Tuesday, November 23, 2010
For the King's Favor by Elizabeth Chadwick
"When Roger Bigod arrives at King Henry II's court to settle a bitter inheritance dispute, he becomes enchanted with Ida de Tosney, young mistress to the powerful king. A victim of Henry's seduction and the mother of his son, Ida sees in Roger a chance to begin a new life. But Ida pays an agonizing price when she leaves the king, and as Roger's importance grows and he gains an earldom, their marriage comes under increasing strain. Based on the true story of a royal mistress and the young lord she chose to marry, For the King's Favor is Elizabeth Chadwick at her best."
(from the publisher)
I've heard so much about Elizabeth Chadwick's ability to make the medieval world come alive that I was very much looking forward to reading one of her novels. She did not disappoint -- For the King's Favor was a memorable tale of love, honor, duty, and sacrifice. Chadwick's writing made this period in history come alive, and the characters were richly drawn.
As a favored mistress of King Henry II, Ida de Tosney is duty-bound to serve her king and, as a result, gives birth to a son. But she longs for her own family with a husband of her choice, and she sees the honorable and noble knight, Roger Bigod, as the key to her future and independence from the king. In order to marry Bigod, however, Ida must make the ultimate sacrifice and leave her son, William, to be raised as a royal in the care of the court of King Henry.
Roger Bigod must also remain in the king's favor as he is attempting to recover his lands which were lost by his father's rebellious actions against the king. His stepmother, Gundreda, and half-brothers fight Roger every step, as they contend that they are the legitimate heirs of the vast inheritance and earldom.
The love story of Ida and Roger is a poignant one; together they struggle with their own deep wounds from the past, deal with the strains of long separations, and continue to build a future together at Framlingham Castle. A superb tale, and I'm looking forward to reading Chadwick's The Greatest Knight and The Scarlet Lion.
Title: For the King's Favor
Author: Elizabeth Chadwick
genre: historical fiction