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Montfort: The Early Years - 1229 to 1243 (Montfort The Founder of Parliament #1)

3.44  ·  Rating Details ·  98 Ratings  ·  28 Reviews
Simon begins his life in England as a callow and prudish youth who must win his family’s lapsed earldom at King Henry’s dissolute Court. Soon Simon’s pride and presumption are shattered as he first becomes obsessed with a passion for the young heretic Queen Eleanor, and then falls in love with a nun who is the King’s sister. High points: a jousting tournament, the decadent ...more
Paperback, 332 pages
Published February 5th 2010 by Wake Robin Press
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Community Reviews

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Edited to add, 12 April 2013: Because she really, really does not like my review and cannot cope with having her highly implausible theories called into question, Katherine Ashe has threatened me and Amazon with legal action ("Would you consider joining in a class action suit against Amazon? Against Kathryn Warner? What do you suggest?") and has teamed up with the vile hate mob at Stop the Goodreads Bullies, in a post of 8 April entitled 'Reviewer Subterfuge, Part 2', reproduced in full with com ...more
Sarah u
Sep 13, 2016 Sarah u rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Review edited April 25th 2014 to remove links to my old weblog and make the review less angry.

Anyone who knows me knows I love thirteenth century England; it was the subject of my blog and one of the periods I spent the most time in before I settled into an ancient history degree. So, when this book showed up in my Amazon recommendations, it appealed to me immediately. A novel of Simon de Montfort and the court of Henry III sounded brilliant! Unfortunately, however, I have walked away from this
DNF review at 17%

How to review this? I knew going in that this book had some rather...erm...unusual opinions about Simon de Montfort and the *true* parentage of Edward I of England. I know there's at least two camps of readers in historical fiction - those who want it as historically accurate as possible (me), and those who are happy playing footloose with known history as long as the story and writing is good. Since other reviewers have done a fine job arguing the historical discrepancies here,
Feb 27, 2012 Jerelyn rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
This was a DID NOT FINISH, I bailed when Ms. Ashe asserts that Eleanor of England, Henry III's sister, was married to a 70 year old William Marshal, Earl of Pembroke. When really she was married to his son, William Marshal, the 2nd Earl of Pembroke.

(From Wikipedia) (Before William the Marshal died in 1219 Eleanor was promised to his son, also named William. They were married on 23 April 1224 at New Temple Church in London. The younger William was 34 and Eleanor only nine. He died in London on 6
This is the first of four novels focused on the life of Simon de Montfort, one of the many fascinating figures of the 13th century. It unfortunately succeeds in rendering him irredeemably dull, and a bit of a Mary Sue into the bargain. He is first introduced to us not by name, but by epithet - "the youth"; "the orphan" etc - so we have a whole chapter of reductive descriptions, which did not bode well. "The youth" appears clad in white, and riding a white horse - en route to Henry III's court, h ...more
Mar 28, 2013 M— marked it as decline-to-read
This cropped up on one of my book-drama feeds. As near as I can figure, Ashe has authored a work of historical fiction with plot basis in a historical theory of royal parentage. An amateur (I presume) historian/researcher conversant in that historical period read this book and wrote a lengthy review focusing on that historical theory; namely that it is not considered a creditable one. Ashe commented her displeasure about this, which apparently kicked off a review upvote war between the fractions ...more
The Just-About-Average Ms M
As far as the alleged decades of research this author claims are concerned, they are worth--just!--lining a litter box. I'm a French historian, but know enough medieval English history to recognize distortions, inaccuracies, and sloppy writing when I see it.
Dec 04, 2012 Peter rated it it was amazing
Very few historical novels have given me so much engrossing pleasure as Katherine Ashe's "Montfort the Founder of Parliament" part 1 "The Early Years".

Katherine's principal character captivated me from the very beginning, as the young Simon de Montfort sets out from France to England to claim his rights as Earl of Leicester and Steward of England. It is the year 1229, yet the descriptive power of the novel transported me with ease from the twenty-first century into the first half of the thirteen
The writing quality of this is good, which is why I gave it 2 stars instead of one, but the character development is rather flat and one-dimensional. I also felt like the medieval world was not always accurately portrayed. An example was a conversation between a Jewish money lender and Montfort:

But as he turned away, the man opened his eyes and called out, “What can I do for the young lord?”
“You know me?”
“Doesn’t everyone in Leicester, lord Montfort?”

Really? Everyone in Leicester, down to the
Mar 04, 2012 Ashley rated it it was amazing
Montfort opened with a chapter that really helped show the power and intensity that Simon carries with him throughout the rest of the book (and presumably throughout life). It is an intriguing kind of intensity - a blend that one rarely finds outside of a deeply religious person with other passions that also run deep. The soul of such a person is always searching, seeking, and wondering if the things they seek are spiritually toxic or enhancing. In Montfort's case, he finds more of the former th ...more
Sep 03, 2012 Nicole rated it it was amazing
Montfort: The Early Years 1229 to 1243 is about a man trying to make his place in the world. He was raised in the French court but his older brother has claim to their father’s French land and titles. So, Montfort travels to England to claim his father’s English titles, Earl of Leicester and Steward of England. He is viewed as a foreigner by the English court but soon becomes the King’s favorite. It seems he continually gets himself into trouble when it comes to women. He falls for the King’s si ...more
Feb 18, 2012 April rated it really liked it
MONTFORT:THE EARLY YEARS 1229-1243 by Katherine Ashe is an interesting historical fiction. It is written with emotion,research,about the pathetic kings of England,the destruction of a country,political and financial situation. It is the story of Simon de Montfort,the founder of parliament,the inexperience, greed,and ideals,during the 13th century. The plot is filled with deceit,ambition,failure,triumph,romance,and the man himself. "Montfort:The Early Years" is a truly fascinating story of the be ...more
Feb 15, 2012 Kim rated it it was amazing
Simon de Montfort, the founder of English Parliament, has quite a resume. He was a renowned knight, amazing military strategist, and was pressed into a monarchy, which he rejected. However, all great men start somewhere, and Montfort The Early Years by Katherine Ashe details the early years of Montfort’s distinguished life.

