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From USA Today bestselling author Elizabeth Chadwick comes a gripping, never-before-told, medieval battle of the sexes
Matilda, daughter of Henry I, knows that there are those who will not accept her as England's queen when her father dies. But the men who support her rival, and cousin, Stephen do not know the iron will that drives her. She will win her inheritance against all odds, and despite all men.
Adeliza, Henry's widowed queen and Matilda's stepmother, is now married to William D'Albini, a warrior who is fighting to keep Matilda off the throne. But Adeliza, born with a strength that can sustain her through heartrending pain, knows that the crown belongs to a woman this time.
Both women will stand and fight for what they know is right. But for Matilda, pride comes before a fall. And for Adeliza, even the deepest love is no proof against fate.
Written with vivid detail and great historical accuracy, Lady of the English is a captivating historical novel of Medieval England. Fans of Philippa Gregory, Alison Weir, Sharon Kay Penman, and Bernard Cornwall will be spellbound by this well-crafted story of Henry I's daughter, his widow, and their alliance and perseverance as they fight for the rightful heir to the crown―a woman!
What reviewers are saying about Lady of the English
"Lady of the English is a riveting historical fiction novel with thrilling drama and characters that fairly leap off of the page."―Laura's Reviews
"A detailed and very readable medieval era novel full of political intrigue and fascinating depictions of the people surrounding the throne of England."―Historical-Fiction.com
"The story is vividly described with a depth of historical detail that is rarely matched by other novelists in the genre."―Historical Novel Review Blog
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Elizabeth Chadwick is the author of 17 historical novels, including The Greatest Knight, The Scarlet Lion, A Place Beyond Courage, For the King's Favor, Shadows and Strongholds, The Winter Mantle, The Falcons of Montabard, and To Defy a King, six of which have been shortlisted for the Romantic Novelists' Awards.Excerpt. © Reprinted by permission. All rights reserved.:
As the servants removed the last of her baggage, she paced slowly around the chamber, studying the pale walls stripped of their bright hangings, the bare benches around the hearth, the dying fire. Soon there would be nothing left to say she had ever dwelt here.
"It is difficult to bid farewell, domina," Drogo said with sympathy.
Still looking around, as if her gaze were caught in a web of invisible threads, Matilda paused at the door. She remembered being eight years old, standing in the great hall at Liège, trembling with exhaustion at the end of her long journey from England. She could still recall the fear she had felt and all the pressure of being sent out of the nest to a foreign land and a betrothal with a grown man. The match had been arranged to suit her father's political purpose and she had known she must do her duty and not incur his displeasure by failing him, because he was a great king and she was a princess of high and royal blood. It could have been a disaster but, instead, it had been the making of her: the frightened, studious little girl had been moulded into a regal woman and an able consort for the Emperor of Germany.
"I have been happy here." She touched the carved doorpost in a gesture that clung and bade farewell at the same time. "Your lord father will be pleased to have you home."
Matilda dropped her hand and straightened her cloak. "I do not need to be cajoled like a skittish horse."
"That was not my intent, domina."
"Then what was your intent?" Drogo had been with her since that first long journey to her betrothal. He was her bodyguard and leader of her household knights: strong, dour, dependable. As a child she had thought him ancient because even then his hair had been white, although he had only been thirty years old. He looked little different now, except for a few new lines and the deepening of older ones.
"To say that an open door awaits you."
"And that I should close this one?"
"No, domina, it has made you who and what you are-and that is also why your father has summoned you."
"It is but one of his reasons and driven by necessity," she replied shortly. "I may not have seen my father in many years, but I know him well." Taking a resolute breath, she left the room, carrying herself as if she were bearing the weight and grace of her crown.
