Sunday, August 24, 2014

Retro Reads Romance Book Review: The Fatal Crown

Author: Ellen Jones
Title: The Fatal Crown
Publisher: Open Road
Publish Date: Jan 19, 2013
Buy: Amazon
Review Copy Provided By: Net Galley
Book Blurb: 
Against the seething political intrigues of twelfth-century Europe, two royal heirs will surrender to passion as they vie for the most glittering, treacherous prize of all: the English throne

At nine, Maud, an English princess, was sent to Germany to become the bride of the Holy Roman Emperor—a political alliance with a man her father’s age. At twenty-five, the widowed Maud must marry once again, this time to fourteen-year-old Geoffrey Plantagenet. But it is with Stephen of Blois, Maud’s fiercest rival for the British throne, that the headstrong princess discovers the true meaning of desire. Stephen, a descendant of William the Conqueror, believes absolutely in his God-given right to rule. Torn between his illicit passion for Maud and his own towering ambition, he knows he must choose. Stephen’s decision will wrench him from the arms of the woman he loves, ignite civil war, and lead to a shattering act of betrayal that, decades later, will come full circle and change the course of English history.

Review:  I love novels of the kings and queens of Europe. Maud is one that I haven't read much about. The Fatal Crown probably wouldn't have been the book I would have chosen to learn more about this remarkable lady.

Ellen Jones does a great job of bringing the period and characters to life, but she also added a fictional love affair between Maud and Stephen, which though it may or may not have happened, it just didn't feel right. I couldn't see the women, who was so learned, thanks to her first husband, Hennerick, that she would fall for Stephen, who was quite a womanizer and not even a very nice guy, though not quite as nasty and manipulative as her father, Henry I.

To me, a woman that would throw a country into civil war to gain the throne of England for 15 years, wouldn't have entered into an affair and acted like a giddy young girl. The love scenes are a bit much too.

However don't read this expecting a total romance, because that isn't what this book is. It is more a historical re-imaging. Not quite up to par with the greats, like Plaidy or Gregory, but definitely one that is entertaining if not somewhat lengthy. (550 pages made this book drag quite a bit).

Historical accuracy suffers a bit here and there, but for the most part, the story stays true to Maud's timeline. I wish she would have used Maud's escape in a coffin from her own capture. That would have added some excitement to the story.

A good read for those who love European historical fiction.

Rating: 4 flowers


Jirrine said...

I am instantly attracted by any book with a pretty dress on the cover. This time the synopsis sounds good as well! I hope that the dragging is not to bad because I have noticed that I really cannot stand dragging in historical fiction, because things can become really dry!

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