Queen of Heaven
Maid of Gascony
by Catherine Clover
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Pub Date 25 Nov 2021 | Archive Date 16 Dec 2021
The White Tower. A terrible vision. Her home invaded and precious documents stolen.
Lady Isabelle must flee her pursuers, posing as a young male scholar in the New College of St Mary in Oxford. But when she learns she is with child it won’t be long until she is discovered amongst their ranks. Can she bring herself to love an infant conceived in evil? And will she ever be reunited with her beloved Richard, or will Sir Henry Lormont’s dagger find him first?
This deftly plotted 15th century novel traverses the well-trodden pilgrimage routes from Oxford to Rome encountering lepers, assassins, sea rovers and historical figures Lady Margaret Beaufort and Edmund Tudor along the way. Superbly researched by a scholar of the period, Clover blends history with the riveting story of a woman who overcomes the restrictions placed on her sex to create a page-turning novel.
Available on NetGalley
Average rating from 9 members
‘The White Tower. A terrible vision. Her home invaded and precious documents stolen.
Lady Isabelle must flee her pursuers, posing as a young male scholar in the New College of St Mary in Oxford. But when she learns she is with child it won’t be long until she is discovered amongst their ranks. Can she bring herself to love an infant conceived in evil? And will she ever be reunited with her beloved Richard, or will Sir Henry Lormont’s dagger find him first?’
Catherine Clover is back with a bang! For the 2nd book in the Maid of Gascony series developing Lady Isabella’s character into a strong and forthright women who is battling for the love of her life and the family and friends that surround her.
The book centres around the journey she takes along the pilgrimage routes between Oxford and Rome in the 15th century searching for her partner Richard whilst maintaining her own safety, from others who see her as a traitor to the king during the ongoing series of civil wars known as the War of the Roses.
This book is skilfully researched and the time period is beautifully described, and continues to build on the story started in the 1st book in a successful way
There are times during the text where you feel that the plot has been slightly rushed this may be due to the length of the journey that is undertaken and trying to ensure that the characters strength and determination is fully developed for the reader to see and understand but this does not detract from the superb story telling.
This is a must for all fans of historical fiction it draws you in to the time period and does not shy away from the brutality of the era and deserves this 4 star review!
I would like to thank Duckworth Books and NetGalley for choosing me for this ARC and allowing me the privilege of reading this novel.
Content Warning- readers must be advised that there are scenes of the rape of a child and childbirth which some may find distressing.
I have waited so long for this book!! I frequently checked my favourite publishers pages, then , the one week I didn’t, I almost missed this book!,
Reading this, was like being reacquainted with an old , familiar friend, I just ploughed straight into this story, and again felt the love and power of this fascinating journey .
Book two, in The Maid of Gascony series, finds Lady Isabelle having visions of terrible harm befalling her family. To save herself, she is disguised as a male scholar and taken to New College Oxford, by Father James, the family confessor, who is also a Knight Templar. When Isabelle finds that she is pregnant, following a violent assault and rape, it is decided that she must leave England and travel to Rome. It is intended that she will meet up with her fiancée Richard, who is on a mission to return the Mandylion to the Vatican.
We follow her journey to Italy, through Calais, Lausanne, Florence to Rome, a long journey on horseback for a pregnant woman, we get to experience the sights, sounds and odours of these countries, whilst being pursued by enemies, who see Isabelle and her family as traitors to the King, in the turbulent period of the 100 years war.
Lady Isabelle is fast developing into a marvellously strong, determined and resilient character, who decides that she will not be ruled by male ideas about the female sex.
We are introduced to historical characters, Julian of Norwich, and Margery Kempe, that we met in book one. We meet Margaret Beaufort , and feel for her ordeal in childbirth, that so badly damaged her, that she never conceived again, and Edmund Tudor.
Various places and their importance in the 15th century are mentioned, Wroxham, Holt, Lynn, a massive trading port with the Hanseatic League, and Norwich, a wealthy city, founded upon the wealth of the wool trade. All this has been perfectly researched and again, I have learnt so much more about my adopted home county.
The trouble with these books can be this, as soon as one is completed, you want to read the next in this fascinating series. I am hoping I will not miss notification of book three, The Kings Treasure, when it comes up for review. ( Hint, Hint!)
A five star recommendation from me. My sincere thanks to the publishers, Duckworth Books and Netgalley for my advance copy in exchange for my honest, unbiased review. I will leave a review to Goodreads and other outlets later.
A captivating and entertaining tale set in Europe around the fall of Constantinople in 1453, a compelling & exquisitely woven fictional tapestry of a continent sailing slowly but surely out of the darkness that has been enshrouding it since the mid 14th century. A dark and violent story cleverly plotted and teeming with a cast of colorful characters that skillfully know how to navigate the many sinister twists and turns that make this latest historical treat from Catherine Clover a sure winner from start to finish!
A perfect opportunity to forget the dreary winter blues with a rollicking and truculent literary gift that deserves to be enjoyed without any moderation whatsoever👍👍👍
Many thanks to Netgalley and Duckworth for this terrific ARC
A really enjoyable piece of historical fiction that was well written and flowed really well. I really enjoyed the writing, the characters were well developed and I loved recognising real people from 15th century within the novel. I really liked it but be warned there are som every graphic scenes within the novel including the sexual abuse of a child which made for hard reading.
Lady Isabella is pregnant and in mortal danger. She must flee from Oxford dressed as a male scholar. This is
only the start of her travails as she faces violence, imprisonment, and the loss of her nearest and dearest on the
way to Rome. She is also a mystic which offers her a means to overcome her many woes,
A well-plotted medieval adventure full of the sights and sounds of knights and monks.
It is very atmospheric, clothed in an air of mystery. A very good read.
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