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Queen of Shadows: A Novel of Isabella, Wife of King Edward II

by Edith Felber

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1154209,495 (3.4)4
In 14th-century England, beautiful Queen Isabella--humiliated by her weak, unfaithful husband--emerges from the shadows to take her revenge.
  1. 00
    Harlot Queen by Hilda Lewis (Sakerfalcon)
    Sakerfalcon: Another novel about Isabella and her relationships with Edward II and Mortimer.

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Gwenith’s family is killed when Edward I crushes Wales and Gwenith grows up with her grandmother, who makes Gwenith promise to seek vengeance for her family. She starts to serve Queen Isabella intending to bring harm but comes to respect Isabella, but comes hate the Despensers.

Book is told mostly from Gwenith’s point of view, for reasons I can’t figure out. The idea of Gwenith taking revenge for her family is kinda far-stretching. Why does she want to kill Edward II who isn’t in anyway responsible for the things that happened to her family? It would have been far more interesting to hear the story just from Isabella’s point of view. Instead we get abruptly changing POV’s which made me so confused. I had to read a sentence few times to make sense of it.
But I have to say I didn’t like Isabella either. She was just too good to be true. She is constantly complaining how the women are treated, how everyone loved her in France more and telling all the time that she is the queen.

The most annoying this was that it’s hinted through the book that Edward II wasn’t the real father of future Edward III, and it’s never told who the real father is supposed to be! I mean why!? It’s mentioned that Isabella spent some time in Scotland when Edward abandoned her and had an affair from which Edward III was born. If you invent such rubbish at least you could tell the inventory man’s name!

Isabella is also sneaking out to The Tower to have sex with Roger Mortimer, multiple times. Because queen can just leave castles wearing a hood as her only disguise. Queens are constantly watched and very rarely alone so how could she have managed to get her little trysts?

In the afterword it’s told that Edward III had huge sexual appetites and had many mistresses and illegitimate children. I don’t remember reading about any other mistress than Alice Perrers but I’m not sure about the children. Wouldn’t call it “huge sexual appetite” if he has one known mistress. ( )
  Elysianfield | Mar 30, 2013 |
Edith Felbar’s Queen of Shadows is the story of Queen Isabella of England, later called the “She-Wolf of France”, queen of King Edward II. Isabella’s story is told by the fictional Gwenith, a Welsh woman who comes to court to serve her.

Queen of Shadows seemed fairly clearly to be a well-researched book, and it was certainly good, but definitely not fantastic. At some points the book moved too quickly through seasons and years, which kept me from gaining much empathy for the characters (real people!) and their emotional states.

If you are interested in the basic storyline of Edward II and Queen Isabella, by all means read this book. If you want a great novel, there are probably other things that you could choose.

For the full review, see:
http://devourerofbooks.wordpress.com/2008/04/22/queen-of-shadows-book-review/ ( )
2 vote DevourerOfBooks | Apr 22, 2008 |
A well researched, intriguing story with clear character voices. I was totally engrossed in this novel and couldn't put it down. The author gave the characters a depth of emotion often lacking in some historical portrayals and clear motives for their behaviors. Very well done. ( )
1 vote CozyLover | Mar 1, 2008 |
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In 14th-century England, beautiful Queen Isabella--humiliated by her weak, unfaithful husband--emerges from the shadows to take her revenge.

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It is fourteenth-century England. Wales has been brutally crushed, while Scotland's brave hearts remain rebellious. With treason everywhere, England's beautiful Queen Isabella - humiliated for years by her weak, unfaithful husband - is emerging from the shadows to take her revenge. But there is another - equally forceful and cunning - who pretends to be what she is not so that she may avenge the blood of Wales. ...At twenty-one, Welsh native Gwenith de Percy is newly sent to be handmaiden to Queen Isabella. Sworn to a secret mission, Gwenith is astonished by the court's power and devastated that her vow to avenge Wales seems hopeless. Although Isabella is wife to her mortal enemy, Gwenith cannot hate the queen, who is herself a victim of Edward's unfitness to rule.For Isabella, her once-golden marriage is now her penance. Because of Edward's rumored relations with men, Parliament has forced him to share his throne - a demeaning arrangement that torments Isabella. With the help of her secret noble lover, Roger Mortimer - an enemy of her husband, imprisoned in the Tower of London - the queen plots to take control. And so two women who are the unlikeliest of allies set out to change the course of history. ...--Back cover.
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