The culture and the politics are completely distant and foreign to our contemporary values today but Chadwick brings what once was very real to life again with details of daily life including food, dress and furnishings. I enjoyed learning about these historical figures and the politics of the period.
Reading this novel reminded me of the novels 'Roselynde' and 'Alinor' by Roberta Gellis, which also take place during the reign of King John. Overall a very well written, obviously well researched and thoroughly enjoyable novel that I would recommend to fans of historical fiction. One mark of a truly good book is that once you are done you find yourself wanting to return to that place again.
I found that to be true when I was finished, I missed these characters. Feb 22, Deb B. Reading a Chadwick book is a dangerous proposition if one has any time-sensitive responsibilities -- because the reader just cannot help getting lost somewhere in the Middle Ages. We first meet her in as a year-old loudly protesting the unfairness of not being able to play a knight Reading a Chadwick book is a dangerous proposition if one has any time-sensitive responsibilities -- because the reader just cannot help getting lost somewhere in the Middle Ages.
We first meet her in as a year-old loudly protesting the unfairness of not being able to play a knight in her older brothers' game because she is a girl.
We then follow her through the next fourteen years, during which we see increasing evidence of her independence, her spirit, and her determination. When William falls out with King John not surprisingly given John's mercurial, paranoid nature and decides to head to his lands in Ireland, he first arranges year-old Mahelt's marriage to Hugh Bigod, the Earl of Norfolk's heir. Mahelt and Hugh come to love one another, despite the Earl's pointed disapproval of Mahelt's seemingly rebellious behavior and her determination to remain loyal to her Marshal family, a loyalty often at odds with the interests of the Bigod family.
Living as a noble under King John, a king we love to hate, is not easy. John takes Mahelt's brothers as hostages, pursues Mahelt who deliciously puts him in his place at one point , and threatens her marriage and family. But Mahelt and Hugh persevere. As usual, Chadwick brings the Middle Ages alive with vibrant characters, a compelling story, and vivid historical details. Just be sure to clear your calendar beforehand. Thoughts so far, as I'm reading, is that there isn't too much "history" in this historical fiction.
For the most part there has only been character development, which I'm assuming will trail off. And while the characters are interesting, there has been essentially pages of build-up. Other notes - because I'm reading a pre-sale book - there are some typos. For example, every possessive "s" has a quote after it instead of an apostrophe, like "knights" fee" instead of "knights' fee". Also, I fou Thoughts so far, as I'm reading, is that there isn't too much "history" in this historical fiction. Also, I found a sentence on page that didn't actually make sense.
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You can glean the meaning, but still - was surprising. And now I've finished the book This is the first Elizabeth Chadwick book that I've read. And from what I've seen, she's written a lot of historical fictions, some of which were about the Marshal family. The historical aspects of the novel did pick up as the war, and hence the plot, progressed.
After reading the "Author's Notes" at the end of the book, I was impressed with the amount of details that were historically accurate. Even some of the minor characters were true to life and, now that I think back on the book, it brings a different light to things.
I almost wish I had known about some of those details before. But I definitely did enjoy reading about the relationships between England, France, Ireland, and Wales during that time, knowing that there was some accuracy to it. That is part of the draw of historical fictions, though. There were some aspects of the characters that I found to be confusing, specifically the main female lead, Mahelt. The book touted her as being the main character, the focus upon which the book was centered, since she was this strong, powerful person.
And while she was not - by any stretch of the imagination - "obedient", conservative, demure, or even adhered to typical decorum - she did not impress me as being in any way "powerful. Other than that, her "acts of defiance" were to "walk as if she were a queen" when she was insulted or condescended, then "stalk out of the room. By blood her family were marshals, or the head of household security for the King of England. After all of her brothers and sisters died, of which there were many, she became the Marshal in the mid s.
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I'd say that, considering the epoch and "place" of women at that time, this was a rather lofty position for her to be. For that I would consider her powerful. For everything that was discussed or shown in this book, I would say only "spirited" and maybe possibly "rebellious" would fit. A very large portion of the story was given to narrating the male lead's life and thoughts, her husband, Hugh. And there was a lot of interaction between the two families - who were sometimes allies and sometimes enemies, but still connected by the marriage of the two lead characters.
