Goodreads helps you keep track of books you want to read.
Start by marking “Isabel the Fair” as Want to Read:
Blank 133x176
Isabel the Fair
Margaret Campbell Barnes
Rate this book
Clear rating
Open Preview

Isabel the Fair

3.82  ·  Rating Details ·  185 Ratings  ·  12 Reviews
Men called Isabel 'the Fair' in homage to her beauty and when she married Edward II of England they seemed a perfect match. But her handsome Plantagenet husband had room in his heart for none but his favourite Piers Gaveston, and Isabel found herself cast aside for the young Gascon lord.

Edward's love for the young man turned Isabel against him and brought England to Civil
Hardcover, 352 pages
Published by MacRae Smith Company (first published 1957)
More Details... edit details

Friend Reviews

To see what your friends thought of this book, please sign up.

Reader Q&A

To ask other readers questions about Isabel the Fair, please sign up.

Be the first to ask a question about Isabel the Fair

This book is not yet featured on Listopia. Add this book to your favorite list »

Community Reviews

(showing 1-30)
filter  |  sort: default (?)  |  Rating Details
Jun 16, 2015 Allie rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
When Isabel of France married Edward II they seemed a perfect match but Edward loved none other than Piers Gaveston, a young Gascon lord. Isabel found herself cast aside although when Piers was killed by the scheming English nobility, she did manage to form some sort of family life with her husband. When Edward then took up with another favourite, Isabel seized power and became known as the "she wolf" of France.

A tragic story, the author clearly had sympathy for Isabel, Edward and Piers (Hugh De
I had already read two books by Margaret Campbell Barnes and loved them, so I was excited to see her take on the story of Isabel (or Isabella) of France, a deeply fascinating historical figure.

Unfortunately, I was disappointed by Isabel the Fair. Maybe it wasn't the right time to read it: I have read many historical novels recently, and also a couple of books on this particular subject. Anyway, the story didn't grab me in any way: the writing was good, but the characters didn't stand out partic
Victoria Campbell
Interesting book well-written. I knew the history but I forgot about the plantagenet/Capet alliance, and how Isabel led to the Capet line dying out. Seriously disturbing when you realize how Edward the II was killed.
Michael Bully
Subtitled 'The Story of Isabel Capet, wife of Edward II',
Published in 1957, this novel has a lot to offer today's medievalists. An account of how a young French princess was married to Edward II of England. Isabel was soon to discover that Edward was intimate with Piers Gaveston, and his excessive favouritism was disrupting the intricate patronage that existed in England at the time leading to civil war. Margaret Campbell Barnes repeats the tale that Gaveston's mother was burned at the stake as
Naiad Lyne
Jun 10, 2015 Naiad Lyne rated it liked it
In recent years several books by Margaret Campbell Barnes were re-issued, but strangely not this one. Or I didn't find the re-issue. Isabella of France was a fascinating woman and Barnes pretty well captures her weak and strong qualities. Also kudos to her for making Mortimer, Edward II and Gaveston complex enough, so you can sympathize with them and dislike at the same time. Hugh Despenser was outright bad guy here though. The language drags a bit, but overall a quite well-written novel. The mo ...more
Hallie Winchell
Oct 08, 2016 Hallie Winchell rated it really liked it
Isabel, the "she-wolf", as so many other strong female leaders are throughout history, was slandered & blamed for terrible deeds. Similarly to Catherine the Great, she chose to take action on behalf of her son and defend the throne threatened by her husband's behaviour. Isabel is often painted with the same brush of judgement in other novels... however, in this well written version, I feel she has been more fairly represented by the decisions she was forced to make. Well written, researched ...more
Oct 03, 2013 Denise rated it really liked it
Shelves: own, read-2014
Accomplished historical novelist Margaret Campbell Barnes delivers a believable portrait of Isabella of France (whom I've always found it quite impossible to sympathize with), exploring her emotional state and motives for her actions without either making excuses for her and glossing over her flaws or completely vilifying her.
Jenny Lou Orear
Sep 24, 2016 Jenny Lou Orear rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Compelling reading!

Isabel the Fair is a well written and fast paced book. Even if you know her history and how it will end, you still cannot put down the book. The author has you transported to the pass into Isabel's mind trying to live a life of power and love that was never to be. A strong woman who must live in a time when women of strength were mostly feared! Enjoy!
May 07, 2013 Lin rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
I didn't finish this book, if the author was trying to make us sympathetic towards Isabel, she failed hopelessly. If you want to read about this time period rather try Susan Higginbotham's The Traitors Wife, a really brilliant read.
Elizabeth Hajek
Nov 02, 2010 Elizabeth Hajek rated it it was amazing
Loved this book! Margaret Campbell Barnes can make any historical period come alive.
Jun 10, 2016 Supreya rated it liked it
Nov 30, 2016 Tea rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Expected more

Lots of dialogue, very little action. The ending was lackluster. Very disappointed, a story like this should be told better!
madonna Falduto
madonna Falduto rated it it was amazing
Nov 05, 2016
Kim rated it really liked it
Jan 29, 2016
cindy neese
cindy neese rated it liked it
Mar 09, 2017
Ladyhawke rated it liked it
Jul 11, 2016
Denise rated it really liked it
Dec 16, 2016
Maxine rated it really liked it
Dec 26, 2012
Diana rated it it was ok
Jul 03, 2016
Paula rated it liked it
Oct 31, 2016
Ruth Herrmann
Ruth Herrmann rated it really liked it
Dec 26, 2016
Chris Scott
Chris Scott rated it it was amazing
Jul 05, 2016
Stefanie rated it liked it
Sep 20, 2016
Amanda Houston
Amanda Houston rated it really liked it
Jul 18, 2016
Shannon rated it it was ok
Aug 22, 2013
Mrs rated it it was amazing
Mar 14, 2017
Krista C
Krista C rated it really liked it
Mar 10, 2016
Julie L
Julie L rated it really liked it
Jul 12, 2016
Katie rated it liked it
Jul 09, 2012
Muriel Horn
Muriel Horn rated it liked it
Dec 01, 2016
« previous 1 3 4 5 6 7 next »
There are no discussion topics on this book yet. Be the first to start one »
  • Queen of Shadows: A Novel of Isabella, Wife of King Edward II
  • I, Jacqueline
  • Crown in Candlelight
  • Passage to Pontefract (Plantagenet Saga, #10)
  • Beloved Enemy: The Passions of Eleanor of Aquitaine
  • The White Queen of Middleham (Sprigs of Broom #1)
  • I Serve: A Novel of the Black Prince
  • The Secret Eleanor
  • Eleanor of Aquitaine: The Mother Queen of the Middle Ages
  • The People's Queen
  • Rebellion
  • The Lost Queen
  • The Hostage Queen
  • The White Boar (Lovell Duo, #1)
  • The King's Mistress
  • To the Tower Born: A Novel of the Lost Princes
Margaret Campbell Barnes was born in 1891 and died in 1962. She was the youngest of ten children born in the Sussex country side. By all accounts she lived a happy childhood and was eventually educated at small private schools in Paris and London.

The majority of her books were written between the 1940's and 1960's.

She married Peter Barnes in 1917, a furniture salesman, and the couple had two sons,
More about Margaret Campbell Barnes...

Share This Book