Tag Archives: Elizabeth Chadwick

The Time of Singing: A Year of the Marshal Review

Chadwick does it again!

Time of Singing is another in a series of books that deals with life in the Angevin Empire. This time readers are treated to a snippet of the life of Ida and her husband Roger Bigod Earl of Norfolk.

Ida starts her life at Henry II’s court as his less-than-willing mistress. After giving birth to the king’s famous bastard, William Longespee, she marries Roger Bigod.

Elizabeth Chadwick does another great job of making the characters and time period come to life. Their complex stories and personal and political struggles create a quick moving and engaging story. Chadwick takes the historical narrative and adds personal character to the experience.

I really enjoyed this book after reading not only her books on William Marshal, but also her works on John Marshal and Empress Matilda. Over and over in Chadwick’s novels we see the same people appear interwoven into each others lives. I like seeing the same people through different lenses.

Finally, I LOVED the ending featuring the water joust. Awesome– who knew there was even such a thing.

This is one of Chadwick’s winners!

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January 10, 2014 · 4:36 pm

Elizabeth Chadwick’s Shadows and Strongholds: A Bookymom Review

Shadows and StrongholdsShadows and Strongholds by Elizabeth Chadwick

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Shadows and Strongholds is another of Elizabeth Chadwick’s novels about life during and after The Anarchy. This time we follow a young boy, Brunin Fitzwarin as he grows to manhood.

As always, you can count on Chadwick to paint a vivid picture of the period. However, in this story I really feel as if she gave the characters a chance to shine. We are treated to story that is less tangled in history and more focused on the people. I have read Chadwick’s Marshal books (John, William and Mahelt) as well as her book about Empress Matilda. I liked them all, but they were less chapter driven. In this book, Chadwick takes more liberties with the characters and the lives and it really pays off.

Brunin and his family relationships are very well developed. We see how he interacts with his own family as well as the family of his foster father. I also loved the female characters– Sybilla, Hawise, Marion–. They really have a strong role to play in the book and move the plot. They play a role even though they are not Queens. Even Brunin’s grandmother is well developed.

If you like Chadwick, I think this is one of her better books.

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The Marshal Family Saga: A Place Beyond Courage– A Review

A Place Beyond Courage (William Marshal, #1)A Place Beyond Courage by Elizabeth Chadwick

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Chadwick delivers another solid historical-fiction account of the period during the English Anarchy. This time she follows the life of John Marshal a strong-willed and clever supporter of the Emperess Matilda. John Marshal is best known for two rather striking historical incidents. First, in a heated battle, he retreats to a church. His enemies set it on fire and rather than be captured, John stays in the burning building and suffers the scaring loss of one eye. Second, he is known for offering up his son William Marshal to King Stephen as a hostage. John then breaks the truce and as a results, forfeits William’s life. The soft-hearted King Stephen does not allow his followers to kill the child (and William grows up to a power force at the court of King Henry).

These two episodes define John Marshal in the eyes of history. Modern followers of the Marshal family history can’t help but wonder at what John was thinking! But, Chadwick does an excellent job of painting a strong-willed, brave, and determined man. John Marshal deals in a world of realpolitik where difficult situations require him to make even harder choices for survival.

Chadwick attempts to flesh out the emotions behind the choices and offer one potential view of John Marshal. By adding emotion to the historical narrative of John’s life readers can TRY to imagine how and why he made his famous choices.

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