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Wife to the Bastard

3.38  ·  Rating Details  ·  122 Ratings  ·  12 Reviews
Matilda of Flanders, queen to William the Conqueror was beautiful, exquisitely small, clever, with a perfect courtesy trained in the rigid school of medieval manners. But within lay a root of darkness - inheritance, perhaps, of Viking ancestors. Twice, at least, in her lifetime the Viking streak broke through, in vengeance on a faithless lover, in fury wreaked on a rival o ...more
ebook, 633 pages
Published November 30th 2011 by History Press (SC) (first published 1966)
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Mar 09, 2011 Karen rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Wife to the Bastard is the story of Matilda of Flanders, wife to William the Conqueror. I admit to a fascination with novels about the pair and was looking forward to reading this book, and I did enjoy the read.

First published in the 1960s the writing style is somewhat formal and Hilda Lewis tends to tell you what a character is like rather than showing you. However the book is also incredibly dark. While some of the plot (particularly the elements involving Matilda's rumoured Saxon lover Briht
Nov 29, 2015 Marty rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
This historical novel about William the Conqueror (AKA William the Bastard) was first published in 1966 (I’m guessing to tie into the Norman Conquest of 1066.) The author, who died in 1972, is known for period detail and there is plenty of detail in this story about on Matilda, the wife of William of Normandy; - Almost too much detail! Matilda was a strong-willed woman. She was quite small, something that was mentioned often in the book. (Another source says she was 4 ft 2 inches tall.) She gave ...more
May 03, 2015 Susana rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
This was a touching reading. The feelings, emotions, thoughts of the characters trough Hilda Lewis's writing, just flowed. So shocking, so crude a reality of this mortal men and women, so tragic lives of this privileged people. The last chapters were very hard to read, had to stop to recover my breath after each shocking event, narrated there. The form of the narration was a bit difficult, but very interesting. I like to read more about William and Matilda's children, specially William Rufus and ...more
This is the first fictionalized account of Matilda of Flanders and William the Conqueror that I've read. It made me interested in learning more. I like Lewis' writing style; she does well creating the characters. I particularly enjoyed her account of William Rufus as a bloodthirsty, disturbed child. The relationship of the four sons and their rivalries is reminiscent of the more well-known four sons of Henry II. We see Matilda reserving all of her love for her favorite eldest son, Robert, who is ...more
Jan 29, 2013 Emmy rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
A great read and a different take on William the Conquerer. Matilda changes from a naive teen to a formidable queen - a journey we share with her. Her love and concern for her children resonate with every mother. Watching helplessly while her husband insists on a wrong course finds an echo with many wives. Yet, her unfailing courtesy and her submission to her husband are unparalleled. I admit that the deterioration of the relationship between William and his heir was shocking (and new too). I in ...more
Lady Jane Grey
Yawn. It started out okay, but just got more and more boring. I had to force myself to finish it and the last 50 pages or so I just kept reading when I realized I had read a few paragraphs without comprehending. So glad it ended with Matilda's death rather than her husband's so I didn't have to read another hundred pages. If you want to read a novel about William the Conqueror, "Bastard King" by Jean Plaidy is much better.
Erin McDonnell-Jones
This was my favorite Hilda Lewis book so far. Her other books have been slow at times, whereas this story had a plot that kept me engaged the whole time. I'm definitely interested to learn as much as I can about Matilda, and more about William, after reading this.
Jessica Larson-Wang
Started out quite well, but lost steam about halfway through. It is well written, and covers the life of a woman who has largely been forgotten or ignored by other novelists, but it should have been shorter by at least half.
Feb 18, 2008 Jacqui rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Excellent historical fiction piece detailing the life of Matilda, queen of England and wife of William the Conqueror. Very nicely handled, with nice characters, good dialogue and narrative. Highly recommend!
Jan 08, 2013 Mandy rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Another great historical novel. Hilda Lewis really is very good and it's a shame she has dropped off the radar.
Jul 23, 2011 Ruth rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
c1966. "With prayers and with promises, William still besought God to change the wind."
Jun 30, 2015 Mary rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: books-read-2015
Interesting POV, but god, did it drag.
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Hilda Winifred Lewis (1896-1974) was a British writer.

She wrote a noted children's book, The Ship that Flew (1939) which concerns Norse mythology and time travel. It was republished in the Oxford Children's Modern Classics series in 1998. Her three YA books, including the well-received The Gentle Falcon, are available for Kindle and iBooks.
Several of her historical novels, e.g. I am Mary Tudor (19
More about Hilda Lewis...

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