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A Footnote in King Edward's History - an Editorial Review of "The Confessor's Wife"

Book Blurb:

In the 11th Century, when barren wives are customarily cast aside, how does Edith of Wessex not only manage to stay married to King Edward the Confessor, but also become his closest advisor, promote her family to the highest offices in the land, AND help raise her brother to the throne? And why is her story only told in the footnotes of Edward’s history?

Not everyone approves of Edward’s choice of bride. Even the king’s mother, Emma of Normandy, detests her daughter-in-law and Edith is soon on the receiving end of her displeasure. Balancing her sense of family obligation with her duty to her husband, Edith must also prove herself to her detractors.

Edward’s and Edith’s relationship is respectful and caring, but when Edith’s enemies engineer her family’s fall from grace, the king is forced to send her away. She vows to do anything to protect her family’s interests if she returns, at any cost. Can Edith navigate the dangerous path fate has set her, while still remaining loyal to both her husband and her family?

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Author Bio:

I started writing in high school and have always been fascinated by history, eventually earning a degree in the subject. The merging of the two came naturally when I started writing full time a few years ago.

In my alternate identity as Lady Matilda, I post satirical articles on managing your medieval manor during the Black Death.

I’ve just released my new historical fiction novel, Unfinished: The Inspired Life of Elisabetta Sirani, the tragic story of Maestra Sirani, a Seventeenth-Century artist who died young of a mysterious illness. I’m currently researching the life of Caterina Sforza for my next book.

Editorial Review:

Yes, you’ve been called home to be married.”

Edith hadn’t noticed how stiffly she’d been holding herself until she suddenly relaxed, defeated, back in her chair. The abbess rose and poured ale into two cups, handing one to Edith who took a long draught. “Why didn’t you tell me yesterday?”

Because your brother asked me not to.”

The younger woman’s face grew warmer. “And you thought it best to listen to him, a stranger, than to tell me who you’ve known for ten years?”

"The Confessor’s Wife" by Kelly Evans transports readers to a vivid medieval world, where the life of Edith, the troubled daughter turned queen, unfolds against a backdrop of honor, power, and intricate court politics. Set in the years 1035-1066, the story follows Edith's journey from a defiant young girl who sets her family's estate on fire to becoming Queen Edith, wife of King Edward the Confessor.

Evans masterfully crafts Edith's character development, allowing us to witness her transformation from a rebellious child into a formidable and compassionate queen. Edith's growth is a highlight of the book, showcasing her evolution into a strong female lead who navigates the complexities of court life while upholding her family's honor and legacy.

Edith asked the only question she wanted to know. “Who am I to marry?”

Her brother smiled secretively once more. “Tostig!”

Our father will have me beaten for telling you but how can I deny my sister anything.” He hesitated, then took a breath.

Sister, you’re to marry Edward, King of England.”

The author's attention to historical detail immerses readers in the medieval era, making it a must-read for history enthusiasts and fans of the time period. Evans expertly paints the nuances of courtly life, and her depiction of Edith's struggles and triumphs adds depth and relatability to the story.

However, despite its strengths, "The Confessor’s Wife" does suffer from some pacing issues. The narrative feels rushed towards the latter part of the book, particularly during the events surrounding the Battle of Hastings and its aftermath. This sudden shift from intricate detail to more summarily narrated events could leave readers wanting more, feeling like the story's conclusion was hastened.

She watched as the young man’s anger took his words away and he stormed from the room. Seeing the girls standing there, their faces beginning to crumple as tears welled in their eyes, she forced a smile. “None of that. You are strong women and friends of the Queen of England.” She was gratified to see their faces smile back at her. She’d won this time, but she would have to be prepared for any schemes the young man might devise.

The character flaws, while contributing to realism, might hinder readers' connection with the characters. These flaws, while accurate for the time, could potentially distance modern readers from truly empathizing with the characters' motivations and choices.

One aspect that may prove challenging for readers is the handling of "time shifts" in the story. The lack of clear markers for temporal changes could lead to confusion, making it difficult to discern when a change in location, time, characters, or point of view has occurred.

In conclusion, "The Confessor’s Wife" offers a captivating journey into medieval England, propelled by the growth of its central character, Edith. While the story's pacing and occasional narrative shifts might pose challenges, Kelly Evans' ability to transport readers to a bygone era and bring its characters to life makes this book a compelling read for history aficionados, Medieval enthusiasts, and those who appreciate a strong-willed female protagonist.


“The Confessor's Wife” by Kelly Evans receives four stars from The Historical Fiction Company


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1 bình luận

01 thg 9, 2023

I will definitely add this to my TBR list, which now requires structural repair and further building permission.

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