For the King’s Favor by Elizabeth Chadwick
Published by Sourceboks
When Ida de Tosnay’s wealthy father died, she became a ward of King Henry II. Ida’s arrival at court followed closely on the heels of the death of the King’s mistress and great love, Rosamund Clifford, and Henry decided quickly that the young girl would be the perfect salve for his wounded heart. Unfortunately, a young girl with no family does not have much choice when chosen by the King to share his bed, whatever her opinions are on the subject. At the same time, Roger Bigod is having problems of his own. Upon the death of his father, Roger inherits his estates and the earldom he hopes the family will regain after his father’s treason against the King, but Roger’s stepmother is determined that her sons will inherit and that Roger will be left penniless. As they are thrown together at court, however, a tentative attraction begins to form between Ida and Roger. Fearing that she will eventually be pawned off on a husband she has no choice about, Ida decides to take matters into her own hands and arrange a marriage with the kind Bigod – with Henry’s approval, of course. Their union can bring the two happiness, but they must still navigate the treacherous waters of the late 12th and early 13th centuries, attempt to restore the Bigod name, and maintain the favor of their King(s).
I swear, each Elizabeth Chadwick book I read is even better than the last. Chadwick breathes such life into characters so long dead; to read one of her books is to have a peephole on the past. Part of her magic is that she lets the innate drama of history shine through, without feeling the need to imbue events with additional conflict to make for a more sensational story. Chadwick’s approach has the benefit of letting the reader connect with people who lived hundreds of years ago, and yet still had many of the same essential concerns that we do today.
In “For the King’s Favor,” Chadwick does what she does to full effect. I was fully engaged and invested in the lives of Roger and Ida, even more so than I was for William Marshal. I highly recommend this, and can’t wait for Sourcebooks to release more of Chadwick’s books in the United States.
* These links are all affiliate links. If you buy your book here I’ll make a very small amount of money that goes towards hosting, giveaways, etc.