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All art is unstable. It's meaning is not necessarily that implied by the author, There is no authorative active voice. There are only multiple readings. David Bowie, 1995

Saturday, March 2, 2013

…of kings and crowns and ambitions colliding.

Shadows and Strongholds by Elizabeth Chadwick

The tale of Brunin and Hawise is set at the time of Henry II's battle for the English throne. Here are lords, mercenary and hereditary, gambling and winning yet losing to a master manipulator, Henry himself.
A story of times when marriages were bargaining chips, and women but pawns on the chess board of the grand game of ownership. Chadwick's sense of the medieval period is a dramatic and emotional backdrop to a story painted vibrantly with words such that the actions of all players ring powerfully true.
Land and inheritance is the crux around which the story swirls. This is a pageant, alive with strong, believable characters--Brunin who is misunderstood, judged and found wanting by many, and Hawise, who is gloriously wild and free, whose personality leaps from the page. Then there’s Marion who is damaged and brittle, and who deceives herself so badly. Even the vignette of Beckett is instantaneously vivid.
Battles and personality confrontations make Shadows and Strongholds a palpable read of dark and dangerous times, lightened by love, and colorfully presented by a masterful pen. Bravo!
As a note, my perceptions of the historical political landscape at this time have been more informed by watching the series', She-Wolves: England's Early Queens with Dr. Helen Castor, and Monarchy with David Starkey.

A Netgalley ARC

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