She was taught to obey. Now she has learned to rebel.
Isabella is just twelve years old when she marries Edward II of England. For the young princess it is love at first sight – but Edward has a terrible secret that threatens to tear their marriage – and England apart.
Who is Piers Gaveston – and why is his presence in the king’s court about to plunge England into civil war?
The young queen believes in the love songs of the troubadours and her own exalted destiny – but she finds reality very different. As she grows to a woman in the deadly maelstrom of Edward’s court, she must decide between her husband, her children, even her life – and one breath-taking gamble that will change the course of history.
Does she submit to a lifetime of solitude and a spiritual death – or seize her destiny and take the throne of England for herself?
This is the story of Isabella, the only woman ever to invade England – and win.
(Synopsis and book cover image provided by Historical Fiction Virtual Book Tours)
* * *
When offered the opportunity to review this book, my love of historical fiction and the name of Queen Isabella prompted me to immediately respond with an affirmative nod. I anticipate any historical fiction as not only pure reading pleasure but also a comfortable way to view the past and learn from the history of centuries ago.
The first half to two-thirds of the book chronicles Isabella’s marriage at age 12 to her husband, King Edward II, and her role as Queen of England. The writing is fast-paced, descriptions of places and people filled with clarity and depth. The moments leading up to Isabella’s move to rebellion were exciting and then … well, then it fell completely flat for me, at least. Tragically, hardly any time is allotted to Isabella’s alliance with Roger Mortimer and their plan to conquer England.
I had confirmed with the publisher via HFVBT that the copy I received had not been finally edited, although it appeared a final edition. I worked hard at not letting multiple typos, duplicated chapters, lost time (i.e. on one page Isabella gives birth to her first child and then you turn a page or two and she has four or more!), misspellings, dead people resurrected to life suddenly, and inconsistencies in characterization bother me. I have not had the privilege of seeing a finally edited version. Therefore, I would hope that many of these problems had been cured before the last run.
Did I like anything about this book? YES, ISABELLA! I always a love a strong female character and to a point Falconer draws a perfect image of a girl, who sees the need to teach herself to become a strong woman. Although a lighter treatment of Isabella than most books I’ve read, she is shown to be empathetic and compassionate. The treatment of her husband, Edward II, seems fair in light of his somewhat flippant and vapid airs from time to time.
As long as readers are obtaining copies of the final version of this book, I can highly recommend it to the individuals looking for an introduction to Isabella, the famous “she-wolf” of England.
* * *
Watch trailer: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lGBgmrsZLMA
Meet the Author:
Born in London, Colin first trialed as a professional football player in England, and was eventually brought to Australia. He went to Sydney and worked in TV and radio and freelanced for many of Australia’s leading newspapers and magazines. He has published over twenty novels and his work has so far been translated into 23 languages.
He travels regularly to research his novels and his quest for authenticity has led him to run with the bulls in Pamplona, pursue tornadoes across Oklahoma and black witches across Mexico, go cage shark diving in South Africa and get tear gassed in a riot in La Paz.
His most recent novels are Silk Road, set in the 13th century, and Stigmata, set against the backdrop of the Albigensian Crusade in Southern France in 1209. He currently lives in Barcelona.
(Bio and image provided by Historical Fiction Virtual Book Tours)
* * *
DETAILS ABOUT THE BOOK | DISCLAIMER:
Publication Date: September 3, 2013
Publisher: Cool Gus Publishing
I received a copy of Isabella: Braveheart of France from the publisher via Historical Fiction Virtual Book Tours in exchange for a fair and honest review. The opinions and recommendations expressed are my own.