Why put forward this woman about whom only half of the book was written? Why sexualize her on the back cover? I felt this also gave the book a certain "lean" in a direction it didn't take, almost false advertising. It was also strange that they used two different female models for the photography. That being said, I did like the cover reminiscent of a Queen on a deck of cards. I found the whole novel had a direction that was not properly shown at the beginning of the book. Another, much smaller, aspect of the book that really irked me was when the story briefly diverged to show the plot line of Hugh and Mahelt's eldest son, who was 6yrs old at the time.
While the boy was shown to be scared and homesick, I also felt that he was given a level of self-awareness that is not at all customary to a rather small child.
To Defy a King, William Marshal by Elizabeth Chadwick | | Booktopia
He was facing some hardships, the first in his life, and wanted to be brave - so he pretended that he was a knight. I thought that was good and made sense with what children do. But then he was described to want reassurance and to see his father who would "recognize his fears and immediately banish them.
I'm sure that he was scared and that he missed his parents, but to know that he specifically wanted reassurance, or that his father would do more than just comfort him and make the "bad men" go away, was too far. Also - while reading this novel I was often reminded of R.
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Martin's series "Song of Ice and Fire". And while clearly the latter is a fantasy novel, the stories still take place around the same time in the evolution of a people and a race. I liked how Martin used more words and speaking patterns associated with the time, also, he had more elaborate descriptions of the customs, food, and clothing.
I felt his novel to be more pleasing to my overall imaginative senses. I really enjoyed this book. A good historical read, strong female character in Mahelt , good love interest in Hugh , villainy in King John and battles. This book kept my attention all the way fhrough. Aug 13, Megan Kelosiwang rated it it was amazing. My first Elizabeth Chadwick and I loved it!
I don't give out 5 stars easily but this is a story with all the things I love - historical drama based on history, fleshed out characters, tension, intrigue and a great 2-year courtship. I'll be searching to find more of her work to read! Jun 28, G. Lawrence rated it really liked it.
Enjoyable, but I found the first half quite slow. A good, solid read, but not my favourite of Chadwick's many and marvellous works. The characters are wonderful — fleshed out, individual, not stereotypical and graceful. The blend of action scenes and emotional scenes are well balanced.
You come away from each of these books wanting more!
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To Defy a King is no exception to the above. Even though most of the characters and many of the major events have been present in some way in several of her other books, Elizabeth Chadwick has a way of making them feel fresh and new each time. This is a wonderful quality because you still feel like the characters are familiar but you are getting a new take on them and their world. In To Defy a King I found that his character frustrated me because he seemed to have lost part of what I had loved about him — his connection with his wife.
I also loved getting to see more of the Marshall brood — still from an insider perspective, from Mehelt, but she becomes a little of an estranged insider. Elizabeth Chadwick really knows how to make believable relationships between her characters. I really loved watching the development of the relationship between Mehelt and Hugh. She was a very young girl when they first met and he was several years older.
Seeing what they think of each other as time goes on was interesting. There is love, passion, frustration, anger, forgiveness, and acceptance. The author is phenomenal at creating vivid scenes for the reader. When you are reading you will be completely swallowed up by the world and feel that you are right there too. The smells, sounds and visual stimuli are front and center in her writing. These characters are not just people created in an imagination; they feel like flesh and blood. This book is now my second favorite of the 4 - but I don't think anything will top The Greatest Knight for me.
This book was received for review from the publisher - I was not compensated for my opinions and the above is my honest review. I won this book in a Goodreads Firstreads giveaway.
Thank you very much. I have several Elizabeth Chadwick books in my "to read" list, but haven't started them. I thought I should read them in order, beginning with "The Greatest Knight", but I can never find that one at the library or at my local used book store. When I read the description for "To Defy a King", I thought it was a stand-alone, not part of a continuing story. So my bad, I have now started reading the series out of order.