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Lady of the English

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Overview

One Queen, One Empress, and the Crown the Would Define Them Both

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 ...

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Lady of the English

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Overview

One Queen, One Empress, and the Crown the Would Define Them Both

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.

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

"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 rank Elizabeth Chadwick with such historical novelist stars as Dorothy Dunnett and Anya Seton." —Sharon Kay Penman, New York Times bestselling author of Devil's Brood

"Elizabeth Chadwick is to medieval England what Philippa Gregory is to the Tudors and the Stuarts, and Bernard Cornwell is to the Dark Ages." —Books Monthly, UK

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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.)
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.
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'

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: 9781402250927
  • Publisher: Sourcebooks, Incorporated
  • Publication date: 9/1/2011
  • Edition description: Original
  • Pages: 544
  • Sales rank: 367,807
  • Product dimensions: 5.30 (w) x 8.00 (h) x 1.50 (d)

Meet the Author

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.

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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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Customer Reviews

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( 37 )
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See All Sort by: Showing 1 – 20 of 37 Customer Reviews
  • Posted October 1, 2011

    more from this reviewer

    The Woman Who Would be Queen!

    Two women desire to be the Queen of 12th Century England. One, Adeliza, wife of Henry I, sees her role as an actual Queen to be that of peacemaker in a realm where loyalties are based on ambition and the acquisition of power through land and riches. Such loyalties are bound to fluctuate as the tides of power fluctuate over the years.

    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!

    10 out of 13 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted August 17, 2011

    A MUST READ MEDIEVAL FICTION! LADY OF THE ENGLISH BY ELIZABETH CHADWICK....

    LADY OF THE ENGLISH by Elizabeth Chadwick is an interesting Medieval fiction set in 1125 Germany,Normany amd 1126 London. It is written with depth and details.The characters are interesting,engaging,and enchanting.This is the story of two women,one of which is a Queen and the other an Empress and the Crown that defines them both. This is the story of Matilda,the daugther of Henry I,and Adeliza,Henry I's widowed queen and Matilda's stepmother. Their struggles to survive,their heartrending pain,the men who supports them,the men who is against them,and the struggle for a crown that defines them both and their loved ones. It is about kings,daughters, widows,fathers, daugthers,history,and the succession of a kingdom.This is a tragic story that is both heartrending and heartbreaking with a cast of characters that have both depth and focus.She has weaved a strong plotline,characters and historical accuracy.This is a captivating story of Henry I's court and his kingdom. A must read for any Medieval,historical readers. This book was received for the purpose of review from the publisher.Details can be found at Sourcebooks Landmark,an imprint of Sourcebooks,Inc.and My Book Addiction Reviews.

    8 out of 9 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted July 27, 2013

    O

    Plot spoilers should be banned, fined, and their posts deleted. They ruin books for other readers. Have you ever considered we would like to read the book for ourselves and not have you read it for us and condense it for us? Stop with the plot reveals. It is rude.

    7 out of 12 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted July 4, 2012

    A must read if you like historical fiction

    Wonderfully written. I love this author. She gives full and vibrant descriptions and you don't even realize you've read an adjective. This book fills in the lineage of King Henry II and makes the era come alive.

    5 out of 5 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted January 4, 2012

    Good read

    Maud has always been one of my favorite personages since i was 16 and given ellen jones's fictional "the fatal crown". I have been hooked on maud ever since. There are several other books out there that use her story as a backdrop, most recently "the pillars of the earth "highlighted her struggle against stephen. I loved how the animosity flowed out on the pages between maud & geoffrey!

    3 out of 3 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    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.

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  • Posted September 20, 2011

    Chadwick enough said...

    Another Great Chadwick book!

    2 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted July 27, 2011

    Would recommend and have

    Ms. Chadwicks books are always a great read. They flow so well and yes at times can be a little long but well worth reading. I wish this book had come out on Nook when it did in stores but thats the publisher not BN. Read her books if you like this time period you won't be sorry.

    2 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted August 8, 2013

    Great history

    book kept me intrigued, love midievel history

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted November 23, 2014

    Great !

    Hard to put down, just to let you know.

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  • Posted December 27, 2013

    A well told tale about an oft over-looked time in history.

    You will feel the better for having read this book. It has the historical facts to put aside the "romance novel" and yet emotion threads through the fabric of the characters. The historical figures were strong in the Middle Ages as they are in this book.
    While the start lacks the thrill of the typical novel, the reader who is curious will enjoy the story immensely. Possibly a preference for the female reader, it is revealing about male psychological traits too.
    No regrets about finishing this - and there are numerous nest-sellers that I do discard before the final page!

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  • Anonymous

    Posted June 11, 2013

    Very enjoyable

    I'm a big fan of historical fiction, especially of medieval England. I enjoyed the fleshing out of the personalities of Matilda and of Adeliza. I think that Adeliza was correct that Matilda was her own worst enemy, whether due to PMS or simply her own arrogant personality. No doubt, the tbinking of the men of that time made it al.ost impossible for a woman to rule in her own rig
    ht. Matilda's son, Henry II apparently respected her ability and sought advice from her when he became king.

    0 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted January 5, 2013

    Looks great

    I have not read this book yet, but it looks really good. Elizabeth Chadwick is a great author. I have only read The Greatest Knight: The Unsung Story of the Queens' Champion, but I am really excited to read this book

    By,

    Bookworm

    0 out of 4 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted July 11, 2012

    more from this reviewer

    Very enjoyable fictionalized version of the 12th-century struggl

    Very enjoyable fictionalized version of the 12th-century struggle for the English throne following the death of Henry I. Both Maude (here called Matilda) and her rival Stephen lay claim to the throne, and the battles are on. As expected, women in the Middle Ages were not held in high regard in terms of leadership ability, but the men who tangle with her find Matilda a formidable and spirited foe. Tenacious, determined, and headstrong, Matilda is a character who will stay with the reader long after the book is put down.

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  • Posted October 25, 2011

    more from this reviewer

    Good read

    0 out of 3 people found this review helpful.

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    Posted June 8, 2014

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    Posted October 11, 2011

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    Posted January 19, 2013

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See All Sort by: Showing 1 – 20 of 37 Customer Reviews

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