(E-arc for review from Sourcebooks)
A bittersweet tale of Love, Loss and the Power of Royalty
When Roger Bigod arrives at King Henry II's court to settle a bitter inheritance dispute, he becomes enchanted with Ida de Tosney, young mistress to the powerful king. A victim of Henry's seduction and the mother of his son, Ida sees in Roger a chance to begin a new life. But Ida pays an agonizing price when she leaves the king, and as Roger's importance grows and he gains an earldom, their marriage comes under increasing strain. Based on the true story of a royal mistress and the young lord she chose to marry, For the King's Favor is Elizabeth Chadwick at her best.
As many of you know, I'm a history buff to the extreme and For King's Favor is based on the true story of Ida de Tosney and Roger Bigod. Ida was under the king's protection and when she came of age she was presented to the king in the hopes that he would provide her with a good match. Much to her dismay the king chose to keep her as his mistress instead. Ida had absolutely no choice in the matter and had to abide by the king's wishes. She became pregnant and had a son by king Henry II. When Roger Bigod arrives on the scene, Ida becomes enamored with him and eventually she leaves the king in order to marry Roger. Unfortunately, when she did this she was no longer allowed to see her son. Though she and Roger were happy and had many children of their own, Ida was never allowed to be a part of her first son's life. What a tragic, bittersweet situation for a young girl to find herself in.
This is my first experience with Elizabeth Chadwick's work and I found her writing style to be fresh and innovative to me. She portrayed the characters realistically and allowed the reader to really try to see what they may have been thinking and feeling. She puts a fictional spin on historical characters that make the book easy to follow and read. The reader will feel for Ida as her choices are taken away from her by the king and they will be happy when she finds Roger and the possibilities of a new life. They will cry with her when she leaves her son and agonize over the fact that she is unable to be with him.
Ida was such a good character. She was one you rooted for, but were sometimes exasperated with. I think one of Elizabeth Chadwick's strong points was how she wrote Ida. She made her seem like just a young, naive girl who the king was able to seduce and use for his own purposes, but as she grows older she becomes more her own person and able to make choices for herself, even though they are difficult. We see Ida's true metal as she is faced with problems in her marriage to Roger and how she is able to withstand the storms of a sometimes troubled marriage.
Chadwick excells at describing the every day life of a medieval family and their goings on. She uses the children in her book to bring continuity to the story. She lets us know little details about the characters that may seem insignificant but allow the story to come alive for the reader. These are the things that make the characters seem real. As if you are looking on their lives and not just reading a bland and boring historical account. I liked this one a lot and I know that readers of historical fiction will love this one.
For the King's Favor is available NOW from your favorite bookseller.
I am giving this one 4 out of 5 apples from my book bag!
Here is some additional information about Elizabeth Chadwick.
Elizabeth Chadwick (UK) is the author of 17 historical novels. She lives with her husband and two sons in Nottingham. Much of her research is carried out as a member of an early medieval re-enactment society which puts great emphasis on accurately recreating the past. Elizabeth also tutors in writing historical and romantic fiction.