Saturday, May 29, 2010

Historical Fiction HIT: To Defy A King by Elizabeth Chadwick

To Defy a King
I broke my ten dollar rule for this book (Book Depository, free shipping!).. something I hardly ever do and guess what?? I don't regret it!

If you are looking to immerse yourself in medieval England, look no farther than this novel. Not only will you feel as tho you are really in the story, but you will gasp in shock, smile, chuckle here and there, and at one point, shed a tear or two. On top of all that, you will also learn about King John's reign and the rebellions that ensued throughout.

Spirited daughter.. Mahelt is the daughter of William Marshall, the greatest knight. It's no great surprise that she throws salve in her brother's faces while "defending her castle" and is the first one to meet her father when he comes back from his excursions. She is not only spirited, but deeply loyal. Throughout the novel, her strong family ties and loyalty remain no matter the circumstances she finds herself in.

Rebellious Wife.. Her marriage to Hugh Bigod combines two of the greatest families in England. When faced with a domineering father in law, Mahelt refuses to allow him to always have his way and even goes so far as to jump fences in the night to meet her brother. She may be a Bigod in name, but her heart is still a Marshall. This causes much friction between her and Hugh, her husband. Meanwhile, King John is ruling England as tyrant and even he will not get his way with Mahelt.

Powerful Woman.. This is woman that will stand up the king and refuse to allow him to take her child. King John is man known for "taking hostages" of the noble children and often even killing them for their parents supposed crimes. Mahelt must protect her children at all costs. Perhaps "Protective Mother" should be added to the front cover. The novel is not all about Mahelt tho. There is much history about England during these turbulent times with King John, war with France, and shifting loyalties. Other characters play major roles in the novel and their stories are just as intriguing. To mention a few: Roger Bigod and his wife, Ida. Also, Ida's son by a previous king, Longespee and his wife, Ela have their own tale and issues entwined into the novel.

Superb. I'm blown away by this one.

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