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The Fatal Crown (The Queens of Love and War #1)

3.77  ·  Rating Details ·  631 Ratings  ·  65 Reviews
Against the seething political intrigues of 12th-century Europe, two royal heirs will surrender to passion as they vie for the most glittering, treacherous prize of all: the English throne

At nine, Maud, an English princess, was sent to Germany to become the bride of the Holy Roman Emperor—a political alliance with a man her father’s age. At 25, the widowed Maud must marry
Published by Simon & Schuster
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Aug 07, 2011 Slee rated it it was amazing
I bought this book for almost nothing at one of those roving book sales where nearly all the literature is semi-awful, and that's why they're unloading it. Like many a teenager, I was guilty of judging a book by it's cover, and the cover made it seem like the sort of book I'd enjoy because they were dressed in what I, then, called "garb," because I spent too many summers at Renaissance Faires.
That said, the book sat on my shelves for years, unopened, because I couldn't imagine that it'd be a ver
Rabbit {Paint me like one of your 19th century gothic heroines!}
Disclaimer: This ARC was given to me for free in exchange for an honest review from Netgalley.

I really enjoyed this book, yes, it was a love story, but there were so many layers to this story. I did find the love scenes were purple prose.
Jo Barton
Feb 12, 2013 Jo Barton rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
The political alliances formed in the aftermath of the conquest of England in 1066 had repercussions for generations and the rulers in twelfth century Europe are depicted as a scheming combination of political aspiration and ruthless ambition. Caught in the middle are two royal heirs to the English crown, whose supporters will bring England to civil war in the fight for supremacy.

In A Fatal Crown, Ellen Jones has woven the historically accurate story of the fight for power between Maud, daughte
Jan 05, 2014 Heather rated it it was ok
Tremendous potential, a nearly satisfying "what if" story of Matilda and Stephen. I don't mind the liberty being taken to suggest their deeper relationship, I just found myself longing for more than the shade and brillance of Matilda's hair repeated over and over and over again. There were good guts in this imagined play of events and some very sturdy structure to the story, complete with historical tidbits. I just had higher hopes for this to really dig in and follow through instead of leaning ...more
Aug 09, 2013 Marilyn rated it really liked it
I would really have liked to give this book 3 1/2 stars, instead of 4. While very entertaining, fiction was taken to a whole new level in this book. Still, despite the obvious fact of artistic license being used liberally, I enjoyed reading The Fatal Crown. I actually liked Maud, and at times Stephen in this book, but Matilda and especially Geoffrey left much to be desired. Henry of Anjou, in this book was an interesting character, as well. All in all, an okay book, with an interesting twist on ...more
Terri Lytle
Jul 22, 2016 Terri Lytle rated it liked it
Being a fan of anything to do with the English monarchy, fiction or otherwise, I figured this book would be right up my alley. Welllll....I was wrong. It was OKAY. That's really all I can muster up about this book. Two cousins who ravage the English, Norman, and Anjou countryside fighting for a crown that may never fall so either one of them SOUNDS like a great party, but alas- it fell kinda flat. My favorite characters were actually the supporting ones (Robert of Gloucester and Brian FitzCount) ...more
Andrea Guy
I love novels of the kings and queens of Europe. Maud is one that I haven't read much about. The Fatal Crown probably wouldn't have been the book I would have chosen to learn more about this remarkable lady.

Ellen Jones does a great job of bringing the period and characters to life, but she also added a fictional love affair between Maud and Stephen, which though it may or may not have happened, it just didn't feel right. I couldn't see the women, who was so learned, thanks to her first husband,
I love historical fiction based on real characters, and especially those that go far back in time and bring eras entirely mysterious to me to life. I know so little about this time period (really, all I know of Maud and Stephen I learned from The Pillars of the Earth, which isn't a lot) that I was really excited about learning more. And as usual I'm not sure how much to believe; I've been taught by The Tudors to expect that the more fantastic the rumour, the more likely it is to be included in t ...more
The Fatal Crown (The Queens of Love and War #1) by Ellen Jones is a 2013 Open Road Integrated Media publication. I was provided a copy of this book by the publisher and Netgalley in conjunction with the Retro Romance reading group on Goodreads, in exchange for an honest review.

