Goodreads helps you keep track of books you want to read.
Start by marking “Lady of the English” as Want to Read:
Lady of the English
Enlarge cover
Rate this book
Clear rating
Open Preview

Lady of the English

4.02  ·  Rating Details  ·  4,278 Ratings  ·  322 Reviews
Two very different women are linked by destiny and the struggle for the English crown. Matilda, daughter of Henry I, is determined to win back her crown from Stephen, the usurper king. Adeliza, Henry's widowed queen and Matilda's stepmother, is now married to William D'Albini, a warrior of the opposition. Both women are strong and prepared to stand firm for what they know ...more
Hardcover, 532 pages
Published June 2nd 2011 by Little, BrownBook Group (first published 2011)
More Details... edit details

Friend Reviews

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

Community Reviews

(showing 1-30 of 3,000)
filter  |  sort: default (?)  |  Rating Details
Jun 19, 2011 Misfit rated it it was amazing
Shelves: favorites
"A woman may be the power behind a man, but she is not allowed to take power for herself."

This book is the story of two women, one an Empress and one who was Queen of England and begins in 1125. Matilda, married off at a young age is summoned home from Germany after the death of her husband the Emperor. Old king Henry may have plenty of bastards, but Matilda is his only legitimate heir and Henry wants her married well and to someone who can sire sons. Much to Matilda's displeasure, he picks the
Rebecca Huston
It's pretty much a given that when a new Elizabeth Chadwick novel is announced, I preorder it. And when it arrives, everything gets jettisoned so that I can read it right away. Very few authors do that to me any more, and this one wasn't any different. I loved reading about Matilda in this and found her a fascinating and believable woman -- very few authors bother to take her out of the shrewish bitch that most history cast her as. Also, the contrast with Adeliza is terrific, and THE PROPOSAL sc ...more
Chadwick really knows how to make history personal and alive. She makes you feel what was at stake for the people involved, know their losses and fears, and she fills in the gaps between the known facts so plausibly.

Lady of the English tells the story of two women very close to power but ultimately unable to wield it in a man's world. The two women are very different. King Henry I's wife, Adeliza, is soft, empathetic, and physically weak. She is just looking for peace and stability, but is very
From the first that I learned about Henry and Eleanor (thanks to The Lion in Winter) and by default Matilda and Stephen, that period of history seized my tween attention span and has never really let go. I've read many works of fiction surrounding these people and events, and I figured it was about time I should try this author. I heard she just keeps getting better and better with every book and since this was her latest.... Well.... *shrug*

First off, I don't put any credence in what she uses f
Apr 06, 2016 Maria rated it it was amazing
Shelves: 2016
Há muito tempo atrás, eu era uma leitora de apenas 1 género: ficção histórica. Apenas lia este género, torcendo o nariz a todos os outros, até ter apanhado umas quantas "barretadas" com uma autora que eu adorava, e me ter afastado. Também porque, de tanto ler dentro do mesmo género, fiquei em burnout - nem queria ver livros de hist-fic ao pé de mim. Durante uns tempos mantive-me afastada deste género de literatura, com algum medo de não conseguir voltar.

Mas, eis que aparece este livro, que me ti
Apr 02, 2016 Richard rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Anyone interested in British royals
This book is a retelling of the life of Empress Matilda (also known as Maude). It presents her sympathetically, as a strong woman who was frustrated by the limitations put on her ambition by a patriarchal society. It contrasts Matilda's life with that of her stepmother, the virtuous Adeliza of Louvain. Adeliza seems to start out as a secondary character but gains in importance as the novel progresses. While both women go through two marriages and experience lack of offspring followed by successf ...more
Sarah u
“Read an Elizabeth Chadwick novel!” “You’ll love her!” has been the chorus of many of my friends and acquaintances in recent months after I made the shocking revelation that I’d never read one of her novels. I don’t know why, in all honesty, I just never did. With my friends voices in mind, I will admit to being very unsure of this novel before I started reading it. What if it had been oversold? What if I was underwhelmed? If I didn’t like it, would my mates all think I was weird?

Turns out I had
Amy Bruno
No one does medieval historical fiction quite like Elizabeth Chadwick, and her latest novel, Lady of the English is just one more example of her enormous talent for bringing the past to life!

Matilda has just returned to England after the death of husband, the German Emperor and is welcomed by her father, King Henry I and his wife, Adeliza. The two women become fast friends and a true companionship begins. Before King Henry’s death he makes his noblemen pledge their allegiance to his daughter Ma
May 01, 2012 Cathy rated it did not like it
Caveat. I did not finish this book. I'm not going to finish this book. So maybe this isn't a fair review but ...
I picked up this book because since I grew up in a British colony, I am a huge fan of English history. Not only the picture on the cover, but the advertising led me to believe that this was the story of a strong woman. No. If there were fewer characters and it was set in modern times, this is a Lifetime Network movie-of-the-week waiting to happen. In this book, women are victims and th
Dec 26, 2011 Cate rated it did not like it
Shelves: book-club
I decided to read this book because a quote on the back from Sharron Kay Pennman compared the author to Dorothy Dunnett. I can only assume that SKP either did not read this book, has not read Dunnett, or has confused her with Phillipa Gregory. That said, sometimes you want a trashy novel...but this woman considers sessions with her psychic to be "research." Seek not for truth in these pages.
Jun 09, 2011 Marg rated it it was amazing
Another fantastic read from Elizabeth Chadwick

Can't wait for her take on Eleanor and Henry in the upcoming trilogy. Is it a bit unfair to start asking when it is going to be out?

