Monday, March 31, 2014

Title: The Queen's Lover: A Novel

Author: Vanora Bennett

Rating <3 <3 <3 <3 <3

Summary  :Catherine de Valois, daughter of the French king Charles VI, is born into troubled times. Though she is brought up in a royal court, it is a stormy and unstable environment. Before she is out of her teens, Catherine is married off to England's Henry V as part of a treaty honoring his victory over France. She is terrified at the idea of being married to a man who is a foreigner, an enemy, and a rough soldier, and is forced to leave her home for England.
Within two years she is widowed, and mother to the future King of England and France—even though her brother has laid claim to the French crown for himself. Caught between warring factions of her own family and under threat by the powerful lords of the English court, she must find a way to keep her infant son safe. In Owain Tudor, a childhood friend for whom Catherine has long had affection and who now controls the Royal household, Catherine finds both strength and kinship. As their friendship turns to love, however, she risks not only her life and that of her son but the uneasy balance of power in England and France that will be forever changed.
History comes alive in this lyrical and moving true story of one woman's courage and the inception of one of the most famous royal lineages of all time.

Review: In the novel 'The Queen's Lover' Vanora Bennett explores the world of Catherine de Valois a young French princess born in turbulent times into a family of mistrust, murder, and mental illness, where her next meal is never a guarantee; even while she is surrounded by riches that the peasants around her cannot imagine.  The reader is absorbed into the world of a young woman making her way in a family where mental illness controls the leader of her family; and the ruler of her country; her Father the king.  And while her youngest brother is her confidant as a child time has a way of making even the closest of siblings into something she will not recognize as the years pass.

Catherine has few she can trust one being her childhood friend Owain Tudor, they explore childhood feelings for each other, but when each realizes the societal strings that will keep them tied to their stations they go their separate ways until the dance of life pulls them back together in unexpected ways throughout the next few decades of their lives.  The way in which Bennett was able to build each character profile made it seem as if you were watching each scene unfold right before your eyes; it was the most realistic and gripping historical fiction I've read recently. I could not put it down.  The characters came to life and matured from page to page. I can't wait to read more by this author.

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