Fictionalized or not, reading about the way women were used in the royal classes in the very distant Medieval days will set your teeth on edge. This is an account of the life of Maude or the Empress Matilda who lived a ve
Jul 17, 2014 Ionia rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
I didn't especially love this book, but I didn't hate it. There were definitely some liberties taken in the writing of dates, family relationships and alliances.

If you are a huge fan of Monarchy literature then you may want to check this book out. It is not the fastest paced book out there, but does have some interesting plot twists and unexpected scenes that are worth reading.

If I had to choose the thing that made me glad I read this book, it would be the imaginative love story that the book
Rebecca Hill
Apr 17, 2014 Rebecca Hill rated it it was ok
I finished this book last night, and needless to say I was a little disappointed in it. Instead of being a historical fiction where it expanded the characters, I felt as though she had to force things to happen, and for her writing, she wanted history to fit her needs, not necessarily relying on the facts. I was highly disappointed with not only how she portrayed Maud, but other women in the script. She seemed to have heavy male characters, but the female characters seemed flimsy. This should be ...more
Mar 12, 2013 Abigail rated it liked it
This book fictionalizes the life of Empress Maud and her cousin Stephen and their war over the English crown. In this version, Maud and Stephen are lovers and Stephen is the father of Maud's son who is to be Henry II.

Since this book covers Maud's life from childhood through the signing of the treaty that would make her son Henry the king of England after Stephen, it's a pretty expansive chunk of time making the plot move slowly in some parts. Making Maud and Stephen lovers is an interesting conc

Ever since I learned about her, I have been fascinated with Empress Maud, and so although I've read a couple of fictionalized books about her, I couldn't pass this one up. Unfortunately I didn't have the foresight to see just how fictionalized this book was until after reading Marilyn's review, and if I had known then what I have learned since, I would have passed on this book. I really wanted to give it a four star rating, but with such a drastic twist that kept getting in my way throughou
Sep 19, 2013 Laura rated it liked it
I have to admit I struggled trying to give this book a rating. For the story line, historical interest, and clever way the author tweaked history to write the story events, this really was a solid 4-stars. However, despite the incredible language, descriptions, and enticing length of the story... Well, I have to give this a 2-star rating. It just lacks...something. It lacks strong sentence structure; it felt like I could almost sit with the author and count the hours of daily writing obligation ...more
Jan 03, 2016 MaryJane rated it liked it
Shelves: 2016
It took a little while to get into. I have been interested in this period of time for a long time, but haven't really done a lot of research into the period. The Brother Caedfel novels are set in this time, which is how I became interested in Stephen and Maud. I am now reading a British history book to find out how much license the author took with the facts.
Apr 17, 2013 Lorin rated it really liked it
When I think I know about every female leader in history another one is revealed to me and I am again taken by surprise and get hooked on the person and her life during the times she lived. I absolutely loved learning about Maud, daughter of Henry I. She was extremely well ahead of the times and unfortunately never got to show her true potential as women were not recognised as dominating political/ruling figures.

I would like to read up on Maud more as I am intrigued as to whether Steven and Mau
Dec 22, 2015 Darla rated it it was amazing
very interesting however i dont believe that king henry ii belong to stephan but it was an interesting twist and one that could have been and it did make the story interesting very well done as for a fiction novel
N.A. Fedorak
Aug 14, 2015 N.A. Fedorak rated it liked it
Reasonable book. I stole it from my mother and read it 10 year ago. Not the best book, but not bad either. Some of the sexscapades get a bit annoying, and the historical inaccuracies make it annoying.
Julie Bird
Nov 24, 2015 Julie Bird rated it liked it
This was a fascinating book on the history of Stephen of Blois and Maud in the 12th century. The politics, the wars, ambition, love and heartbreak are really something. Love this part of history.
Sep 11, 2013 Athornton rated it it was amazing
I couldn't decide between 4 and 5 stars, but the ending was good and brought a tear to my eye, plus I thought the epilogue was a nice addition so I awarded it 5 full stars. The only reason I was going for 4 stars was I felt the book was a little long in some parts.