Loved the use of Matilda/Brian and Adeliza/Will to tell the two sides of the story, and one of the highlights was the shining energy of Matilda's son Henry, destined to become Henry II.
Elia Princess of Starfall

It is 1135. The Old King, Henry I, is dead and his heir is his daughter Matilda, former Empress of Germany and a determined and intelligent Queen-in-Waiting. However, due to the inherent misogyny of the medieval era and the unwillingness of the Barons of England and Normandy to bend the knee to a woman, Matilda is unjustly usurped from her throne by her cousin Stephen and so begins the Anarchy; a civil war that consumes both kingdoms in the inferno of war, famine and rampant murder and robbery.
Oct 19, 2011 Moppet rated it it was amazing
Elizabeth Chadwick’s latest release tells the story of two women who at one point in their lives held the title of Lady of the English: Adeliza, queen of Henry I, and her stepdaughter, Matilda, Henry’s heir.

Adeliza and Matilda are very different women. Adeliza plays the role of a consort to perfection, with one exception – she fails to provide an heir. This means that Matilda has to take on an impossible role – that of reigning queen at a time when women were considered unfit to rule. While Mati
Oct 28, 2014 Hal rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Elizabeth Chadwick purports to tell the story of Empress Matilda/Maud and her cousin Stephen's battle for the throne of England and Normandy upon the death of her father Henry I. I'm an avid reader of English medieval historical fiction, but I've long avoided reading any of Chadwick's books after reading many unfavorable comments about her work. And now I understand those comments. Comparing her work to an A-list author of historical fiction such as Sharon Kay Penman is akin to comparing Jerry L ...more
Dec 06, 2015 Tracy rated it really liked it
This was a great historical story of Henry I's daughter, Matilda, and her fight for the English throne. I love Elizabeth Chadwick's books as I feel I get a fantastic history lesson while enjoying myself! She sticks to the facts as much as possible and the stories are very real.

This time period and the circumstances of this particular situation are honestly rather sad and frustrating. The ending with Will & Adeliza I found to be very sad but I could also understand Adeliza's position (to som
Jul 02, 2016 Sarah rated it really liked it
It's been a while since I've read anything by Chadwick, but now I remember why I enjoy her novels so much. Her characters are well-researched and fleshed out in a way that makes you feel as if you are watching events unfold before your eyes. Prior to reading this book, I had no knowledge of the empress Matilda, daughter of King Henry I, or his wife, Adeliza. So often in history we learn about the men involved, but the women are only a side-note, with their greatest accomplishments being the bear ...more
Jan 24, 2013 Michele rated it it was amazing
Is it possible that Elizabeth Chadwick just keeps getting better and better with each successive novel? Yes, it is, because Lady of the English is her best effort to date and that's considerable for the queen of historical fiction.

Lady of the English is the story of Matilda, arguably England's first queen. The daughter of Henry I, Matilda was married off (of course) to a young age to the Holy Roman Emperor. While Matilda spent her younger years in Germany learning to be an Empress, her older bro
Tara Chevrestt
"If she thought a man was a fool, she said so to his face in front of others, and gave no quarter. She was tall, slender, beautiful, desirable.."

This is how Empress Mathilda is described. This is the woman this novel is about. She was the daughter and the only surviving heir to Henry I. The men of England got on their knees three times in front of her and three times, swore to uphold her as their queen. When her father died, however, they upheld her cousin Stephen instead. Mathilda was enraged a
Jo Barton
Sep 19, 2011 Jo Barton rated it it was amazing
Lady of the English is set in the 1100's, and follows the lives of two very different women, Matilda and Adeliza.

Matilda, the only daughter of Henry I, was used as a political pawn for all of her life. As a young child she was married to the Holy Roman Emperor, Henry V, until his death in 1125 resulted in her father using her again to make a political marriage, this time with the Count of Anjou. Following the untimely death of her brother William, Matilda was regarded by some of the English baro
Lady of the Lake
Mar 15, 2013 Lady of the Lake rated it it was amazing
Elizabeth Chadwick is an amazing story teller an amazing author. She can bring life to those she writes about like no other! She takes you to the time and place with all the colors so vivid and it becomes all consuming. I am lost from the moment I open the cover to the time I close it.
Rio (Lynne)
Sep 05, 2011 Rio (Lynne) rated it it was amazing
Chadwick...enough said.
Sep 12, 2011 Elysium rated it it was amazing
Matilda is summoned home after her husband the Emperor dies. Her brother has died and King Henry I has only a daughter for heir. He tries to find suitable husband for her and chooses young Geoffrey, Count of Anjou. Matilda is less than pleased with the decision but knows that duty comes first.

