In The Traitor's Wife, Susan Higginbotham tells the complex tale of the reign of King Edward II, through the eyes of Eleanor, his niece. Edward II has a very close, rumored to be intimate, relationship with a young knight, Piers Gaveston. Once Edward takes the throne, Pier's rise in wealth and power creates great hatred and jealousy among the other lords of the realm and Edward's Queen, Isabella. Before long they retaliate against the king, insisting on Gaveston's exile and eventually his death.
During these years, Eleanor and Hugh have managed to live a remarkably happy and fruitful life. They have several children and are satisfied with their lives, or so Eleanor believes. All that begins to change when King Edward falls in love with Hugh. Though he has never before been interested in another man, here Hugh sees his path to the pinnacle of power and he leaps at it.
For years Edward and Hugh are able to hide their physical relationship from the world in general and Eleanor in particular, whom they both love deeply. But their lack of ability to deny each other anything leads them down what should be a familiar path. Hugh's ambition and naked greed foster the same loathing and jealousy that was felt for the unfortunate Piers, with the same bloody results. Queen Isabella is a dangerous enemy to have and she plans her revenge with great care.
You would think the power grabbers of history would learn from the many bodies littering the path behind them. But, alas, they all think the same thing...I can do it, for ME it will be different.
(A misconception fostered in the hearts of many, to this very day).
This is an excellent historical novel. Complex and detailed, the author skilfully brings to life the court of Edward II and the personalities that populated it. The whole point of historical fiction is to reveal the humanity behind the dry factual accounts that remain, to help us to understand the motivation and reasoning behind the actions of those long gone. Susan Higginbotham does just that and more in this riveting story of love, avarice and vengeance.
If you love historical fiction, do not miss this one. I highly recommend it!
For more information, please visit the author's website and fantastic blog.
The Traitor's Wife is published by Sourcebooks. ISBN 978-1-4022-1787-6.
Here is the schedule for the blog tour, organized by Paul at Sourcebooks (thank you, Paul, for sending me the book!) Links with no dates have already been posted and the link will take you directly to the review:
Jennifer's Random Musings (April 12)
Medieval Bookworm (April 13)
Steven Till (April 13)
Peeking Between the Pages (April 14)
A Girl Walks Into a Bookstore... (April 14)
Savvy Verse & Wit (April 15 & 16)
Sam's Book Blog (April 16)
Diary of an Eccentric (April 17 & 20)
My Friend Amy (April 17)