Friday, April 10, 2009

Review & Blog Tour: The Traitor's Wife by Susan Higginbotham

Eleanor de Clare was a privileged young woman. Born into a titled family and the grand-daughter of Edward I, she was married at an early age to a young man with whom she fell madly in love, Hugh le Despenser.

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:

Steven Till (April 13)
Savvy Verse & Wit (April 15 & 16)
Sam's Book Blog (April 16)
Diary of an Eccentric (April 17 & 20)
My Friend Amy (April 17)


Meghan said...

She definitely does make them feel more human, doesn't she? It's quite a compelling story. I've nearly finished!

bermudaonion said...

I haven't read a lot of historical fiction, but I want to try one of Susan Higginbotham's books because I understand she's a great author. Loved your review.

Darlene said...

I started this today and I'm already hopelessly hooked on the story.

Literary Feline said...

This does sound like a good one! I haven't read anything by this author, but I will probably try this book. Thanks for the great review.

S. Krishna said...

I enjoyed this one as well. Nice review!

Zibilee said...

This is one I really want to read.

Susan Higginbotham said...

Thanks for the review!

Anna said...

Glad to hear you enjoyed this one as much as I did.

Diary of an Eccentric

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New Hampshire, United States
Bibliophile, Anglophile, Traveller... I have been an avid reader all of my life, since I took the Dr. Seuss Dictionary away from my Mom when I was less than a year old because I wanted to read it myself. In college, where I earned my degree in English Literature, I was often asked "What are you going to do with it?" Now I finally have the answer to that question!!! Being employed as a Flight Attendant for twenty years has given me a lot of life experience and, better still, a lot of time to read. I love to travel for fun, too.