Thursday, March 31, 2011

The Queen's Lover By Vanora Bennett

I was excited to see a blog tour from TLC Book Tours for Vanora Bennett's new paperback release and quick to sign up for it. I have Bennett's previous book Portrait of An Unknown Woman that I enjoyed reading very much. I was interested in The Queen's Lover because it's central characters are figures in England's history that tend to be a bit shadowy due to the lack of information about them. As little information as there is, the couple still had a big impact on the period of England's history I first became interested in, Tudor England.

The Queen's Lover
Paperback: 624 pages
Publisher: Harper Paperbacks; Reprint edition (March 8, 2011)

Publisher Synopsis: Catherine de Valois, daughter of the French king Charles VI, is born into troubled times. Though she is brought up in a royal court, it is a stormy and unstable environment. Before she is out of her teens, Catherine is married off to England’s Henry V as part of a treaty honoring his victory over France. She is terrified at the idea of being married to a man who is a foreigner, an enemy, and a rough soldier, and is forced to leave her home for England.

Within two years she is widowed, and mother to the future King of England and France—even though her brother has laid claim to the French crown for himself. Caught between warring factions of her own family and under threat by the powerful lords of the English court, she must find a way to keep her infant son safe. In Owain Tudor, a childhood friend for whom Catherine has long had affection and who now controls the Royal household, Catherine finds both strength and kinship. As their friendship turns to love, however, she risks not only her life and that of her son but the uneasy balance of power in England and France that will be forever changed.

History comes alive in this lyrical and moving true story of one woman’s courage and the inception of one of the most famous royal lineages of all time.

My Thoughts:

Unlike a lot of historical fiction I read, I was not overly familiar with the main characters besides a few brief details. The way Bennett fleshes out Catherine and Owain into full fledged beings makes for very good reading. I enjoyed how she also included other lesser known historical figures from the time period such as Christine de Pizan, Europe's first feminist and author, and a more well known Joan of Arc.

Bennett's writing is richly detailed and The Queen's Lover is an example of historical fiction at it's best, a genre I read a lot and where poorly written and trite stories are possible to identify within the first few pages. While the love affair between Catherine and Owain is the backdrop for most of the story it is in no way a lightweight romance. The novel has the feel of a well researched piece of writing and is a book readers interested in history will enjoy greatly, while still being accessible to those new to the time period. An award-winning journalist, Vanora Bennett is the author of Portrait of an Unknown Woman and Figures in Silk. She lives in North London with her husband and two children. Find out more about Vanora at her website. I am the last stop on this TLC Book Tour, the previous two stops were:
For a full listing visit the Blog Tour Page.


Disclosure: A complimentary reviewers copy of this title was provided. The experience and opinions related in this post are personal and unbiased.

3 Friends Said:

Lori said...

Thnx for sharing, more books to add to my wish list on Amazon lol

I love Historical Fiction, The Tudor`s are my very favorite!

Anonymous said...

I'm not familiar with these particular historical figures either, but I'm definitely a fan of this kind of historical fiction. I'm glad to know it was a good read!

Thanks for being on the tour.

Ruth said...

I love historical fiction, and indeed, I am not familiar with these characters either. Thanks for sharing--I put it on my TBR list!

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