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The King's Mistress

3.84  ·  Rating Details ·  2,473 Ratings  ·  211 Reviews
When had I choice to be other than I was? From childhood Alice Salisbury has learnt obedience in all things and at fourteen, dutifully marries the man her father has chosen for her - at the cost of losing the love of her mother forever and the family she holds dear.

But merchant Janyn Perrers is a good and loving husband and Alice soon learns to enjoy her marriage. Until a
Hardcover, 352 pages
Published July 6th 2010 by Arrow Books LTD (first published August 6th 2009)
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Daughter of a wealthy London merchant, Alice catches the eye of Janyn Perrers and the two marry despite her mother’s rather irrational objections. The marriage is definitely a love match, but Janyn and his mother have a deep dark secret that has something to do with the dowager Queen Isabella and while it has brought them great wealth, it also brings great danger to those who keep the old Queen’s secrets. When Janyn mysteriously disappears (no spoiler, that’s on the book jacket) Alice seeks prot ...more
Apr 20, 2010 Moppet rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
In this novel Alice Perrers, a merchant’s daughter who became mistress to the much older Edward III, tells her own story. I can’t argue with Emma Campion's decision to take a revisionist approach to Alice, who has gone down in history as ambitious, grasping and greedy. Mistresses were often demonised and blamed for all the ills of the country: it was, in fact, one of their functions to be a scapegoat and divert criticism which would otherwise fall on the king or queen. And there is evidence that ...more
Bree T
Apparently Alice Perrers is some sort of notorious figure of her time but given my lack of knowledge on Yorks and Lancasters and Tudors and whatever, I’d never heard of her. I read a highly praising review of The King’s Mistress on a book review blog and given my enjoyment of both The Other Boelyn Girl and The White Queen I ordered this in from my local library.

When the book opens Alice is barely 12 but ready to be paraded in Church in a pretty gown ‘emphasizing her body’s readiness to bear chil
Nov 24, 2013 Jen rated it it was ok
Shelves: fiction
Did you ever think I would like this?

Every once in a while someone suggests that since I like history so much I would like [insert name of recent historical fiction phenom here] and I gently say "it's not really my thing..."

So in the spirit of fictionpalooza, I decided to test "what was my thing."

This isn't my thing.

First off, the cover pictured here is not what is in the book from the library that showed up on my nook. Instead it is every historical fiction book ever. Some chick draped in ve
Mar 06, 2009 MBP rated it liked it
Recommended to MBP by: HNS Forthcoming list
I had mixed feelings about this one. I enjoyed the writing style, and learning more about Alice Perrers' eventful life. I'm not especially well read on this period of history, but it's clearly a revisionist portrait of Alice, and I think the author sometimes wrote herself into a corner in her attempts to make Alice a sympathetic character. I also think there was too much "telling" and not enough "showing," and there was very little in the book about the historical context and issues of the times ...more
Tea Jovanović
Read it, enjoyed it... but would not recommend it for translation... Something is lacking... Philippa Gregory is much better... But I will follow the author...
Jenny Q
Jun 29, 2010 Jenny Q rated it really liked it
There are a couple of things that make crafting a believable, romantic fictional account of Alice Perrer's story hard to do. First, the author has her work cut out for her in trying to persuade the reader that Alice is not as bad as her contemporaries made her out to be. History has accused Alice of taking advantage of a senile king for her own financial and political gain, and of usurping the position of a beloved dead queen, taking her place beside the king as the queen would have, even wearin ...more
Jul 09, 2010 Terra rated it it was amazing
The cover on this book looks fabulous and believe me the story in between is equally captivating. The story is paced perfectly from beginning to end and leaves you wondering how people could actually live like this at any time period.

There is so much that goes on with the story here of Alice Salisbury and it shows you the innocence, kindness, love, anger, hatred and so many more emotions that we as humans take for granted every day without thought as to how it will affect others. I do believe th
JG (The Introverted Reader)
"When had I a choice to be other than I was?"

So begins this fictional autobiography of Alice Perrars' life.

And that's about where I stopped caring overly much.

That's harsher than I mean to be, because the book was okay, but I have very, very little tolerance for excuses. And this was a running theme throughout the book. That's where my biggest problem lay.

I have to say that I don't recall ever coming across Alice Perrars before. She was married to a merchant but then became Edward III's consort
3.5* The handling of the historical events was fine and the book read well. My issues are mainly with the perfection of the main character: I knew going in that the book would be sympathetic to Alice, which is fine, but she was such a Mary Sue. Multiple men in love with her at a time, captures the heart of rakes, knows what to say to everyone, beautiful, beloved by children, loves animals... it just goes on. Hardly anything was ever her fault, and she had excuses or tragic stories if it was. She ...more
Apr 13, 2011 Cherie rated it did not like it
Initially, I had hope...
I had hoped that this might be a book full of good juicy twists and sublime characters that are interesting and witty to outsmart the readers, obviously I was wrong.
The story was lacking in a powerful narrative sense, and the moral of the story was almost non-existent. I often wondered whilst reading this book if I'd just wasted my money on something that to-this-day, I still do not understand.

