Friday, 9 June 2017

Harlot Queen - Hilda Lewis

Isabella of France was proud to be wed to the handsome Edward II of England, but her joy soon turned to rancour, for Piers Gaveston, an egotistical and mercenary courtier, usurped her husband's bed. No woman could compete with her beauty, but another man? What could she do at the age of fourteen? Wait, only wait. And so she waited, nursing her anger, rejection, and disgust. She grew in beauty and wiles; the king, in weakness, as other men, worse men, took Gaveston's place. Weary of waiting, Isabella turned to Mortimer of Wigmore. In his bed, she found comfort and love and cared little that people called her a harlot. But even the presence of Mortimer could not quench her thirst for vengeance, once she had tasted blood. Like an unleashed fury, she pursued the king's paramours. She would tear England in half to quench her rage; if she failed, her son would avenge her honour. The contest that ensued decided the fate of England. 

In this historically accurate and thrilling story of power and passion, Hilda Lewis has created an unforgettable account of how the fate of nations has often been forged in royal bedrooms.

What did I think?

I love historical fiction but I really struggled with Harlot Queen and was only able to read one chapter at a time.  Disappointingly, I found it slower than the slowest snail in a slow snail competition; I positively crawled through it and felt like I deserved a medal for getting to the end.

The story revolves around Isabella of France who at 9 years old was betrothed to Edward II of England.  She crosses the channel with dreams of love and finds a man who has no interest in her.  It sadly reminded me of Charles and Diana as Edward had already fallen in love, with Piers Gaveston.  After so many rejections from her husband, Isabella realises that she has something she can exploit: power as the Queen of England.  We follow her journey as she gathers her allies and sees off her enemies, and finally finds love.

Drier than a cracker with no cheese, only read this if you have a keen interest in Edward II otherwise you will lose the will to live.  I did find the second half of the book more interesting as Isabella's son, Edward III, comes to the throne in suspicious circumstances, but unfortunately this isn't a book I would recommend.

My rating:

Buy it from Amazon

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