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Monday, August 30, 2010

For the King's Favor by Elizabeth Chadwick

For the King's Favor by Elizabeth Chadwick
Publisher: Sourcebooks
Genre: Historical
Length: Full Length (501 pgs)
Heat Level: Spicy
Rating: Best Book
Reviewed by Camellia

When Roger Bigod arrives at King Henry II’s court to settle a bitter inheritance dispute, he becomes enchanted with Ida de Tosney, young mistress to the powerful king. A victim of Henry’s seduction and the mother of his son, Ida sees in Roger a chance to begin a new life. But Ida pays an agonizing price when she leaves the king, and as Roger’s importance grows and he gains an earldom, their marriage comes under increasing strain. Based on the true story of a royal mistress and the young lord she chose to marry, For the King’s Favor is Elizabeth Chadwick at her best.

Disenfranchised while still in their teens, both Ida de Tosney and Roger Bigod are at the mercy of the self-centered King Henry, then King Richard, and finally King John. The unquenchable desire to realize their dreams drive both of them makes some bitter choices. Although they must fight different battles, each of them refuses to remain a victim of the machinations of royalty during turbulent times.

Ida pays an incredibly high emotional price to be allowed to marry Roger, the man she loves rather than someone the king picks for her. Her deep need to feel safe, loved, and secure gives her courage and fuels her efforts. After the marriage, she does not rely on her striking beauty, but uses her intelligence, talents, and industrious nature to help Roger as he strives to regain his earldom even s she nurtures their children and manages a large household during his long absences. Her loneliness is overwhelming at times.

Roger pledged to service the king in his efforts to regain the earldom his father lost in rebellion. His legal knowledge and his military prowess keep him at the king’s beck and call for months on end. He knows this is the price he must pay to get his earldom back.

His and Ida’s love is tested to the limit and family ties are stretched almost to the breaking point. His pledged service to the king, evading the traps his stepmother and her sons lay for him, and working to keep his holding prosperous while the kings strip England of her wealth to further their own agendas test his and Ida’s physical and emotional mettle again and again.

In For the King's Favor, medieval England throbs with festering political and religious sores as well as an infestation of the seven deadly sins in the extreme. The characters and their deeds linger in the mind long after the last word is read.

Elizabeth Chadwick weaves a tapestry of a tale that is spellbinding. She weaves in a multitude of characters that use their astuteness to maneuver through a maze of intrigues conflicts in the powerful plot. With historically accurate facts, she weaves a background bustling with life that encompasses all levels of the society at the time. Best of all, she weaves in a love story that fills the heart with joy and satisfaction making the whole tapestry shine with hope for the future.
For the King's Favor is one for the bookshelf.