I now know that I wanted to spend my money on buying the red dress on the cover
I really enjoyed this book. It's not a period of history that I've ever studied or read about previously so I was able to read this book as a work of fiction while learning something of the history of the period. This made it a very good book to read and has encouraged me to read more about this period instead of generally focusing on historical fiction from the Tudor period
Jul 08, 2010 Allie rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Alice Perrers, a commoner born into a family of merchants, was the notorious mistress of King Edward III of England. She has gone down in history as an oft-reviled woman who didn't know her place among a court full of her "betters", most of whom came from families that could claim ancient noble descent. Alice was a new historical character for me and I enjoyed reading this fictionalized account of her side of the story. The author bio listed for Emma Campion on the Random House website states th ...more
"To the winner go the spoils" - Nowhere is this popular phrase more true than with historical accounts of events. Emma Campion masterfully captures the truth behind this phrase with her daring "what if" account of Alice Perrers, infamous mistress of King Edward III. While certain liberties are taken with various relationships and popular rumors of the era, this in no way detracts from the overall story. Ms. Campion creates a detailed picture of the life of a woman at court, with all its privileg ...more
Jun 24, 2010 Lauren rated it liked it
On the jacket of the King's Mistress (I had an ARC), Emma Campion describes herself as the world's foremost authority on Alice Perrers. Thus, I had great expectations for this novel in terms of historical accuracy. What I found, however, was a novel that was decidedly fiction. I do not claim to be an expert on Alice Perrers - what little I know of her is based on the unflattering references to her in Katherine. However, it is obvious that the fiction weighs more heavily than the historical in th ...more
Aug 16, 2010 Brenda rated it it was amazing
Wow! What a book!! Cudo's to this author, she has taken a story of Alice Perrers (known mistress) of King Edward III, and has woven a can't put down book so rich in history and so readable. There are books that you pick up and sort of skim through, not this one. I would have to slow myself down again and read as many of the words as I could, so I wouldn't miss anything.
You'll not find yourself bored with this book. I was just so disappointed when it was over. The story at the end of how the aut
Jessica at Book Sake
Jul 05, 2010 Jessica at Book Sake rated it really liked it
I’ll admit, I don’t know much about history. I had never heard of Alice Perrers and was unaware that she was a real person when I began this book. The tale is fictional, but it is written by Emma Campion who “did her graduate work in medieval and Anglo-Saxon literature and is the world's foremost scholar on Alice Perrers.” So I can only imagine that Perrers lived an extraordinary life.

The book was very well written and Campion put in such detail, you can tell she truly cared about the subject an
Aug 29, 2010 Jessica rated it really liked it
I really enjoyed this book. I thought the author painted her characters well. You really had a feel for the times, period, and the heroine.

Alice Perrers was perhaps misjudged through history (she's hardly the first woman that happened too); but in The King's Mistress Campion, raises some good questions, and presents some wonderful new theories! Dame Alice is shown to have very few choices in the way her life turned out. Could she have chosen to not become Edward III's mistress? Yes, but at what
Michelle (True Book Addict)
This was such a great book. My first real foray into the life of King Edward III and his mistress, Alice Perrers and it was quite enthralling. Campion does an excellent job of portraying the plight of a woman in the 14th century. Women had so very little choice of who they would marry. And then, if the king wants you as his mistress, well then you better bow to his wishes. Alice had no choice in any aspect of her life...everything was decided for her. You could say that she was carried along by ...more
Rio (Lynne)
2.5 stars. I went into this not knowing about Alice Perrers or much about this time period, except about Queen Isabella overthrowing her husband Edward II. After researching (what you can find) on Alice, this novel was mostly fictional. It started out strong, but got weak to me after 100 pages. Alice's father married her to Janyn Perrers who had unrealistic connections in my opinion to Queen Isabella. I also never understood her mother's issues with Janyn. I don't want to mention much due to spo ...more
Alice Perrers is almost wholly reviled by historians, but many of her "choices" were not hers to make. Think of the time period. What woman could have refused the king and walked away unscathed? A common one, at that.

