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Isabeau: A Novel of Queen Isabella and Sir Roger Mortimer (The Isabella Books #1)

3.73  ·  Rating Details  ·  745 Ratings  ·  66 Reviews
The story of Queen Isabella, who sought revenge on her husband Edward II, and her lover Sir Roger Mortimer, who masterminded the invasion that accomplished it.

The marriage of Isabella of France and Edward II of England in 1308 is a union meant to secure lasting peace. For years, Isabella is a loyal wife, who repeatedly salvages her husband's kingship, even as she endures h
Paperback, 422 pages
Published September 7th 2010 by Cader Idris Press (first published August 1st 2010)
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How can the medieval invasion of England by a vengeful wife and her ambitious lover against an incompetent king and his powerful intimate become a skim-read, bland, nicey-nicey waste?

Buddy read with Jemidar :-)

Closer to 2.5 stars.

Meh. I've read worse but have definitely read better. Full of cliches & caricature, and as shallow as a summer puddle. Nothing new or interesting to be seen here. Next!

Buddy read with Anna :-).
May 30, 2011 Kimbers10 rated it it was amazing
I will be hosting a giveaway for TWO of N. Gemini Sasson's novels within the next week, so make sure to stop by and enter for a chance to win!


Coming across author N. Gemini Sasson is one of the best discoveries I've made on I was browsing through my recommendations on Amazon around two months ago, and I happened across her Trilogy on Robert the Bruce. I hadn't read very much about him, and the Kindle edition price was incredibly cheap ($2.99),
Paul Reid
Oct 07, 2011 Paul Reid rated it it was amazing
"Isabeau" is a superbly-crafted, hugely-engaging novel set in 14th century England and France, which tells the story of Isabeau of France - Queen Isabella of England - and her efforts to rescue both her adopted country and her loved ones from the machinations of the English king, her husband, Edward II.

Married to Edward as a young girl, Isabella knows deep unhappiness and neglect. Edward is a feeble and low-minded king, and is far too easily led by the despicable court lizard Hugh Despenser, Edw
I didn't like how this constantly jumped back and forth between Isabeau and Mortimer's first person points of view. My opinion is either write in third person or stick to (at least mostly) one person's view point in first person. If you have to add another person's view in first person, keep it minimal like Margaret George does.

But otherwise I liked the writing style - not too modern but easy to read. It also seemed pretty accurate and any elements changed made sense. It was over all pretty good
Aug 22, 2014 May rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Well done! Just finished this novel by N. Gemini Sasson. I thoroughly enjoyed seeing this chapter in history through Queen Isabelle's eyes.
The author did a very believable job recreating the moments: large and small that impacted the people and moved the story forward. I also enjoyed the way she wove in the culture and mores of the time as they impacted Isabella. I found myself caught up in the moments of the story. I need to download the next one!! I highly recommend.
Jul 07, 2012 Jennifer rated it really liked it
I loved the author's slant on the Queen Isabella/Roger Mortimer affair. Neither character is painted as either black or white, as often history portrays them, but rather as complex figures who come together in a dynamic love affair. Queen Isabella's motivation is often said to have been pure revenge, however in this novel she is shown as a woman who tried to be a good wife to her husband, but doing so began to contradict her duties as a queen. She had England's best interest at heart, aswell as ...more
Aug 23, 2014 Adelheid rated it it was ok
I admit that I never got over the horrid Historical Inaccuracy that claimed that Edward II really was the father of Queen Isabella's children. While Historians may not be sure who each of their fathers was, most agree that Edward and Isabella never had sexual intercourse.
I was also extremely disappointed at how the book seemed to drag and its lack of 'on screen' action. We were told that there was a battle, and that Roger was even in some of them, but we never see the action. Nor do we see any
Erin Germain
I wasn't sure exactly what to expect with this, but it was enjoyable. It started a bit slowly, but about a third of the way in, it really picked up speed. I would have liked to have seen a bit more of the relationship between Edward II and Isabella; he couldn't have completely been the spineless, sniveling creature portrayed here. I understand that the story was told from Isabella's and Mortimer's points of view, so it makes sense that Edward was shown as such, as well as Despenser to be as devo ...more
V.r. Christensen
Dec 10, 2011 V.r. Christensen rated it it was amazing
Ms. Sasson's writing is elegant and effortless. Never strained or contrived. As someone who has an interest in English history, I found this really engaging, and an interesting theory as to what went on behind the scenes of Edward II's expulsion and overthrow. I doubt very much that Isabelle would have felt differently about her husband's misdeeds than would any wife today, and in that I found it relevant as well. I'm looking forward to reading more of Ms. Sasson's work.
Feb 23, 2015 Dani rated it liked it
Queen Isabella is a woman on a mission. She wants revenge on her husband, King Edward and his suspected lover, Hugh Despenser. She has sat by and watched King Edward let Despenser run the country into the ground, turned Edward against Isabella and both of them have treated Isabella cruelly. After Despenser takes away Queen Isabella's children; she is able to escape to France under a guise of a treaty with her brother, King Charles. She is reunited with Sir Roger Mortimer, who she help escape aft ...more
Paul Burnette
Nov 24, 2015 Paul Burnette rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Reluctant queen; loving mother; lusty lover: Isabeau. Isabella, sister of the King of France, has one of those political weddings to King Edward II of England, a less than appealing man already in love with someone else -- another gay man. Isabella has four children with Edward, who spends all his emotional energy on either his lover or his frustration with the horde of English nobles and rebellious Scots who deny him all he's ever wanted from life: to be left alone to live in peace with his lov ...more
Oct 29, 2010 Jennifer rated it really liked it
Shelves: first-reads
I received this book as part of a first-reads giveaway.

