Wednesday, September 25, 2013

Isabella: Braveheart of France by Colin Falconer

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ISABELLA: BRAVEHEART OF FRANCE
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She was taught to obey. 
Now she has learned to rebel.

12 year old Isabella, a French princess marries the King of England - only to discover he has a terrible secret. Ten long years later she is in utter despair - does she submit to a lifetime of solitude and a spiritual death - or seize her destiny and take the throne of England for herself? Isabella is just twelve years old when she marries Edward II of England. For the young princess it is love at first sight - but Edward has a terrible secret that threatens to tear their marriage - and England apart. Who is Piers Gaveston - and why is his presence in the king’s court about to plunge England into civil war? The young queen believes in the love songs of the troubadours and her own exalted destiny - but she finds reality very different. As she grows to a woman in the deadly maelstrom of Edward’s court, she must decide between her husband, her children, even her life - and one breath-taking gamble that will change the course of history. This is the story of Isabella, the only woman ever to invade England - and win. In the tradition of Philippa Gregory and Elizabeth Chadwick, ISABELLA is thoroughly researched and fast paced, the little known story of the one invasion the English never talk about.

Queen Isabella of England was known as a she-Wolf. This was one queen who was beautiful, diplomatic, and smart! But she was also known to be ruthless, manipulative, and sometimes heartless.
Her father, King Philip IV of France schooled her politically and raised her to be wise and cautious. When she was twelve, he arranged for her to be married to England’s King Edward II. She had no idea the trouble she would face during ; background-position: initial initial; background-repeat: initial initial; line-height: 150%; margin: 4.8pt 0in 6pt;"> First, there was internal conflict between the king and his nobles. Second, her husband’s heart belonged to someone else – a male “mistress” named Piers Gaveston. To Piers, he gave not only all his love, leaving none for Isabelle, but also much of his wealth in land, jewels, and titles. This angered the nobles who did much to place restrictions upon the king.
Isabelle fell in love with Roger Mortimer, who worked with Isabelle to depose Edward. Edward was murdered and many believe that she even arranged to have Edward murdered, but that was never proven. Afterwards, Isabella and Roger spent lavishly as she made some unpopular political decision affection Scotland.
Meanwhile, Isabelle and Edward’s son, Edward III, grew to manhood. One of the first things he did was arrest and execute Roger Mortimer, and seizing control of the country for himself. Isabelle, estranged with her son, lived alone but in great style.
Author Colin Falconer has brought Isabelle’s story to life in his latest novel, Isabelle: Braveheart of France. He portrays this fascinating royal woman as strong and wise. Although history records her as cruel, manipulative, and ruthless, perhaps that is an unfair moniker considering all that she had to endure. I can’t imagine her humiliation as her husband flaunted his male lovers. The author does a wonderful job showing this to the readers.
Wonderful descriptive and succinct prose graces each page of this biographical novel.