and honour - and whilst it is a good read, be prepared for rather a lot of battles and sieges.
Amazon.co.uk link: A Place Beyond Courage - Elizabeth Chadwick
An excellent historical novel from Elizabeth Chadwick, telling the (true) story of Fulke FitzWarin, growing from squire to knight to outlaw to Lord of Whittington in the Welsh Marches during the reigns of Henry II, absentee Crusader King Richard the Lionheart and treacherous King John.
The love story strand tells of his marriage to Maude le Vavasseur, the politics feature Llywelyn the Great, Hubert Walter, Ranulph of Chester, and the action takes place throughout the lands of the Angevin Empire, which stretches across the English Channel.
What I enjoyed most about this novel was the balance between the male and female characters - Maude le Vavasseur wasn't portrayed as a damsel in distress, predestined to fall into the strong arms of Fulke FitzWarin (having overcome some obstacles in the path to true love, naturally). Instead we get to see these two main characters develop from childhood to adults, carefully picking their way through the tricky politics of the period, maturing as individuals and developing relationships as one does in real life.
Amazon.co.uk link: Lords of the White Castle - Elizabeth Chadwick
If you liked the historical sections of Kate Mosse's Labyrinth, you will definitely enjoy this novel. It is set in the Languedoc at the time of the Albigensian Crusade and the persecution of the Cathars by the twin powers of the Catholic Church and the northern French nobility, notably Simon de Montfort - the former thirsty for souls, the latter for land and the power and wealth it would bring.
I haven't quite worked out why, but the love story part of the plot of this novel didn't irritate as much as it has done in other Elizabeth Chadwick novels I've read of late. Possibly because all the characters remained strong throughout, and the story didn't end when the guy got the girl.
Amazon.co.uk link: Daughters of the Grail - Elizabeth Chadwick
Selected from my Library Books To Read pile on the basis that the cover illustration might not be allowed into Iran (I go there for a fortnight at the start of May), The Marsh King's Daughter was a quick read.
Set several centuries earlier than The Lady and the Unicorn, and in the lowlands of East Anglia it tells the story of a headstrong wool merchant's daughter who runs away from the convent to which her stepfather consigns her, and ends up becoming a successful business women, trading in sheep, wool and cloth, travelling around England and to Europe. There's the usual love story accompanying the history, and the Marsh King references are to King John's baggage train being lost in the treacherous quicksands of The Wash in 1216.
I fear that familiarity with Elizabeth Chadwick's novels is at risk of breeding some kind of contempt, which I wouldn't want as I do enjoy them - the books are well written and detailed, with good characters and plot; they're just a bit too similar in the overarching tale of two people overcoming adversity to find love.
Amazon.co.uk link: The Marsh King's Daughter - Elizabeth Chadwick
Another strongly researched mediaeval romance from Elizabeth Chadwick, but the first that left me wondering whether I should have a break from her before reading another of her novels.... The Winter Mantle is by no means a bad book, but three generations' worth of stories isn't really sufficiently supported by three generations of characters and depth. And for the first time I failed to warm to any of the characters.
What you do get in exchange is a plot that shows the social and political impact of the Norman invasion of 1066 and the gradual merging of the Norman and Anglo-Saxon worlds, at a time when the Normans were building an empire on the continent that would power the Crusades - and which would once again emphasise the position of England and the English on the periphery of the Western world.
As one of the amazon reviewers put it, Elizabeth Chadwick "now writes about the period with the convictions of her obvious knowledge of the subject and has also made a subtle change from writing what were in effect historical love stories (nothing wrong with that) to historical novels with a love interest."
Amazon.co.uk link: The Winter Mantle - Elizabeth Chadwick
Another thoroughly enjoyable piece of historical chick lit from Elizabeth Chadwick in a richly evoked, detailed setting which I have come to expect in her novels.
As ever, the novel features a pair of star crossed lovers, although it takes a while for Annais and Sabin to grow up enough to recognise their destiny. Even then the path to true love does not run smooth in this tale which takes the reader, and the characters, from the dour Scottish borders to the vibrant and voilent Crusader Kingdoms of the 12th century, showing how close these two distant areas were brought by the Crusades and the people involved in them, on both sides.
Amazon.co.uk link: The Falcons of Montalbard - Elizabeth Chadwick
I managed a trip to the Barbican library after work on Friday lunchtime, returning home with a pile of books - a fitting start to the Christmas holidays. I demolished this mediaeval Mills&Boon within 24 hours, mainly due to the fact that I started reading on Saturday evening in the absence of anything decent on the telly, carried on into the wee small hours of Christmas Eve..... eventually finishing the book on the way home from Michael's evening of food, (mulled) wine and bonhomie in Ladbroke Grove.
Very much along the same lines as The Love Knot, my first Elizabeth Chadwick, and just as enjoyable. The Champion tells the tale of two young lovers, one a runaway monk, the other the unacknowledged grand daughter of the Duke of Stafford, who grow up in the community of the tournament camp in late 12th century France, in the shadow of the Angevin courts of Richard the Lion Heart and Prince/King John and the French and Norman world of King Philippe. Nothing too demanding.
Amazon.co.uk link: The Champion - Elizabeth Chadwick
A perfect antidote to the sadness I felt on finishing The Master, Elizabeth Chadwick's merging of mediaeval historical fiction and modern chick lit is a notch above a bodice ripper, on a par with Jean Plaidy for plot and accuracy but with rather more racy sex scenes!
Set during the 12th century civil war between King Stephen and Empress Matilda - a time when Christ and his Saints slept leaving the people of England to freeze and starve - this tale tells the lives and love of a normanised Saxon knight, Oliver Pascal, and young widow turned midwife Catrin.
An easy page turner, but a credible one. My first encounter with Elizabeth Chadwick, but I'll be on the look out for more of her novels.
Amazon.co.uk link: The Love Knot - Elizabeth Chadwick