Thursday, August 12, 2010

Book Review: The King's Mistress


 Extremely well written, prose-like, The King's Mistress is the story of Alice Perrers.  Taking place in 14th century England, the young Alice is married off at the tender age of fourteen to the dashing Janyn, a descendant of Lombard merchants, who carries with him a royal intrigue laced in scandal involving Isabella of France and her late lover, Mortimer...The secret trickles down to the royal family's ultimate secret and Alice, unaware of it all pays the price of living a life pupettered by others.

As the title suggests, Alice obviously becomes King Edward III's (son of Isabella of France and the late King Edward II) mistresss; but this only happens after the death of her husband Janyn. (It's to be noted that Alice is completely loyal in her relationships). Alice and the King fall madly in love and she is subserviant and loving to the very end.  Without going through the whole summary of the book (which is hefty and detailed to the max), in every story there is a villain and in this case it's William of Windsor who is guilty of destroying Alice's life.  He announces himself as her betrothed and plants the seed of mistrust that sows evil and gossip throughout the realm; Alice is hated and blamed for all that goes wrong (even the king at times is doubtful).  Needless to say, Alice endures it all.  Fortunately for her, the King is completely enamoured of her and also acknowledges the children she bears him.  

I rather enjoyed this story that spoke a different tale of Alice (the little I knew of her painted a sad picture of a ravenous and selfish woman who bewitched the king)- so I'm glad I got to see this side of her instead. I particularly enjoyed reading about Geoffrey Chaucer as being a good friend of hers.  At the beginning of every chapter there are verses written by him and this makes the book particularly more characteristic of the time.  

Beautifully written, the story reads like a memoir with almost to the minute details that, although I enjoyed the book, I must say that at times it felt very long. Other than that, a beautiful story all around.

I read this novel as part of the TLC Book Tours- Thanks Lisa! Check out all the other wonderful reviews HERE.

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15 comments:

Marie said...

A great review, Lucy! It sounds like you really enjoyed this one.

Daphne said...

I really enjoyed this one as well but agree with you that sometimes it did seem a little long.

Roberta said...

So good to read your great review Lucy! You stating that it was a bit long reminded me of when I was reading "A Rose for the Crown"...loved it but it was long at times. I think it was over 700 pages and when it was over I was sad it had ended all the same. Have a wonderful week, fondly, Roberta

Matterhorn said...

Lovely review.

Unfortunately, the links "TLC Book Tours" and "HERE" seem to be broken.

Ingrid Mida said...

Dear Lucy,
How lovely to have you back! Is this the book you read while away?
It is interesting how our perception of the role of the mistress has changed over time. It seems that if you were chosen for such a role in times long ago, there was little to do about it.
Hope you are well.

ecampion said...

Thank you for the lovely review, Lucy.

What a delightful blog--you've piqued my interest in the Josephine trilogy--I've just ordered the first book!

Emma

Amy said...

I can't wait to read this one! A most excellent review Ms. Lucy, as always!

Hope all is well with you - I miss you!

librarypat said...

Thanks for the review. Sounds like I one i'll have to read.

Arleigh said...

I enjoyed this one, too. Though it seemed so long, it was pleasantly lengthy. After I read up on Chaucer's Troilus and Cressida I was intrigued by the parallel. We are missing you in blogland!

Laura Fabiani said...

Welcome back, Lucy! I am currently reading For the King's Favor by Elizabeth Chadwick and it does portray a different view of mistresses back in the medieval courts. Very interesting!

librarypat said...

This is a winter book. I reserve summer for light, fluffy books with little substance. Short quick reads because that is pretty much all I have time for. The rest of the year lends itself to setting serious with books that take time and concentration.
Thanks for the review.

Bearded Lady said...

oh you find the best books! I love this time period and was just looking for a new book on it. Chaucer must add a good dose of intrigue to the story too.

Carrie at In the Hammock Blog said...

i didn't know chaucer was in this one!! Great review!!

Rebecca :) said...

I don't know a thing about Alice so this would be an entirely new story for me. It sounds like an enjoyable read.

Myckyee said...

I read this one too and there were parts I liked and parts I didn't (well, that sounds like most books I read!). Great review!