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For the King's Favor    by Elizabeth Chadwick order for
For the King's Favor
by Elizabeth Chadwick
Order:  USA  Can
Sourcebooks, 2010 (2010)
Hardcover, Softcover, Audio, e-Book

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* * *   Reviewed by Barbara Lingens

A beautiful story well researched, For the King's Favor will definitely please fans of British historical fiction. At the end of the twelfth century King Henry II takes a faith-filled young woman, Ida, as his mistress. When she bears him a son, who subsequently must stay in court while she is married off to an earl, her heart is broken.

As we follow Ida's life with Roger, Earl of Norfolk, we learn as much about court life as about life away from London. At all times the nobility must show loyalty to the throne and curry favor, whether through fighting the king's wars and going on crusades or paying for all these projects. Yet the political scene is always changing, with shifting loyalties and great lust for power.

At the same time, we learn much about the domestic side of life. How castles are built and furnished and the games children play are as much a part of the story as jousting knights. Ida is a remarkable exception among noblewomen of that time in that she works right along with her servants. Author Chadwick illuminates all without too much description. Rather, the story unfolds through what is said and thought by the characters. The dialog is really quite good.

While the book is smoothly written with most of the dramatic points resolved at the end, I'm thinking the language has been made too modern. Spoken English at that time must have been quite different, and we get no feel for that. Nevertheless the story is a pleasure to read.

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