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The Marsh King's Daughter by Elizabeth…

The Marsh King's Daughter (1999)

by Elizabeth Chadwick

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Another environment lush, character vivid, and story intense work from Elizabeth Chadwick! Not only does this author spin a good yarn, but she transports her readers to another world with problems, dilemmas, and battles all its own, and yet a world that is very much like our own as well. History comes alive in her hands, and that's one of the main reasons I keep coming back to her, again and again.

I loved how the author concentrated on the middle class of medieval society in this work, not the lords and ladies in their castles and keeps. We got to see how the business men and women of that era lived and worked and loved. The world of the passionate wool trade and the surprisingly-political common nunneries came alive. I think I prefer the works that concentrate on the "little people" rather than the nobles sometimes as they become more relatable to people nowadays. They're trying to earn a living, provide for their families, and get on with their lives, just like we do in our modern society. Elizabeth Chadwick just brings that struggle to vivid life.

I actually really liked her female lead in this book, as well. Unlike some of her other female characters which can be thought of a bit weak, Miriel is a woman with her own ambitions, plan, and ideals. She's not waiting for her "knight in shining armor" to come rescue her from her not-wanted-nunnery fate; heck no, she sees the opportunity the nunnery's unexpected visitor provides and negotiates her way out. And while she does periodically fall for the pitfalls of lust and passion which give some serious kinks in the road of life, Miriel rolls with the punches and eventually comes out on top with career, love, and family, all because she had the brain and wits to think for herself and not wait for life to happen.

This novel kept me reading from page to page nonstop, not wanting to stop for piddely things like sleep and food. I really enjoyed this addition to my Elizabeth Chadwick library and can't wait to dive into the rest of my collection. ( )
  Sarah_Gruwell | Jan 11, 2016 |
Good historical novel, with characters that actually grow and learn, make mistakes, and learn some more. Plus, I got to learn about a time in history I didn't know that much about, except from what was happening to royalty. Listened to this on audio in the car, and think I may seek this author out for further ear reads. The voice actor was grand, too. ( )
  bookczuk | Feb 21, 2014 |
This is as well written as the rest of Chadwick's books, but as to the story, I just kept hoping for more interaction between the hero and heroine. They are separated for a large amount of the book unfortunately. ( )
  emmytuck | Sep 27, 2013 |
In 13th-century England, Miriel is frustrated at the lack of choices available to her as a young, unmarried woman. Her cruel stepfather frequently abuses her, and after one particularly vicious argument he decides that she must leave his household. He arranges for Miriel to go to a nearby convent, where she must take vows and live out the rest of her days as a cloistered nun. Horrified, Miriel tries to resist but is sent to the convent anyway. An opportunity to escape arises when a young sailor, Nicholas de Caen, is found close to death in a field near the convent. Miriel nurses him back to health and then follows him when he leaves the convent. Miriel and Nicholas soon find themselves drawn to each other, but they part on bad terms. When they meet again several years later, they will have to contend against both a ruthless killer and their illicit passion for each other.

I’ve only read one other book by Elizabeth Chadwick, Lords of the White Castle, and I remember really enjoying it. So my expectations were high, but I ended up being somewhat disappointed with this novel. I think most of my problem was with Miriel’s character. The reader is clearly supposed to sympathize with her and see her as a strong, feisty woman who bravely takes on the world. However, I found her overly abrasive and bratty rather than endearing. I also didn’t quite buy the romance between her and Nicholas; after being separated for years, they seem to fall in love awfully quickly. The chief villain in the book is also completely over-the-top and seems to have no redeeming qualities whatsoever. In general, while the book is definitely a page-turner, I just don’t think it has very much substance. I would recommend lovers of medieval historical fiction to try Sharon Kay Penman instead.
1 vote christina_reads | Apr 22, 2012 |
Miriel is an unruly, headstrong girl, whose stepfather places her in the convent of St. Catherine. While there, she comes into contact with Nicholas de Caen, a rebel against King John. While still a prisoner, Nicholas rescues John’s infamous treasure from the swamp, and attempts to run away—accidentally (or not) taking Miriel with him. Their adventures, together and apart, take place over the course of about five years, as hate eventually turns to love.

It’s true that Elizabeth Chadwick’s books, especially those about fictional characters, tend to follow a certain pattern: two would-be lovers are torn asunder by circumstances beyond their control, and they must battle against the odds to eventually return to one another. The main female character usually is very headstrong., and there’s often a nails-on-a-chalkboard bad guy thrown in to complicate the plot. The Marsh King’s Daughter is a little different, however; the excitement in this book lies in the fact that Nicholas and Miriel don’t know that they’re attracted to one another—in fact, they have every reason to hate the other! So it’s this tension that gives the novel that extra excitement. I’ve described Elizabeth Chadwick’s heroines as headstrong, which usually equates to modern; not so with Chadwick’s female characters. I never get the feeling that Miriel, or even Nicholas or the other characters, never stepped out of the thirteenth century.

Elizabeth Chadwick is also extraordinarily skilled at recreating the feel of the thirteenth century. She’s mostly known for her novels about the twelfth century, but she depicts this period of time just as well as she does the other. With Chadwick’s novels, you’re guaranteed a historically accurate read, without being bogged down in too much overwhelming detail. There’s only so much that anyone can really know” about people or places from 700 years ago, but Elizabeth Chadwick really knows how to pull the pieces together. In all, this is another good, solid novel from Elizabeth Chadwick. I’ve only got four novels left of hers to read (including the forthcoming To Defy a King) and I’m really trying to parcel them out! ( )
1 vote Kasthu | Apr 19, 2010 |
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It was a glorious May morning in the world at large-soft balmy and harmonious. At the home of Edward Weaver in Lincoln, however, a violent storm was raging.
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Amazon.com Product Description (ISBN 0751539406, Paperback)

trade edition paperback, fine

(retrieved from Amazon Thu, 12 Mar 2015 18:12:32 -0400)

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From the author of 'The Champion' and 'Shields of Pride', this novel is set in England during the closing days of the reign of King John. Injured fighting King John's troops, Nicholas de Caen is nursed back to health by Miriel of Wisbech.

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