Lady of the English

Lady of the English

4.2 37
by Elizabeth Chadwick
     
 

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"The best writer of medieval fiction currently around."
-Historical Novels Review

Matilda, daughter of Henry I, knows that there are those who will not accept her as England's queen when her father dies. But the men who support her rival Stephen do not know the iron will that drives her.

Adeliza, Henry's widowed queen and Matilda's stepmother, is now… See more details below

Overview

"The best writer of medieval fiction currently around."
-Historical Novels Review

Matilda, daughter of Henry I, knows that there are those who will not accept her as England's queen when her father dies. But the men who support her rival Stephen do not know the iron will that drives her.

Adeliza, Henry's widowed queen and Matilda's stepmother, is now married to a warrior who fights to keep Matilda off the throne. But Adeliza, born with a strength that can sustain her through heartrending pain, knows that the crown belongs to a woman this time.

Elizabeth Chadwick is the author of 17 historical novels, including The Greatest Knight, The Scarlet Lion, A Place Beyond Courage, For the King's Favor, Shadows and Strongholds, The Winter Mantle, The Falcons of Montabard, and To Defy a King, six of which have been shortlisted for the Romantic Novelists' Awards.

Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly
Prolific historical novelist Chadwick's latest (after To Defy a King) delves deep into the political intrigue of 12th-century Britain after the death of Henry I, and the contest for the throne between Empress Matilda and Stephen of Blois. After the death of her husband, the Emperor of Germany, Matilda returns to England, where Henry I declares her as his successor. But Matilda's cousin Stephen, hungry for power and, like others, unhappy with the idea of a female ruler, makes a successful grab for the throne. Now unhappily remarried to the equally greedy and unpleasant Geoffrey of Anjou, Matilda works to reclaim her crown. Partly for her own honor, but also to ensure the succession of her sons, she launches England into a bloody civil war. Chadwick's depiction of the Middle Ages is sure and subtle, building the reality of daily life with ease, and her skill in imagining the private conversations that led to the great decisions of their time is enjoyable. Though the complexity of the plot drowns what little personality the characters have time to develop, the pace of the story and Chadwick's solid research will engage fans of heavy historical fiction. (Sept.)
From the Publisher
""Breathing life into historical personages is hallmark Chadwick... a feast for the senses." 4 ½ Stars, Top Pick of the Month " - RT Book Reviews

"I have always enjoyed Elizabeth Chadwick's books since I opened my first one. Her characters live and breathe and leap out of the pages in much the same way as newspapers recount the lives of the people of today: we know them, we see them on our television screens and cannot doubt their existence, and so it is with Elizabeth Chadwick's characters. Even the totally fictitious ones who provide a link to events are as real as the historical characters they support. The author's previous novel, To Defy a King, won the 2011 RNA Historical Novel prize, and deservedly so. Her newest book is also highly recommended." - Historical Novels Review

"Renowned historical novelist Chadwick tells this battle-of-the-sexes story from a woman's point of view, channeling Matilda and the wannabe regent's stepmother as storytellers." - New York Post

"As always Elizabeth Chadwick offers a detailed and very readable medieval era novel full of political intrigue and fascinating depictions of the people surrounding the throne of England." - Historical-Fiction.com

"This book is already residing on my keeper shelf and I highly recommend it. Plan on being drawn into 12th century England and staying there a while with some magnetic characters that you won't want to leave." - One Book Shy of a Full Shelf

"A wonderful reprieve from all the Tudor novels that are saturating the market, I urge you to get this book for insight into this fascinating woman's life." - History and Women

" fascinating book with different insights to a difficult time in England's history" - Broken Teepee

"Ardent readers of historical fiction will enjoy yet another masterpiece by Elizabeth Chadwick." - Library of Clean Reads

"I love how Elizabeth Chadwick manages to interweave historical details into her fiction. I always know I'm going to get a well-researched, entertaining story, as I did with this novel." - A Girl Walks into a Bookstore

"Lady of the English was another great bout of storytelling. I learned about two really fantastic women I didn't know much about. Highly recommended" - Readin' and Dreamin'

"Lady of the English is an excellent read, a novel that will appeal to both historical fiction fans and those who are looking for an entertaining read." - Mrs. Q Book Addict

"No one does medieval historical fiction quite like Elizabeth Chadwick, and her latest novel, Lady of the English is just one more example of her enormous talent for bringing the past to life!" - Passages to the Past

"I recommend this one to readers of historical fiction and those who love stories about women's relationships. " - Debbie's Book Bag

"My only complaint about the story?