However, Campion's version of her character was just a tad on the sickeningly naive side for me. Time and time again she was shown through other people, through warnings, through experiences at court that she could trust only a handful, but it was rare that she actually took this to
Aug 12, 2010 Nicki rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I loved this book. It's not an era of history I know much about, so I didn't know Alice's story before. This is a different viewpoint and very well done. A lovely read and will probably appeal to anyone who likes good historical fiction.
Apr 15, 2011 Nora rated it did not like it
Dull and plodding. I was unable to finish this because I was so uninterested in Alice's character.
An enjoyable enough read, but after a couple of chapters Alice's ingeniousness starts to pall. She is motivated entirely by love for her husband and her daughter, she is terrified by the evil atmosphere at court, and her mommy didn't love her. When (view spoiler) I decided I wasn't compelled to keep reading, so I stopped.
Mariana Carmo
May 20, 2014 Mariana Carmo rated it really liked it
Alice é uma jovem que sempre teve várias oportunidades em sua vida mas nunca realmente teve a chance de escolher o seu destino. Aos 13 anos de idade seu pai arranja um casamento para ela com um mercador bem sucedido da região. Assustada e com medo, mas ao mesmo tempo empolgada com a sua nova vida, Alice e Janyn se casam. Logo os dois se apaixonam perdidamente e vivem um casamento feliz mas repleto de muitos segredos.

Em um momento repentino, porém já esperado, Alice é afastada de toda a sua famíl
Mar 09, 2017 Robin rated it really liked it
After reading all of her "Owen Archer" series, Alice Perrers sounded like the ultimate sceeming bit**. Why did I get and read a book about Alice? I like the genre and as Campion states she did much more research on the character this time and we find out that she is just a woman of her time (1350's)doing what she is told to do i.e. getting married at 14yr, to an older man.
I did enjoy this story along with learning of King EdwardIII, Queen Phillipa, and their sons. Especially as recently the p
Sep 17, 2010 Hattie rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Arleigh (Historical Fiction)
Different primary colors are associated with the lifestyles people choose to live. For example, red is a color often associated with women who are living so called sinful lives. Hester Prynne wore an embroidered A on her clothing because she had a baby out of wedlock. Scarlet O'Hara wore a bright scarlet gown to a ball. Her husband, Rhett, chose the gown for her to wear that particular night to prove she was less than a lady and no lady's friend. She was a Scarlet Woman because she chose to love ...more
Jul 09, 2010 Eve rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
"When had I a choice to be other than I was? Should I have been more selfish, more rebellious? Have I been too compliant, too quick to give the men in my life what they thought they wanted? Am I a fallen woman, or am I an obedient handmaiden? As a female I was acceptable only as a virginal daughter, wife, or widow--unless of course, I took vows. I have been all three---daughter, wife, widow--and one other, mistress...I began my life in a quite acceptable fashion, but the royal family laid such s ...more
Jul 23, 2015 C rated it really liked it
Let's get one thing out of the way: This book has the title of a bodice-ripper. Yes, Alice Perrers was the king's mistress, but we could have done better than that, no?

The good news is this isn't a bodice-ripper (well, I suppose if you like bodice-rippers that is bad news, but...). In fact, most of the sexual situations -- of course there are some, because we are talking about a book about the king's mistress, after all -- are handled with a great deal of decorum, sometimes even employing the li
Allison  Macias
Jul 27, 2010 Allison Macias rated it it was amazing
Alice Salisbury is an obedient fourteen year old living in her parents household in London. She assists her father in his successful trading business and tries to stay out of her spiteful mother's way. When she catches the eye of attractive and wealthy Janyn Perrers, her mother becomes increasing jealous. After some time, Janyn proposes and Alice is sent to her paternal grandparents house to prepare for her wedding to Janyn. There, Alice is shown more kindness than ever, and when she marries Jan ...more
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Sinopsis en Español // Synopsis in Spanish 1 2 Feb 11, 2015 09:40AM  
  • Within the Hollow Crown: A Reluctant King, a Desperate Nation, and the Most Misunderstood Reign in History
  • The Queen's Pawn
  • Hugh and Bess: A Love Story
  • The Countess and the King: A Novel of the Countess of Dorchester and King James II
  • The People's Queen
  • Pale Rose of England: A Novel of the Tudors
  • The King's Concubine: A Novel of Alice Perrers
  • The First Princess of Wales
  • The Queen's Rival (In the Court of Henry VIII, #3)
  • Queen Hereafter: A Novel of Margaret of Scotland
  • Harlot Queen
  • The Reluctant Queen: The Story of Anne of York (Queens of England, #8)
  • Lady of the English
  • Queen By Right
  • The Darling Strumpet
The King's Mistress was Emma Campion's first novel. Her second, A Triple Knot, about Joan of Kent, will be published in the US by Crown 29 July 2014. She has read and researched medieval history for many years, having studied for a Ph.D in Medieval and Anglo-Saxon Literature. She writes historical crime novels under the name of Candace Robb. She lives in Seattle.
More about Emma Campion...

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