Her entourage awaited her in a semi-circle of servants, retainers, and officials. Most of her baggage had gone ahead by cart three days earlier and only the nucleus of her household remained with a handful of packhorses to carry light provisions and the items she wanted to keep with her. Her chaplain, Burchard, kept looking furtively at the gelding laden with the items from the portable chapel. Matilda followed his glance, her gaze resting but not lingering upon a certain leather casket in one of the panniers, before she turned to her mare. The salmon-red saddle was a sumptuous affair, padded and brocaded almost like her hearth chair, with a support for her spine and a rest for her feet. While not the swiftest way to travel, it was dignified and magnificent. The towns and villages through which they passed would expect nothing less than splendour from the emperor's recent widow.
Matilda mounted up, settling herself and positioning her feet precisely on the platform. Seated sideways, looking both forward and back. It was appropriate. She raised her slender right hand to Drogo, who acknowledged the signal with a salute and trotted to the head of the troop. The banners unfurled, gold and red and black, the heralds cantered out, and the cavalcade began to unwind along the road like jewels knotted on a string. The dowager empress of Germany was leaving the home of her heart to return to the home of her birth and a new set of duties.
Adeliza gripped the bedclothes and stifled a gasp as Henry withdrew from her body. He was approaching sixty years old, but still hale and vigorous. The force of his thrusts had made her sore inside, and his stolid weight was crushing her into the bed. Mercifully, he gathered himself and flopped over on to his back, panting hard. Biting her lip, Adeliza placed her hand on her flat belly and strove to regain her own breath. Henry was well endowed, and the act of procreation was often awkward and uncomfortable between them but, God willing, this time she would conceive.
She had been Henry's wife and the consecrated queen of England for over four years, and still each month her flux came at the appointed time in a red cramp of disappointment and failure. Thus far no amount of prayers, gifts, penances, or potions had rectified her barrenness. Henry had a score of bastards by various mistresses, so he was potent with other women, but only had one living legitimate child, his daughter Matilda from his first marriage. His son from that union had died shortly before Henry took Adeliza to wife. He seldom spoke of the tragedy that had robbed him of his heir, drowned in a shipwreck on a bitter November night, but it had driven his policies ever since. Her part in those policies was to bear him a new male heir, but thus far she had failed in her duty. Henry kissed her shoulder and squeezed her breast before parting the curtains and leaving the bed. She watched him scratch the curly silver hair on his broad chest. His stocky frame carried a slight paunch, but he was muscular and in proportion.
Stretching, he made a sound like a contented lion. Their union, she thought, even if it brought forth no other fruit, had released his tension. His sexual appetite was prodigious and in between bedding her, he regularly sported with other women.
He poured himself wine from the flagon set on a painted coffer under the window, and on his return picked up his cloak and swept it around his shoulders. Silver and blue squirrel furs gleamed in the candlelight. Adeliza sat up and folded her hands around her knees. The soreness between her thighs diminished to a dull throb. He offered her a drink from the cup and she took a dainty sip. "Matilda will be arriving soon," he said. "Brian FitzCount is due to meet her tomorrow on the road."
Adeliza could tell from his expression that his thoughts had turned inwards to the weaving of his political web. "All is ready for her," she replied. "The servants are keeping a good fire in her chamber to make it warm and chase out the damp. I have instructed them to burn incense and put out bowls of rose petals to sweeten the air. They hung new tapestries on the walls this afternoon and the furniture is all assembled. I..."
Henry raised his hand to silence her. "I am sure her chamber will be perfect."
Adeliza flushed and looked down.
"I think you will be good company for each other, being of a similar age." Henry gave her a slightly condescending smile.
"It will be strange to call her daughter when she is older than me."
"I am sure you will both quickly grow accustomed." He was still smiling, but Adeliza could tell his attention lay elsewhere. Henry's conversations were never just idle gossip; there was always a purpose. "I want you to cultivate her. She has been a long time absent, and I need to consider her future. Some matters are rightly for the council chamber and for father and daughter, but some things are better discussed between women." He stroked the side of her face with a powerful, stubby hand. "You have a skill with people; they open themselves to you."