It ended.

I have a new favorite historical fiction author and it is Elizabeth Chadwick." - Violet's Muse

"Truly another interesting story from Chadwick. She has the magic and can bring history to life. After finishing this one I sit down and wait for her next book. I can't wait to read whatever she writes about next. So this make this book a historical fiction book that I recommend to everyone." - Books For Life

"I can't say enough good things about Elizabeth Chadwick and her ability to recreate the past and turn it into reality. " - Book Drunkard

"Lady of the English is recommended for anyone who wants to open a window to the horrors and glories of England's royal past." - The Misadventures of Moppet

"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!" - Crystal Book Reviews

"I have to say that Chadwick excels in the details. Every moment in the world felt real, as if you were breathing in the same air as the characters. You get it all — sights, sounds, tastes, smells." - The Maiden's Court

"Just when I think Elizabeth Chadwick cannot top herself, she does it again. Lady of the English is a riveting historical fiction novel with thrilling drama and characters that fairly leap off of the page." - Laura's Reviews

"As with all of Elizabeth's novels, the story is vividly described with a depth of historical detail that is rarely matched by other novelists in the genre. She brings to life the story of a queen who was contrary, vitriolic, and verbally blunt." - Historical Novel Review Blog

"Chadwick knows how to spin the weaves of history's cloth, embroidered with captivating details, that seem to mirror the very image of the era. " - The Burton Review

"Lady of the English is another great novel from Elizabeth Chadwick, one fans of historical are sure to enjoy." - Confessions of an Avid Reader

"And I think that's where this book really shines. The way the characters interact with each other is just fascinating and their relationships are so complex." - Book Lust

"The bond between these women is the thread that weaves balanced elements of history and romance into a story that reflects its setting and illuminates the continuing struggle of women to be accepted as powerful and feminine." - ForeWord

"This book will be best enjoyed by those who favor an intelligent, strong, and determined woman at the center of the story." - Booklist

The Misadventures of Moppet
Lady of the English is recommended for anyone who wants to open a window to the horrors and glories of England's royal past.

Crystal Book Reviews
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!
Laura's Reviews
Just when I think Elizabeth Chadwick cannot top herself, she does it again. Lady of the English is a riveting historical fiction novel with thrilling drama and characters that fairly leap off of the page.
Historical Novel Review Blog
As with all of Elizabeth's novels, the story is vividly described with a depth of historical detail that is rarely matched by other novelists in the genre. She brings to life the story of a queen who was contrary, vitriolic, and verbally blunt.
The Burton Review
Chadwick knows how to spin the weaves of history's cloth, embroidered with captivating details, that seem to mirror the very image of the era.
Confessions of an Avid Reader
Lady of the English is another great novel from Elizabeth Chadwick, one fans of historical are sure to enjoy.
RT Book Reviews
"Breathing life into historical personages is hallmark Chadwick... a feast for the senses." 4 ½ Stars, Top Pick of the Month
Historical Novels Review
I have always enjoyed Elizabeth Chadwick's books since I opened my first one. Her characters live and breathe and leap out of the pages in much the same way as newspapers recount the lives of the people of today: we know them, we see them on our television screens and cannot doubt their existence, and so it is with Elizabeth Chadwick's characters. Even the totally fictitious ones who provide a link to events are as real as the historical characters they support. The author's previous novel, To Defy a King, won the 2011 RNA Historical Novel prize, and deservedly so. Her newest book is also highly recommended.
New York Post
Renowned historical novelist Chadwick tells this battle-of-the-sexes story from a woman's point of view, channeling Matilda and the wannabe regent's stepmother as storytellers.
Historical-Fiction.com
As always Elizabeth Chadwick offers a detailed and very readable medieval era novel full of political intrigue and fascinating depictions of the people surrounding the throne of England.