I really enjoyed reading this book, Isabeau. I found it to be a fascnating, compelling read. In this novel of historical fiction the characters really come to life and are well-developped. Throughout the book, the main characters of Queen Isabella and Roger Mortimer are faced with many challenges to overcome and moral questions to think about as they struggle against King Edward and his closest advisor. The author, N. Gemini Sasson, must ha
If you like historical novels, this book will not disappoint. Isabeau, daughter of King Philip IV of France, becomes Queen Isabella, wife of King Edward II at the tender age of 12, nearly 13. The marriage was arranged as a way to bring peace between France and England. King Edward proves to be as bad a husband as he is king. What surprises me is that four children were born of that marriage...four! Because from the gist of the story, Edward preferred his men friends over Isabella. But kings are ...more
Terry (Ter05 TwiMoms/ MundieMoms)
The early 1300’s – England, Scotland, France…. This is the story of King Edward II of England and his Queen, Isabella of France. It is a time of wars, power plays, ruthless politics, intrigue, murder - and it is a love story. The story of Isabella and Sir Roger Mortimer who defied a king to save England from the ruinous path that he was not leading it down, but rather allowing it to crumble into. If revenge was also a motive, Edward gave Isabella and Mortimer too, plenty of reasons to want it.
Heather Domin
Sep 06, 2011 Heather Domin rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I've been looking forward to reading this since I first heard about it, and I wasn't disappointed. This is Isabella's story from her wedding to her son's accession, told in alternating first-person by Isabella and Roger Mortimer. Both narrators come across as realistic people with flaws and virtues (especially Roger), as do the supporting characters around them. I'm not a fan of the "Edward II was the worst king ever" trope, especially as a flimsy cover for homophobia (I'm looking at you, Braveh ...more
Aug 01, 2014 Barbararose rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Historical and gripping

Historical and gripping

Ms Sassoon has given us a book full of history, full of characters that bring the reign of Edward the 2nd to light. His marriage to Isabella when she was only 13, he enamored with his male lover.
Their tumultuous marriage and his advisor Hugh Despenser who may too have been his lover.
Jul 10, 2012 Victoria rated it liked it
This was a good read. It took a couple hundred pages to get going, but it's nearly a thousand pages long so I stuck with it. . . .otherwise, I might not have. The book was well written and I enjoyed that it switched between Isabella telling the story and Mortimer telling it. It gave a good perspective on each side. Furthermore, I am familiar with how the story truly ends and was happy to see that the author chose not to go there because I'd learned to love both characters. Their personalities re ...more
May 31, 2012 Jessica rated it liked it
I really wanted to like this book. And I actually did really like some of it. The story telling was well crafted and the changing point of view was not as jarring as it could have been. It was a quick, satisfying read although I do think at the ending it is obvious that the author had not originally intended to stretch the story into more than one book.