Adeliza frowned. "You want me to draw confidences from her?"
"I would know her mind. I have seen her once in fifteen years, and then but for a few days. Her letters give me news, but they are couched in the language of scribes and I would know her true character." A hard glint entered his eyes. "I would know if she is strong enough."
"Strong enough for what?"
"For what I have in mind for her."
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Book Description Sourcebooks Landmark, 2011. Condition: New. book. Seller Inventory # M1402250924
Book Description Sourcebooks Landmark, U.S.A., 2011. Soft cover. Condition: New. Item Description: Sourcebooks, Inc, United States, 2011. Paperback. Book Condition:Brand New and unread. Original. 231 x 145 mm. Language: English Brand New Book. From USA Today bestselling author Elizabeth Chadwick comes a gripping, never-before-told, medieval battle of the sexesMatilda, daughter of Henry I, knows that there are those who will not accept her as England' s queen when her father dies. But the men who support her rival, and cousin, Stephen do not know the iron will that drives her. She will win her inheritance against all odds, and despite all men. Adeliza, Henry s widowed queen and Matilda s stepmother, is now married to William D Albini, a warrior who is fighting to keep Matilda off the throne. But Adeliza, born with a strength that can sustain her through heartrending pain, knows that the crown belongs to a woman this time. Both women will stand and fight for what they know is right. But for Matilda, pride comes before a fall. And for Adeliza, even the deepest love is no proof against fate. Written with vivid detail and great historical accuracy, Lady of the English is a captivating historical novel of Medieval England. Fans of Philippa Gregory, Alison Weir, Sharon Kay Penman, and Bernard Cornwall will be spellbound by this well-crafted story of Henry I s daughter, his widow, and their alliance and perseverance as they fight for the rightful heir to the crown-a woman! More Medieval Historical Fiction Titles from Elizabeth Chadwick: The Greatest Knight-the seldom told story of the Greatest Knight of the Middle Ages The Summer Queen a novel of Eleanor of Aquitaine To Defy a King-the story of a noble woman in a tyrant s world What readers are saying about Lady of the English Great historical details and world-building combined with out-of-this-world characterization. Everything about this story was compelling, and though it was a long book of 514 pages, I enjoyed every word. I was from the start deeply immersed into the lives and politics of the times. As absorbing as a thriller and full of fascinating historical detail. What reviewers are saying about Lady of the English Lady of the English is a riveting historical fiction novel with thrilling drama and characters that fairly leap off of the page. -Laura s Reviews A detailed and very readable medieval era novel full of political intrigue and fascinating depictions of the people surrounding the throne of England. The story is vividly described with a depth of historical detail that is rarely matched by other novelists in the genre. -Historical Novel Review Blog This is one of the best books I have read about this time period. This book will be best enjoyed by those who favor an intelligent, strong, and determined woman at the center of the story. BooklistWhat people are saying about bestselling author Elizabeth Chadwick A star back in Britain, Elizabeth Chadwick is finally getting the attention she deserves here. USA Today Elizabeth Chadwick is to Medieval England what Philippa Gregory is to the Tudors and the Stuarts, and Bernard Cornwall to the Dark Ages. -Books Monthly, UK The best writer of medieval fiction currently around. -Historical Novels Review [Chadwick] makes the time period come alive for the reader, utilizing small historical details in order to really set each scene. -S. Krishna s Books Chadwick is an icon for the historical fiction community for her ability to create a believable and passionate story based around major events of the era. -The Burton Review Breathing life into historical personages is hallmark Chadwick. -RT Book Reviews Brilliantly weaving a strong plot line, historical accuracy, depth of characters, and dialogue filled with intelligence and wit.Elizabeth Chadwick is one of the very best of historical fiction authors. -Passages to the Past Picking up an Elizabeth Chadwick novel is like having a Bentley draw up at your door: you know you are in for a sumptuous ride. Seller Inventory # 003127
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