Welcome to my monthly post on all things historical fiction. After putting thirty-five of these posts together since 2015 I’m starting to struggle for new ideas so while I rebuild my list of potential future topics, I thought I would try something slightly different for a few months: a series of posts on specific historical fiction authors. These should be relatively easy for me to write and will hopefully introduce new readers to some of my favourite authors. I’ve decided to start with Elizabeth Chadwick as I’ve just finished reading one of her books and am about to begin another.
Elizabeth Chadwick has written over twenty books set in the medieval period; her first, The Wild Hunt, was published in 1990 and her latest, Templar Silks, is out this month. Her earlier novels tend to feature fictional characters and storylines, while her more recent ones focus on the lives of real historical figures, particularly members of the Marshal and Bigod families. Let’s start by looking at the books I have already read (there are eight of them):
Set during the period of civil war known as the Anarchy, this is the story of the Empress Matilda, daughter and heir of Henry I, who faces a battle with her cousin Stephen for the throne of England. Matilda’s son, Henry, will become the first Plantagenet king of England. We also follow the story of Matilda’s stepmother, Adeliza, another fascinating medieval woman.
This one is set in France, Wales and England towards the end of the 12th century and follows the story of fictional heroine Monday de Cerizay and knight Alexander de Montroi. I learned a huge amount about jousts, tournaments and other knightly pursuits!
The Eleanor of Aquitaine trilogy:
This trilogy of novels about Eleanor of Aquitaine takes us through Eleanor’s entire life including her troubled marriage to King Louis VII of France, her relationship with her second husband, Henry II of England, her time in captivity following the breakdown of their marriage and the reigns of her sons Richard I and King John.
William Marshal books
The Greatest Knight
The Scarlet Lion – review coming soon
These two novels are based on the life of William Marshal – Earl of Pembroke, knight, statesman and adviser to five kings. I love Chadwick’s depiction of William and if the real man was anything like the fictional one, then he really deserved the title of ‘the greatest knight’.
Her newest novel, Templar Silks, is also part of the Marshal series, although I’m sure you would be able to read it as a standalone. I haven’t read it yet, but it follows William on his pilgrimage to Jerusalem in 1183.
This one tells the story of Mahelt Marshal, the daughter of William Marshal. As England descends into turmoil during the reign of King John, Mahelt finds herself in a situation where she must choose between her own family, the Marshals, and the family of her husband, Hugh Bigod.
The Love Knot
The Marsh King’s Daughter
Shadows and Strongholds
And here are the titles of her other books:
The Wild Hunt
The Running Vixen
The Leopard Unleashed
Children of Destiny
Shields of Pride
Lords of the White Castle
The Winter Mantle
The Falcons of Montabard
A Place Beyond Courage
The Time of Singing
I don’t know much about any of these, apart from Lords of the White Castle which I started to read years ago and abandoned – although I can’t remember why, so I must try it again! I would like to read all of the others, except maybe First Knight which seems to be a novelisation of the 1995 film.
You can find out more about Elizabeth Chadwick by visiting her official website.
Look out for my reviews of The Scarlet Lion and Templar Silks in the next few weeks – and, of course, next month’s Historical Musings post when I will be choosing another author to write about.
Have you read any of Elizabeth Chadwick’s books? Which are your favourites?