One Book Shy of a Full Shelf
This book is already residing on my keeper shelf and I highly recommend it. Plan on being drawn into 12th century England and staying there a while with some magnetic characters that you won't want to leave.

History and Women
A wonderful reprieve from all the Tudor novels that are saturating the market, I urge you to get this book for insight into this fascinating woman's life.

Broken Teepee
fascinating book with different insights to a difficult time in England's history
Library of Clean Reads
Ardent readers of historical fiction will enjoy yet another masterpiece by Elizabeth Chadwick.

A Girl Walks into a Bookstore
I love how Elizabeth Chadwick manages to interweave historical details into her fiction. I always know I'm going to get a well-researched, entertaining story, as I did with this novel.

Readin' and Dreamin
Lady of the English was another great bout of storytelling. I learned about two really fantastic women I didn't know much about. Highly recommended
Mrs. Q Book Addict
Lady of the English is an excellent read, a novel that will appeal to both historical fiction fans and those who are looking for an entertaining read.
Passages to the Past
No one does medieval historical fiction quite like Elizabeth Chadwick, and her latest novel, Lady of the English is just one more example of her enormous talent for bringing the past to life!

Debbie's Book Bag
I recommend this one to readers of historical fiction and those who love stories about women's relationships.
Violet's Muse
My only complaint about the story?

It ended.

I have a new favorite historical fiction author and it is Elizabeth Chadwick.

Books For Life
Truly another interesting story from Chadwick. She has the magic and can bring history to life. After finishing this one I sit down and wait for her next book. I can't wait to read whatever she writes about next. So this make this book a historical fiction book that I recommend to everyone.

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Product Details

ISBN-13:
9781402250934
Publisher:
Sourcebooks, Incorporated
Publication date:
09/01/2011
Sold by:
Barnes & Noble
Format:
NOOK Book
Pages:
544
Sales rank:
55,780
File size:
2 MB

Read an Excerpt

As the servants removed the last of her baggage, she paced slowly around the chamber, studying the pale walls stripped of their bright hangings, the bare benches around the hearth, the dying fire. Soon there would be nothing left to say she had ever dwelt here.

"It is difficult to bid farewell, domina," Drogo said with sympathy.

Still looking around, as if her gaze were caught in a web of invisible threads, Matilda paused at the door. She remembered being eight years old, standing in the great hall at Liège, trembling with exhaustion at the end of her long journey from England. She could still recall the fear she had felt and all the pressure of being sent out of the nest to a foreign land and a betrothal with a grown man. The match had been arranged to suit her father's political purpose and she had known she must do her duty and not incur his displeasure by failing him, because he was a great king and she was a princess of high and royal blood. It could have been a disaster but, instead, it had been the making of her: the frightened, studious little girl had been moulded into a regal woman and an able consort for the Emperor of Germany.

"I have been happy here." She touched the carved doorpost in a gesture that clung and bade farewell at the same time. "Your lord father will be pleased to have you home."

Matilda dropped her hand and straightened her cloak. "I do not need to be cajoled like a skittish horse."

"That was not my intent, domina."

"Then what was your intent?" Drogo had been with her since that first long journey to her betrothal. He was her bodyguard and leader of her household knights: strong, dour, dependable. As a child she had thought him ancient because even then his hair had been white, although he had only been thirty years old. He looked little different now, except for a few new lines and the deepening of older ones.

"To say that an open door awaits you."

"And that I should close this one?"

"No, domina, it has made you who and what you are-and that is also why your father has summoned you."

"It is but one of his reasons and driven by necessity," she replied shortly. "I may not have seen my father in many years, but I know him well." Taking a resolute breath, she left the room, carrying herself as if she were bearing the weight and grace of her crown.

