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

3.73 of 5 stars 3.73  ·  rating details  ·  422 ratings  ·  53 reviews
It was a time of breathtaking pageantry --- of treachery and unbridled ambition --- when an aging King Henry I sowed the seeds of unrest and civil war throughout the land by naming his daughter, Maud, heir to the coveted throne of England. Beautiful and headstrong, she vowed never to relinquish the crown that was rightfully hers --
Hardcover, 560 pages
Published 1991 by Simon & Schuster
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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
Jessie  (Ageless Pages Reviews)
Boy, am I glad that's finally over.

Review to come.
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
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
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
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
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 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
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
Rebecca Hill
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
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
Fate's Lady
This was a good read and a really interesting story, and while the love affair between Maud and Stephen is pure imagination (as far as we know), it makes for a spicy background for the long feud between them. The only thing that knocks this down for me is the length. It's a well-told story, but there are parts of the background and of the long feud that drag quite a lot, and although it wasn't enough to put me off the story, it did make some parts slightly more a chore than others.
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
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
I knew very little about Queen Maud and King Steven of England. They were the grandchildren of William the Conqueror and first cousins. Their battles with each other for the throne of England was interesting, It was very enlightening and I enjoyed the book a lot.
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
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
Didn't finish, but lost interest in overriding emphasis on romance. Was hoping more for solid historical novel and not willing to commit to it any further.
Loved it! If you like Game of Thrones and similar titles you will love this. Very engaging and great storyline.
The needless smut could have been left out and this would have been a great read.
Lavish descriptions of the time in Europe . Could have edited a dozen chapters out
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
Absolutely riveting story about the rise of Mother of the Plantagenet dynasty.

I recommend this book to anyone who loves history!

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.
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Interesting take.
**** update 2010- I'm reading this book for a second time because I just found out yesterday that I am a DIRECT descendant of Matilda through her son Henry II of England!!

previous reveiw:
I have to admit this book is a romance disguised as historical fiction. I like this book because it introduced me to the very real story of Matilda, daughter of Henry I of England and the struggle to keep her throne, when it was unheard of for a woman to rule alone.
What absolute rubbish! The idea that Henry of Anjou was not Geoffrey"s. And playing ducks and drakes with the historical timeline as much as the author did (which she admits) gives lie to the idea that she did extensive research before attempting this excuse of a book. Really, why did she bother. This novel should not be listed under 'fiction' but 'fantasy'., even better, just thrown in the trash.
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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: A Novel
Beloved Enemy: The Passions of Eleanor of Aquitaine Gilded Cages: The Trials of Eleanor of Aquitaine: A Novel The Queens of Love and War: The Fatal Crown, Beloved Enemy, and Gilded Cages The Healing Tree: A Journey to God's Love Fatal Crown

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