Sunday, September 26, 2010

For the King's Favor by Elizabeth Chadwick

For the King's Favor by Elizabeth Chadwick
Copyright 2010
Sourcebooks Landmark - Historical Fiction
517 pages

In the 12th Century, Ida de Tosney is presented at court. Shy, lovely and innocent, Ida hopes King Henry II will grant her a decent marriage. Instead, she catches Henry's eye and becomes, to her horror, his new mistress.

Roger Bigod's father, Hugh, is a nasty man, bent on picking his son to pieces. As Roger's father and his army of Flemish mercenaries prepare an attempt to oust King Henry from the throne, Roger decides he has had enough and leaves, fighting instead in defense of the king. But, after Hugh Bigod's loss, his earldom is stripped from him and his castle's defenses torn down. That earldom and the lands are Roger's inheritance.

Upon Hugh's death, Roger is left with a dilemma. His stepmother and her two sons dispute the lands and the title that is legally Roger's by birth. And, his participation in one battle may not be enough to convince the king to rule in his favor.

When Roger arrives at King Henry's court intending to settle the dispute, young Ida catches his eye. Ida is equally captured by Roger's respectful manner and dashing looks. When the king's interest fades, she sees a chance to escape an unhappy life as the victim to Henry's whims by marrying Roger. But, leaving Henry will lead to the hardest sacrifice of her life. Will Roger ever succeed in regaining the lands and title that are justly his? And, will Ida and Roger be happy in spite of the loss that continues to tear at her heart?

Well . . . I'm not going to spoil it for you, but here's the thing you probably most want to know about For the King's Favor: I could not put this book down. Both Ida and Roger are likable characters, flawed in their own ways but honorable, loyal and kind. Their tale is a fictionalized account of real-life characters the author came across while researching her two books about William Marshal. I've read the first Marshal book and have a copy of the second, but it's been a while since I read The Greatest Knight and it took me a bit to realize that was the same William Marshal dropping in and out of the story. Then, I realized I was reading about many of the same events from a slightly different angle.

Oh, how I loved reading the same story from a different viewpoint. As I've mentioned many times, I'm not well educated in history and for that reason, I love reading accurate, well-researched historical fiction from which I can learn. Chadwick is, in my opinion, very much like Georgette Heyer in her painstaking research, in this case of Medieval England, as well as her sometimes-baffling detail (again, a lexicon is a very fine thing). In the author's notes, she admits to altering a few details as as she learned more in her research, but primarily by way of a change in the timeline and not by a large number of years. The shift wasn't enough to cause confusion and you have to appreciate an author who is so dedicated to accuracy.

The bottom line:

Highly recommended. I absolutely loved For the King's Favor. Like Heyer, Chadwick has already written a large number of books and that means many years of excellent Medieval reading to come. Wahoo!

In other news:

I am fighting a lingering migraine and computer issues. It's apparently time to upgrade my computer; but, since I had a really good time this summer, I'll have to wait. There are days that my computer is so sluggish it's like being on dial-up, all over again. Hopefully, I'll be able to hold out until I've finished paying for my vacation fun. Fingers crossed.

Things Isabel has done, this week:

Chewed an earphone cord into two useless pieces, learned to occasionally show tender affection to her big sister Fiona (I took some touching photos of Isabel sharing a windowsill with Fi, touching one of Fi's paws with both of hers, but missed the moment when Izzy reached up to bat Fi's whiskers and Fi didn't even flinch), chomped a window-blind pull into 4 worthless chunks, convinced a Bookfool that maybe declawing is worth remote consideration, and swung from a chair cushion after a failed leap onto a breakfast-nook chair. Said Kiddo, after rescuing her: "I wish I had that on video."

Best news for us:

Our first real cool front has arrived!!! Wheeee! Time to party!! I'm off to drink cider on the porch with hubby and enjoy the air. Happy Autumn!

©2010 Nancy Horner. All rights reserved. If you are not reading this post at Bookfoolery and Babble, you are reading a stolen feed. Email for written permission to reproduce text or photos.


  1. I love it when someone realises for the first time (or again, as in your case) just how good Chadwick is!

    Hope you feel a bit better soon too!

  2. I'm so pleased to see your positive review. You *know* how much I love EC! I've got her next one, To Defy a King, sitting here waiting impatiently while I try to catch up on my review books.

