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Most Helpful Favorable Review
10 out of 13 people found this review helpful.
The Woman Who Would be Queen!
Another woman, Matilda, the daughter of Henry I, has been promised she will be Queen upon the King's passing. Henry believes he has guaranteed this in having his counselors and liege lords pledge their loyalty on bended knee to Matilda. This is Matilda's story, a journey of yearning and suffering as Stephen of Blois usurps the throne after Henry's death. Matilda is married to Geoffrey of Anjou, a brutal man who almost destroys his wife. Scathingly sarcastic, Geoffrey, however, is a superb military strategist and supports Matilda's quest for the crown only because he believes it will benefit his own dreams of power.
The plot is not as simple as described so far. There are moments of temporary victory, moments of intense sorrow, and ultimately moments when the realization strikes that the timing is all wrong for Matilda's ascension to Queen of England. Thus a brutal civil war begins that tears apart a country undeserving of the shifting spheres of loyalty and success that follow.
Adeliza, believing Matilda should rightly fulfill her queenly destiny, and the men who surround Matilda are complex characters as portrayed in this engaging novel. Matilda is remarkably unable to truly control her strategy and even disregards the advise of those more knowledgeable about how to win over the lords who begin to see Stephen's weaknesses. Adeliza risks much in her loyalty to Matilda, shown in some heartrending scenes that remain potent long after they are read. Indeed, Adeliza is frequently the more sympathetic character than Matilda, a tough woman who hides her heart because she fears it may be deemed weakness.
The Lady of the English is an interesting story about this little-known slice of history and the woman who spent so much of her life in truth preparing another and those around her for the role of ruling the formidable Kingdom of England. Fascinating Middle Ages historical fiction!
posted by literarymuseVC on October 1, 2011Was this review helpful? Yes NoThank you for your feedback. Report this reviewThank you, this review has been flagged.
Most Helpful Critical Review
6 out of 11 people found this review helpful.
posted by 8888649 on July 27, 2013Was this review helpful? Yes NoThank you for your feedback. Report this reviewThank you, this review has been flagged.
Posted October 9, 2011
Enjoyed Reading, but....
I realize the book was to give more insight to the two Queens, focusing on Maltida and second, her father's second Queen, Adeliza. But being a stickler for detail, I just felt so much detail was left out on what went on during Matida's campaign while she was in England - an important factor was exactly how King Stephen was captured during the one battle and more of her brother, Robert's, involvement and what an excellent battle commander he was and more detail on how much Matida depended on him. I do recommend reading this book, however it would be helpful to also read Sharon Kay Penman's "When Christ and His Saint's Slept" (first in the Eleanor of Aquataine trilogy), which fills in all of the historical gaps (and Penman is on target w/all of the facts), starting with the sinking of the White Ship. As I said, I enjoyed the book, but much speculation on the fiction part, and more historical details would have helped explain Maltida's plight and how the tide did turn against Stephen.
3 out of 4 people found this review helpful.Was this review helpful? Yes NoThank you for your feedback. Report this reviewThank you, this review has been flagged.
Posted January 31, 2014
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Posted January 7, 2013
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