I have enjoyed reading historical fiction but most of my reading has centered around Henry VIII and all of his wives. This was an interesting change for me to read about Henry I and why he was Henry Plantagenet (where the last name c
Aug 11, 2012 Ubiquitousbastard rated it did not like it
I could not give this book back fast enough after I finished it. The plot isn't great, but the language is just cringe worthy. Sword and sheath...I'm shuddering just thinking of that line. I think this book is the entire reason I hope that they never had an affair. Scarred for life.
Also, history gets played around with for the sake of trying to force together a very squicky romance. Is there really a huge market for people who want to read about (view spoiler)? Quee
Nov 05, 2015 Dani rated it really liked it
Shelves: the-fatal-crown
I enjoyed it very much. Towards the end I found it to be a little tedious in terms of describing one battle after the next. But generally speaking it was an enjoyable read.
Jul 20, 2015 JanetT rated it liked it
Hard to get into the first few chapters, getting used to the writer's style. A good story but a bit tedious. Set in the time of Henry I of England (1100s) and tells how Stephen of Blois and then Henry II reach the throne.
May 05, 2016 Nicole rated it it was amazing
If you enjoy historical fiction, especially involving the English throne, then it is an interesting take on King Stephen and Empress Maud.
Oct 03, 2013 Charlie rated it really liked it
Perhaps more intriguing than Henry and Eleanor of the next generation. thoroughly enjoyed this book and couldn't put it down. Mel Brooks was certainly joshing when he said " It's good to be King." The privileged certainly lead costly lives in their bids for power and fame and although may led more extravagant lives, they must suffer great risks and heartaches just as we common folk. This is a great tale of sacrificing love for power. The sacrifice of Maud and Steven, so passionately in love with ...more
Jan 03, 2016 Karen rated it really liked it
Excellent book. Fascinating and well written. I'll definitely read more in this series
Aug 22, 2016 Princess rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This was a great book, I enjoy every page of this medieval historical novel, this is my favorite genre. This is the first time I read a Ellen Jones book, I recommend this book to medievals historical readers and all types of readers because the story is very well written and research .Like I always say, to me reading a historical book is a learning process, I take my time reading I love to read 2 books at the same time some times, but this was a great adventure to the pass. I will read the other ...more
Jul 09, 2015 Denise rated it really liked it
Shelves: fiction, women-famous
Exellent trilogy! But be sure to read in the proper order or you won't get the full enjoyment out of this story of powerful women and a future king of England that they both love.

Really slow. Hard to get through. But still interesting at some parts. I enjoyed the theory of Maud and Stephen's love affair. Although it is not based in actual fact it is an interesting theory, and makes you wonder why Henry never just married the two of them to keep the realm happy. (he could have gotten the necessary dispensation and divorce from Stephen's current wife pretty easily.) So all in all even though it is a slow read it makes you ponder historical facts, so not a total loss.
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Sinopsis en Español // Synopsis in Spanish 1 2 Feb 11, 2015 06:25PM  
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Ellen Jones was born in New York City and raised in a family of history teachers and musicians, who exposed her to a variety of ideas, cultures, and lifestyles. After graduating from Bennington College, she spent a few years studying drama in graduate school, which led to her first writing efforts. After getting married and while raising two young children, Jones wrote two plays, one set in eighte ...more
More about Ellen Jones...

Other Books in the Series

The Queens of Love and War (3 books)
  • Beloved Enemy: The Passions of Eleanor of Aquitaine
  • Gilded Cages: The Trials of Eleanor of Aquitaine

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