LADY OF THE ENGLISH by Elizabeth Chadwick

LADY OF THE ENGLISH is the story of the struggle between the Empress Maud (1102-1167) and her cousin Stephen of Blois (1092-1154) for the throne of England. As usual, this novel is a well-written account of the period, with lots of details about costumes, food, fights and politics to bring it alive.

 

But what gives this novel additional interest is the subplot concerning Adeliza of Louvain (1103-1151) Maud’s young stepmother, who was her father’s second wife. Author Ms. Chadwick makes these two women act as a foil for one another, Maud being fierce and warlike, while Adeliza is soft and domestic. Yet these two women were friends and somehow contrived to maintain their friendship through the nineteen years of civil war (1135-1154) that erupted with the death of Maud’s father. The ending was wonderful, poignant and sad. Normally, I would give 5 stars, but I took one star off for a dialogue style that is sometimes choppy, and a prose style that is not as lovely as it might be. 4 stars.

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