Adeliza of Louvain is Henry I’s second wife and close to Matilda’s age. Despite Henry having bastards fron numerous women, Adeliza seems to be barren much to her distress.

But everything changes when Henry
I am hooked on Elizabeth Chadwick. She could pen comic books and I'd be the first in line to buy them. There are few authors in the historical fiction genre who bring the past to life in such a vivid fashion and Chadwick is one of the best. Along with Eleanor of Aquitaine and of course Elizabeth I, the Empress Matilda has always fascinated me as yet another strong woman seeking to dictate her own destiny. I actually have to thank the brilliant Ellis Peters' Brother Cadfael mysteries for causing ...more
Nov 28, 2011 Jane rated it really liked it
Shelves: borrowed
I knew the story well before I picked the book up.

In 1069 Henry I died without a legitimate male heir. He named his daughter, Matilda, as his heir, but when he died his nephew, Stephen, took the throne.

Had Henry named a new heir on his deathbed? Was Stephen a usurper? Could a woman rule?

The rival claimants to the throne would wage war for years …

I first read the story in Sharon Penman’s ‘Christ and his Saints Slept’, but reading it again appealed, and I was very curious to see how Elizabeth Chad
Brandie Fowler
Dec 22, 2013 Brandie Fowler rated it did not like it
I read this book because it was reviewed by Sharon Kay Penman, but it is clear that she was simply being polite when she recommended it. The book is a pale comparison to Penman's own "When Christ and his Saints Slept", and her subsequent treatments of Henry II and Eleanor of Aquitaine in "Time and Chance" and "The Devil's Brood". The characters are so narrowly drawn and the historical descriptions so lacking that there is no depth--and no real reason to become involved or even care about the pla ...more
Jun 29, 2016 LemonLinda rated it really liked it
Chadwick is a great HF author and I generally know I will really enjoy her books. And she tends to write strong female characters, but it in this one she gives us the two sides of these historical women. These women, especially Matilda, take what they believe is their God given right and run with it, yet because they are female and they live in a male dominated world they are forced to face barriers and inherent issues not known to the men.

While I was entertained as I read I also felt I was bei
I've finally read a book about Empress Mathilda (something I longed to do for quite a while as she seemed very interesting) and I've finally read a Chadwick book (I never knew which one to pick first so when this book was announced I knew that this was the one)
I was not dissapointed. I especially loved the last 100 pages, which I read quicker than the others. I do hope to buy/read more about this period of time once I've decreased my TBR pile a little :-)

p.s. to those who have read this as well;
I enjoyed this story of two strong women. I respected Matilda, but I liked Adeliza better! I haven't read about a "King Henry" that I've liked, and this one was no exception. There were many good characters in the story and a few to hate as well. My favorite book by this author is still The Greatest "all-time favorite," but this is still very good historical fiction.
V.E. Lynne
'Lady of the English' is a strong, evocative historical novel that charts the paths of two very different medieval women: Matilda, only surviving legitimate child of Henry I of England and Adeliza, Henry's second wife. The novel begins with the newly widowed Matilda summoned back home to the court of her father and stepmother where her father has a plan to make her his heir, as long as she weds a man of his choosing. He opts for Geoffrey of Anjou, a much younger nobleman whom Elizabeth Chadwick ...more
4/9/2014 - decided to see if I could finish this

9/9/2014 - I just have to finally admit I'm not wanting to go any further with this. It's wonderfully written, but I'm afraid all the politics is boring me to tears (it's not a criticism of her writing, it's just a personal hang up of mine). I highly recommend it if you enjoy that sort of thing.
« previous 1 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 99 100 next »
  • I Am the Chosen King (The Saxon Series #2)
  • Queen By Right
  • The Queen of Last Hopes: The Story of Margaret of Anjou
  • To Be Queen: A Novel of the Early Life of Eleanor of Aquitaine
  • Pale Rose of England
  • The Countess and the King: A Novel of the Countess of Dorchester and King James II
  • Devil's Brood  (Henry II & Eleanor of Aquitaine, #3)
  • The King's Mistress
  • The First Princess of Wales
  • Queen Hereafter: A Novel of Margaret of Scotland
  • The Sister Queens
  • Virgin Widow: England's Forgotten Queen
  • Three Maids for a Crown
  • The Tudor Rose
  • To Serve a King
  • Within the Fetterlock
Best selling historical novelist Elizabeth Chadwick won a Betty Trask Award for her first novel The Wild Hunt. She has been shortlisted for the UK's mainstream Best Romantic Novel of the Year Award 4 times and longlisted twice. Her novel The Scarlet Lion about the great William Marshal and his wife Isabelle de Clare, has been selected by Richard Lee, founder of the Historical Novel Society as one ...more
More about Elizabeth Chadwick...

Share This Book

“Grief was just the moment before you tied the thread and began the next one” 11 likes
“Grief was just the moment before you tied off the thread and began the next one. That was when you made your choice about what you were going to sew next.” 2 likes
More quotes…