Monday, 19 September 2011

Comfort Reading...

I've had a period of a few days where I have really struggled with my reading - and have started and put down my latest Transworld review book Crippen by John Boyne a couple of times - so in order to get myself back into review mode I have decided to read one of my favourite authors - Elizabeth Chadwick.

I first discovered her books in the 1990's when she started to publish medieval historical adventures - her characterisation is excellent, and her sense of history really makes the story come alive.

I have three books of hers as yet unread, which I sort of squirrel away  for those moments when only a good book by a favourite author will fit the bill...

I'm reading The Leopard Unleashed - which is the third book in the Ravenstow Trilogy and which was first published in 1992. It was re-edited and re-released in 2010, and whilst the trilogy can be read as stand alone novels, the books really are more compelling if read in sequence.

The Leopard Unleashed

I reviewed Elizabeth Chadwick's latest book Lady of the English for newbooks magazine in April 2011.

Lady of the EnglishLady of the English by Elizabeth Chadwick
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

jaffa's rating 5paws

Lady of the English is set in the 1100's, and follows the lives of two very different women, Matilda and Adeliza.

Matilda, the only daughter of Henry I, was used as a political pawn for all of her life. As a young child she was married to the Holy Roman Emperor, Henry V, until his death in 1125 resulted in her father using her again to make a political marriage, this time with the Count of Anjou. Following the untimely death of her brother William, Matilda was regarded by some of the English barons as the rightful heir to the English crown. However, after the death of her father, the succession was insecure, and Matilda’s life became one long battle to regain, and maintain what was rightfully hers from Stephen, the usurper King. Adeliza of Louvain was the second queen of Henry I, and Matilda's stepmother. Little is known of her historically other than she did not produce the male heir Henry I needed for a safe succession.

This is a meticulously researched historical novel with great insight into both female lead characters. Elizabeth Chadwick has cleverly juxtaposed the lives of these two fascinating women, and brought the medieval world to life in such a believable way, that you feel the tension and experience the struggle, not just for supremacy, but for survival. To be a woman in a medieval world was to be subjected to the whim of men – and only the strongest women made a difference.

Elizabeth Chadwick is a master of medieval storytelling, her sense of history is superb, her characters leap off the page, and enter your life in such a way that the story lives on in your imagination long after the last page.

.If you haven't tried her books before, and love good historical fiction then do give yourself a treat and pick up a copy of one of her books - there's loads to choose from, and each one will take you back in time much so the housework simply won't get done and the chocolate hob nobs will simply disappear....


  1. I haven't read anything from this author, which one would you recommend as a starting point?

  2. Hi treez - One of my early favourites is The Marsh King's Daughter which is set during the latter part of the reign of King John..

    .....but a good place to start would be with her latest book Lady of the English.


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