Wednesday, November 1, 2017

Book Review: Lady of the English by Elizabeth Chadwick

Pages: 514
Publisher: Sourcebooks Landmark
Released: 2011
Received: Own
Rating: 3 out of 5 stars Goodreads

I'm pretty sure this is the first Elizabeth Chadwick book I've read, and I have many others on my TBR. I've heard great things about her and so my expectations were high.

Sadly, I met Sharon Kay Penman first. Her recounting of The Anarchy was so much more visceral. The tension between Matilda and her husband was crackling. The scope of the war was huge and devastating.

Elizabeth Chadwick's version just fell flat in comparison. It seemed apologetic for Matilda's temper and Geoffrey's violence. While it seemed like she tried to humanize the characters, there was always an emotional distance and they felt very much like characters rather than people. The only exception to this is of Henry I's second wife. I liked her characterization in this book a lot and wish the book had been about her instead.

I had been hoping for heavier historical fiction with excellent characterization, but instead this felt fluffy and very surface level. More like Christy English and Anne O'Brien than Juliet Grey or Susan Kay. That isn't terrible, but it was more of a forgettable book than I was hoping and expecting.

Well, I won't write off Elizabeth Chadwick just yet and I'll give her other books a shot. I probably would have liked Lady of the English a lot more if I hadn't had the comparison. And, really, if an author is going to suffer in comparison, they can do far worse than to have that comparison be against Sharon Kay Penman. 

1 comment:

  1. I've read a few of Elizabeth Chadwick's books and enjoyed them (I'm currently halfway through the final book in her Eleanor of Aquitaine trilogy), so I'm sorry this one didn't live up to your expectations. I agree that Sharon Kay Penman is better, though!


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