I do think the reason this book did not get more stars from me was the issue of having all characters speak in first person. It made things confu
Kristen Brockberg
Aug 03, 2014 Kristen Brockberg rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Good summer read

Good summer read

this was a light summer read with a good balance of historical fiction and romance for me. I enjoy how her books are written from different keeps it fresh for me.
Cynthia Mcarthur
Oct 06, 2011 Cynthia Mcarthur rated it liked it
This was a good book. I think that if the reader were not familiar with the characters and time period and just picked it up, it would take a while to catch on to the story. This novel was more about Isabella and Mortimer (as the title states) and less about the politics. Isabella is clever, but mostly ruled by emotion. I thought Mortimer was something of a brute, but the sort of brute that mostly had his country's good at heart, but I wonder if his need for revenge and the country's good didn't ...more
Laura Finger
Jun 27, 2013 Laura Finger rated it liked it
I finished this a few months after the World Without End miniseries aired. The book made me want to learn more about Isabella, since I didn't buy the portrayal of her as a scheming villain. I also wanted another viewpoint on her affair with Roger Mortimer.

This portrayal of Isabella is much more sympathetic; she first appears as a teenage bride, homesick and romanticizing her new marriage to Edward II. After she learns of her new husband's infidelity and sexual preference, Sasson portrays her hea
Nov 09, 2014 Gail rated it really liked it
Shelves: done-reading
I really enjoyed the book. the beginning as in most books kind of just goes along. I found it interesting because I have read about Edward II but not much about his wife. I became very sympathetic to her and what she was subjected to. The book really held my interest and I found I couldn't read it fast enough. I certainly have a different outlook on her relationaship's and why she did what she did. I really became part of the book (thats what reading for me is all about.) I was transported back ...more
Good book but overly done

I love a good descriptive book, it paints a picture,but sometimes the author goes overboard in painting the picture. It removes you from the central plot.
Jan 04, 2012 Cheryl rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: kindle-edition
Queen Isabella and Roger Mortimer conspire to overthrow a king. What a great discovery N. Gemini Sasson has been! I have voraciously devoured all three of the 14th Century, Edward/Isabella/Robert the Bruce books and cannot wait for the next ones. About the only negative thing I can say about this book was it ended way too soon and I'm wondering just how long I'm going to have to wait for the end. Of course I know the historical "end" but Ms. Sasson is another in a list of peers such as Elizabeth ...more
Jun 07, 2012 Carolyn rated it liked it
This is the story of Queen Isabella, wife of Edward II of England, and Sir Roger Mortimer. Isabella was married to Edward as relatively young girl. They had a bad marriage and she blamed it to a great extent on Hugh Despenser the Younger who had a close relationship and undue influence on Edward. Isabella and Roger Mortimer eventually launched a rebellion against Edward II and succeeded in deposing him and putting her son Edward III on the throne. This is my poor description of the actual histor ...more
Apr 03, 2012 Kelly rated it really liked it
I recently wrote my dissertation on Isabella of France and the contributing factors to her rebellion of 1326, which meant a lot of research into her life and Edward II's reign. What struck me immediately with this book was the in depth historical knowledge which accompanied the fiction. Time and time again I found myself impressed with the in depth detail.
More importantly I found the emotional and personal depiction of Isabella, Mortimer and the other characters to be fascinating and intriguing
Paul Knowles
Interesdsting Take on an old story - told from a different "actors" perspective.
Dec 04, 2013 Tudie rated it it was amazing
Outstanding book on Queen Isabella, who endured more suffering than imaginable with her marriage to King Edward II. He always had a Gay lover that she had to contend with, they always took precedence over her. Edward was not mentally stable, and she was his rock in his time of ruling, until she could take no more. Sir Roger Mortimer helped Isabella put her young son, Edward III on the Throne, and that is where this book ends. It is so rich in the Queens feelings and personality, that it's as if ...more
Nikki Hartline
May 23, 2015 Nikki Hartline rated it really liked it
A good story. A very enjoyable read.
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Former teacher and track coach. Runner, gardener, dog lover and sometimes farmer. Author of medieval historical fiction: The Crown in the Heather (The Bruce Trilogy: Book I), Worth Dying For (The Bruce Trilogy: Book II) and Isabeau, A Novel of Queen Isabella and Sir Roger Mortimer.
More about N. Gemini Sasson...

Other Books in the Series

The Isabella Books (2 books)
  • The King Must Die (The Isabella Books, #2)

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