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The Rebel Princess    by Judith Koll Healey order for
Rebel Princess
by Judith Koll Healey
Order:  USA  Can
William Morrow, 2009 (2009)
Hardcover, e-Book

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* *   Reviewed by Mary Ann Smyth

Hard on the heels of her first historical novel, The Canterbury Papers, author Judith Koll Healey brings us The Rebel Princess, continuing the adventures of Princess Alais, sister to King Phillippe Auguste of France.

As in the previous novel, the sights and sounds and smells of 1207 A.D. France are depicted in detail - with tendrils of smoke rising in the air from huge stone fireplaces, and majestic tapestries hanging from cold castle walls, and the fragrance of meat roasting, among other evocative sights and sounds.

Alais, in an alliance with King Henry of England, gave birth to a son and was told he died. Of course the infant lived and William of Caen raised him to knighthood. Alais' dream is to tell the young knight that she is his mother. She also wishes to marry Sir William. However the pope has other plans and forbids the marriage until certain tasks are accomplished.

The north of France is almost 100% Catholic. The south of France has fallen under the spell of the Cathars, a quiet and peaceful people who deplore war and want everyone to live in peace and harmony. The pope fears their influence. Naturally, it could lead to war. In the name of religion! We don't hear of the Cathars now. Wonder where their bones are moldering.

When the young man is kidnapped, the plot picks up some speed. The Rebel Princess is formidable in its historical details and the weaving of historical events into the story, but it does this slowly and thus loses the reader's attention. However any history buff will revel in the details and take the tale of Alais to their hearts.

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