Amazon excerpt and Audible sample available
Publishing Date: July 6th 2010
One of the things that I love about historic fiction is you can make someone however you want whenever you write a book, which most historic fictions do. I personally love these books and this book in particular really captured my imagination. It’s always good to see a different point of view than that which has been fed to you. (Most of the time, as my AP history teacher always liked to point out, history is written by the victor; so you only end up getting half of the story.) Emma Campion tried her best to stay true to the time period, and give as much backstory as possible (It’s possible she gave a little too much). She starts the book with a 13 year old Alice getting ready to be married off to her 30-35 year old merchant husband. (It really makes me sick sometimes to think of myself at 13 marrying a 40 year old.) Then her husband disappears but leaves her with information about the current Queen which gives her the leverage to be taken into the Queens’ household as a wardrobe advisor. She eventually becomes (gasp) mistress to the king who bestows his favor upon her to the utter disbelief and chagrin of the other courtiers who feel she is too baseborn. She is someone who is vilified in her time period, shown to be nothing more than a gold digging prostitute who would stoop as low as prying the rings from the dead King’s fingers and Mrs. Campion gave her best shot at showing how her actions could have been made with the best of intentions and still have been judged in the worst possible way.
When had I choice to be other than I was? From childhood Alice Salisbury has learnt obedience in all things and at fourteen, dutifully marries the man her father has chosen for her – at the cost of losing the love of her mother forever and the family she holds dear.
But merchant Janyn Perrers is a good and loving husband and Alice soon learns to enjoy her marriage. Until a messenger brings news of his disappearance and she discovers that her husband had many secrets, secrets he didn’t want her to know – but which have now put a price on her own head and that of her beloved daughter. Brought under the protection of King Edward III and Queen Philippa, she must dutifully embrace her fate once more – as a virtual prisoner at Court.
And when the king singles her out for more than just royal patronage, she knows she has little choice but to accept his advances. But obeying the king brings with it many burdens as well as pleasures, as she forfeits her good name to keep her daughter free from hurt.
Still a young woman and guided by her intellect and good business sense, she learns to use her gifts as wisely as she can. But as one of the king’s favorites, she brings jealousy and hatred in her wake and some will stop at nothing to see her fall from grace.
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