We begin with a young Montfort, inexperienced in the ways of the world and not too eager to step out into it as well. Despite this, he is thrust into the fray early on as he i
Feb 06, 2012 Heather rated it it was amazing
Montfort: THe Founder of Parliament is definitely a 5 Star + book. I guess I thought that this was another history book....with lots of dry facts....but I was looking forward to reading it. (I like history books.....even with dry facts)

Once I opened the book I realized that this book was an amazing story about a great figure in History..told in a way, that had me hooked from the first page. I wanted to read more, and had a hard time putting it down. I look forward to more.......and can't wait to
Wendy Bertsch
Sep 20, 2015 Wendy Bertsch rated it really liked it
Simon de Montfort has been brought to life in this excellent book. Befriended, then cast off, by King Henry III of England, Simon’s natural abilities as a warrior and as an administrator enable him to rise above his very human failings. His star rises and falls with dramatic rapidity, and not always through fault of his own.

Meticulously researched, the book draws us deep into the life and politics of the 13th Century, and allows us to know Simon personally, giving us an intimate understanding o
Lots of well-researched historical fact blended with fiction but it reads a little stilted and dry to me, the characters felt flat somehow and made it hard to stay engaged with the book.

2 1/2 stars, better than "okay" but not quite making it to I liked it.
Feb 26, 2012 Z S rated it it was amazing
Shelves: favorite-books
One of the best books I have read. 33 years of research was evident!
Sharon Reddy
Jan 11, 2012 Sharon Reddy rated it really liked it
Shelves: historical
I highly recommend this work as very well researched and a good fictional extrapolation of events in the life of one of the most interesting personages in English history. The author does an excellent job of bringing the primary characters to life for the reader.

My reason for giving this book four stars, not five, is a matter of personal taste. At times, the description was too florid, for me. However, I will, without doubt, read the other three parts of this fictionalized biography.

Well done,
Feb 01, 2012 Catherine rated it really liked it
Shelves: british-history
I didn't like this Simon as much as the one portrayed in Sharon Kay Penman's series on Wales, but it's an interesting and different take on the same series of events. A nice contrast to the other series. Debated continuing with the story, since the characters just don't seem to thave the depth, but in the end decided to move forward with it.
Aug 13, 2012 Indiebrag rated it it was amazing
This book is a 2012 B.R.A.G.Medallion Honoree- and honor that tells readers this books is well worth their time and money!
Sep 09, 2010 Debra rated it really liked it
Shelves: hnro
See review in next issue of Historic Novel Reviews Online
I was looking forward to finding out more about Simon de Montfort, but there were errors in here and/or too much artistic license for my liking. I will continue to read. Because I'm looking to learn more about Henry III, and I'm just glad that I read Falls the Shadow by SKP to have a background on this time frame.

Simon was an ambitious fourth son of a French nobleman without much chance of advancing in France, and so he headed to England to make his claim and fortune. He was ambitious, controver
Sally Archer
Jun 29, 2015 Sally Archer rated it really liked it
A interesting account of the early years of Simon de Montfort a man I feel should be recognised more as a history changer.
Kilian Metcalf
Jun 20, 2014 Kilian Metcalf rated it liked it
I tried to like this book. Extremely well researched and well written, this is just the sort of book I usually enjoy. Unfortunately the title character is such a guilt-ridden prig that I couldn't work up any sympathy for him. He was constantly in a state of lust alternating with guilt and penance. I wouldn't want to have lunch with him. I wonder whether he outgrows this in the sequel, but not enough to read it and find out.
Kat Green
Mar 14, 2016 Kat Green rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Wonderful, detailed, intriguing book. Different from any other I've read, so well researched and written. I learned a lot from reading it and truly enjoyed every minute!
Felicia Rogers
Mar 31, 2012 Felicia Rogers rated it liked it
Interesting account of Simon Montfort's life with very detailed descriptions. Makes me glad I didn't live in 1229.
Apr 15, 2013 Michelle rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
I picked this up through kindle because of my interest in Simon de Montfort. I am sorry to say I was bitterly disappointed, and yes I did read the entire book AND the notes. This author states she has devoted thirty something years to her research, and has reached her conclusions from her reading of original documents. All I can say is she must have a pretty unique way of reading and interpreting said sources!
I don't mind an author taking some liberties with known historical facts, if they give
Eliza marked it as to-read
Sep 27, 2016
Bill Meyer
Bill Meyer rated it really liked it
Sep 15, 2016
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Marshalls, Llewellyns,, Kenilworth, etc. 1 13 Mar 15, 2013 10:06AM  
answers to questions regarding Montfort 1 19 Mar 15, 2013 09:56AM  
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Since embarking on writing MONTFORT, Katherine Ashe has written plays and screenplays on historical subjects from Columbus to the coal mining labor leader John Mitchell. She lives in rural Pennsylvania with her husband, journalist and author Peter Wynne, and two dogs.
More about Katherine Ashe...

Other Books in the Series

Montfort The Founder of Parliament (4 books)
  • Montfort: The Viceroy -  1243 to 1253 (Monfort, #2)
  • Montfort: The Revolutionary -  1253 to 1260 (Monfort, #3)
  • Montfort: The Angel with the Sword - 1260 to 1265 (Monfort, #4)

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