Sunday, April 28, 2013
"To Defy the King", by Elizabeth Chadwick
This is an excellently crafted historical fiction that span the years 1204-1218 and tells the story of Mahelt, the eldest daughter of William Marshall.
The novel begins with Mahelt’s betrothal to Hugh Bigod the Earl of Norfolk’s son, this union is expected to help cement the Marshal family’s influence and position and Mahelt accepts her role well aware of its importance. Their bond blossoms through the years at a time when King John’s relationship with his noblemen slowly worsen and the country descends into war and political turmoil. The Marshal and the Bigod find themselves on the opposite sides of the conflict. When her father is suspected by the king, her brothers become hostages and Mahelt’s life changes forever. To defy a king is to put themselves and their family in serious danger….
This is a wonderful and compelling story of a vibrant woman that lived in a tyrant’s world and is torn between her duty to her family and one due to her marriage. Ms. Chadwick has created another spirited and enjoyable character in Mahelt and a fascinating web of intrigues as we continue into the William Marshal saga. Roger and Ida Bigod played a good part in the background and a new generation of sons and daughters and a large cast of diverse characters joined in. The author excels in creating vivid and a well balanced blend of both action and emotional scenes and believable relationships between her characters. Ms. Chadwick knows how to keep the recurring characters fresh by giving them a different spin in life with each installment. She is an amazing writer who lets her readers travel back in time and paints them a living picture influenced by a dialogue and a narrative peppered with medieval words and natural cadence.
This story is so captivating it is very hard to put down.