    I hear you on the sluggish computers, too. Arrrgh. But Hawaii is looming, so I won't complain too much.

  3. Marg,

    I know that feeling! It's exciting when someone discovers one of your favorite authors. Chadwick is definitely one of my new favorites. It's pretty exciting to know there's so much more great reading ahead, now that I've confirmed that Chadwick is awesome with a second read. :)

    Thanks. The cool air seemed to do my head wonders. I'm off to bed in a bit. Sleep will help, too, I'm sure! I've had a few rough nights.


    Yes, I know how much you love her! OK, a little creeping envy of you with that new book. I've still got the second William Marshall book to read, though. I'll have to dash off and see if I can add to my wishlist, yet, now that I know the title of her next book.

    Are you having computer trouble, too? We cleaned the files and mine is still a mess, so I just hope it can keep going till I'm able to buy a new one. I'm pondering a Mac but wondering if I'm too old to cope with a new system. I've been using PCs, forever.

    Ooooh, I forgot about Hawaii. November, right? Fall is perfect in Hawaii. I'm so excited for you!

  4. I was going to ask if you've defragged your computer, but then I really have no idea what that means. ;) Just something my husband has said in the past. I'm so glad he knows computers. I'd be at a complete loss if mine ever started acting up and he weren't around!

    Isn't the cooler weather wonderful? I went for a long walk yesterday and it was chilly enough for sweats. Walking Annie last night felt cold enough for a down vest! Now if it could only stay like this for the next 6 months. No snow and no wind chills. Ha!

  5. Les,

    I think defragging is just a way of shifting your files around so that the open hard disk space isn't fragmented into little bits and the computer runs more efficiently but the problem is that I'm running out of space and even defragging no longer does much. Same here -- I'd be lost without hubby's help on the computer.

    The cool weather is awesome!!! I'm all out of shape and will be restarting my workouts on the treadmill before I tackle our crazy hills but I can't wait to get outside for a walk. We sat outside for a long time, last night, enjoying the air. Ah, I love fall!!!

  6. Great review Nancy. I just got this one in today but I should read The Scarlet Lion first.
    I love that you are questioning declawing... Snickers is so bad.. I noticed this weekend that she is using the wall at the bottom of the stairs as her scratching post... ripped off all the wall paper.... Chester never seems to use anything other than the pole or the mat... Gotta love kittens!

  7. Paula,

    I noticed you got a copy of For the King's Favor! It's great. I liked it better than the first William Marshal book and I really, really liked that one. But, this time the pages just flew.

    Oh, horror about the wallpaper. I hope both our kittens will eventually calm down. One really great thing about adopting Fiona at 6 months of age was that she was already pretty close to adulthood so the worst of the kitteny destruction didn't last for long. Isabel has a long way to go before she unwinds, near as I can tell.

    Have you tried putting catnip on the scratchers to attract Snickers? I did that with both of mine and I have no trouble with Izzy scratching furniture, but she does leap onto the leather chairs using claws for balance and that's a bad, bad thing.

  8. I hope you're feeling better soon and that your computer issues get cleared up easily!

    I used to read historical fiction all of the time, but seem to have gone in a different direction with my reading since I began blogging. This book looks great though, and I've been meaning to read one of hers for a while.

  9. Alyce,

    Thanks. For some reason, most everything is popping up nicely, today. I don't know what the deal is but I'm thrilled. I've even done a little blog-hopping! Hopefully, that means we can go a while without replacing the computer, but I think in the meantime we'll be comparison shopping. The stupid migraine keeps coming back. Change of weather. Blah. I love the weather, though. :)

    I just loved this book. I usually just toss in historical fiction, now and then, because I'm an eclectic reader and burn out way too easily if I stick too closely to one genre, so I understand that change in direction you've taken. Elizabeth Chadwick is awesome. You should definitely give her a try!

  10. Love historical fiction, thanks! for sharing.

  11. Tribute Books Mama,

    Heh, I'll read historical fiction for you, anytime. :) Thanks for visiting and commenting!

  12. Yay for cooler weather right?

    Great review Nancy! I keep hearing such great things about this book. I've yet to read anything by Chadwick but hope to change that one of these days!

  13. Iliana,

    Yep! Cool weather is the best. It's coming and going, right now, but we're supposed to drop down to a low in the 40s, later in the week. Squeeee!

    You should definitely read Chadwick. I think you'd like her a lot.


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