Her entourage awaited her in a semi-circle of servants, retainers, and officials. Most of her baggage had gone ahead by cart three days earlier and only the nucleus of her household remained with a handful of packhorses to carry light provisions and the items she wanted to keep with her. Her chaplain, Burchard, kept looking furtively at the gelding laden with the items from the portable chapel. Matilda followed his glance, her gaze resting but not lingering upon a certain leather casket in one of the panniers, before she turned to her mare. The salmon-red saddle was a sumptuous affair, padded and brocaded almost like her hearth chair, with a support for her spine and a rest for her feet. While not the swiftest way to travel, it was dignified and magnificent. The towns and villages through which they passed would expect nothing less than splendour from the emperor's recent widow.

Matilda mounted up, settling herself and positioning her feet precisely on the platform. Seated sideways, looking both forward and back. It was appropriate. She raised her slender right hand to Drogo, who acknowledged the signal with a salute and trotted to the head of the troop. The banners unfurled, gold and red and black, the heralds cantered out, and the cavalcade began to unwind along the road like jewels knotted on a string. The dowager empress of Germany was leaving the home of her heart to return to the home of her birth and a new set of duties.

Adeliza gripped the bedclothes and stifled a gasp as Henry withdrew from her body. He was approaching sixty years old, but still hale and vigorous. The force of his thrusts had made her sore inside, and his stolid weight was crushing her into the bed. Mercifully, he gathered himself and flopped over on to his back, panting hard. Biting her lip, Adeliza placed her hand on her flat belly and strove to regain her own breath. Henry was well endowed, and the act of procreation was often awkward and uncomfortable between them but, God willing, this time she would conceive.

She had been Henry's wife and the consecrated queen of England for over four years, and still each month her flux came at the appointed time in a red cramp of disappointment and failure. Thus far no amount of prayers, gifts, penances, or potions had rectified her barrenness. Henry had a score of bastards by various mistresses, so he was potent with other women, but only had one living legitimate child, his daughter Matilda from his first marriage. His son from that union had died shortly before Henry took Adeliza to wife. He seldom spoke of the tragedy that had robbed him of his heir, drowned in a shipwreck on a bitter November night, but it had driven his policies ever since. Her part in those policies was to bear him a new male heir, but thus far she had failed in her duty. Henry kissed her shoulder and squeezed her breast before parting the curtains and leaving the bed. She watched him scratch the curly silver hair on his broad chest. His stocky frame carried a slight paunch, but he was muscular and in proportion.

Stretching, he made a sound like a contented lion. Their union, she thought, even if it brought forth no other fruit, had released his tension. His sexual appetite was prodigious and in between bedding her, he regularly sported with other women.

He poured himself wine from the flagon set on a painted coffer under the window, and on his return picked up his cloak and swept it around his shoulders. Silver and blue squirrel furs gleamed in the candlelight. Adeliza sat up and folded her hands around her knees. The soreness between her thighs diminished to a dull throb. He offered her a drink from the cup and she took a dainty sip. "Matilda will be arriving soon," he said. "Brian FitzCount is due to meet her tomorrow on the road."

Adeliza could tell from his expression that his thoughts had turned inwards to the weaving of his political web. "All is ready for her," she replied. "The servants are keeping a good fire in her chamber to make it warm and chase out the damp. I have instructed them to burn incense and put out bowls of rose petals to sweeten the air. They hung new tapestries on the walls this afternoon and the furniture is all assembled. I..."

Henry raised his hand to silence her. "I am sure her chamber will be perfect."

Adeliza flushed and looked down.

"I think you will be good company for each other, being of a similar age." Henry gave her a slightly condescending smile.

"It will be strange to call her daughter when she is older than me."

"I am sure you will both quickly grow accustomed." He was still smiling, but Adeliza could tell his attention lay elsewhere. Henry's conversations were never just idle gossip; there was always a purpose. "I want you to cultivate her. She has been a long time absent, and I need to consider her future. Some matters are rightly for the council chamber and for father and daughter, but some things are better discussed between women." He stroked the side of her face with a powerful, stubby hand. "You have a skill with people; they open themselves to you."

Adeliza frowned. "You want me to draw confidences from her?"

"I would know her mind. I have seen her once in fifteen years, and then but for a few days. Her letters give me news, but they are couched in the language of scribes and I would know her true character." A hard glint entered his eyes. "I would know if she is strong enough."

"Strong enough for what?"

"For what I have in mind for her."

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