Lady of the English

Lady of the English

Book - 2011
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From USA Todaybestselling author Elizabeth Chadwick comes a gripping, never-before-told, medieval battle of the sexes

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, and cousin, Stephen do not know the iron will that drives her. She will win her inheritance against all odds, and despite all men.

Adeliza, Henry's widowed queen and Matilda's stepmother, is now married to William D'Albini, a warrior who is fighting 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.

Both women will stand and fight for what they know is right. But for Matilda, pride comes before a fall. And for Adeliza, even the deepest love is no proof against fate.

Written with vivid detail and great historical accuracy, Lady of the Englishis a captivating historical novel of Medieval England. Fans of Philippa Gregory, Alison Weir, Sharon Kay Penman, and Bernard Cornwall will be spellbound by this well-crafted story of Henry I's daughter, his widow, and their alliance and perseverance as they fight for the rightful heir to the crown--a woman!

What reviewers are saying about Lady of the English
"Lady of the Englishis a riveting historical fiction novel with thrilling drama and characters that fairly leap off of the page."--Laura's Reviews
"A detailed and very readable medieval era novel full of political intrigue and fascinating depictions of the people surrounding the throne of England."
"The story is vividly described with a depth of historical detail that is rarely matched by other novelists in the genre."--Historical Novel Review Blog

Publisher: Naperville, Ill. : Sourcebooks Landmark, c2011.
ISBN: 9781402250927
Branch Call Number: FIC Chadw
Characteristics: 514 p. : maps.


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Oct 19, 2017

Matilda who? Adeliza who?

Unfortunately, the names of these two women are often lost in history, except to those who have a passion or inclination towards the medieval. If you were to ask anyone to name a Queen of England, I think the popular choices are often the more recent: Elizabeth II, Mary of Teck, Victoria. The women who lived at the beginning, in the early years of post-Norman conquest England, are often forgotten.

This novel tells the story of two of England's lesser-known female figures: Empress Matilda and her stepmother, Queen Adeliza. Two real women who were placed in large positions of power, but yet living in a man's world, actually wielded very little. Matilda, being the only surviving child and heir of King Henry I (he himself a son of William the Conqueror) and Adeliza being his queen consort. King Henry attempted to do right by his only daughter, recognizing that her fierce spirit and determined nature would afford her the ability to rule and govern as a queen.

But wait, a WOMAN inheriting the crown? No, no, no, this simply will not do.

Here were face the irony of the times: women were not seen as strong enough of the mind or body to rule as a regnant sovereign, and yet when King Henry intended to inherit his daughter in such a way, it is in the weakness of his lords that Matilda is so swiftly disinherited in favour of her male cousin, Stephen of Blois. Men simply cannot support the succession and rule of a woman, period, ever, period. Thankfully, Matilda didn't lie down and take the usurpation of her crown lightly. She fought back, fiercely, to claim what was hers by right. Unfortunately, this did result in 18 years of civil war, a time period in England known as "The Anarchy" which was just as exhausting to read and imagine as it would have been to live through.

Adeliza, in her time as queen consort, faced her own battles. Much different from Matilda's battles of literal bloodshed and war paired with the frustrations she felt towards the patriarchy, Adeliza embodies the struggles of the female. The struggle to conceive, the jealousy and despair at her husband's mistresses and flocks of illegitimate children, on top of being near in age to the stepdaughter set to inherit the throne. After the death of King Henry, Adeliza was able to do what little to no women was ever to accomplish in this time; she married for love. Unfortunately for her, her new husband William D'Albini is in the support of King Stephen, while she herself supported the cause of Matilda. Would this division of loyalty divide her new, happy, and fruitful marriage?

Matilda and Adeliza both endured so much simply because they were women. While their similarities lie mostly in the struggles of their gender, there is a great amount of balance between these two. Adeliza struggled quietly to herself, not often issuing a complaint, whereas Matilda came out of the gate guns blazing a la Xena Warrior Princess with her war cry.

Matilda first sought to defend her own claim to the throne, but soon realized after years of war that her purpose was not to secure for herself, but rather for her eldest son, also named Henry, also a cantankerous and determined youth who was raised knowing his destiny.

Later in her life, Matilda would meet her match in another fierce, determined, and stubborn woman who would come into her life; her future daughter-in-law, Eleanor of Acquitaine. But that's another story for another time.

PrimaGigi Feb 15, 2012

If you like uphill battles with your books, this is it, this is a tome. The only other time, I was this elated to finish a book was reading I, Elizabeth by Rosalind Miles.

bookfanatic1979 Feb 13, 2012

I’ve covered most of Tudor England and Scotland, so it was nice to go further back to medieval England. Chadwick is an excellent author, albeit perhaps a tad too sympathetic to some of Matilda’s foibles.

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