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The Poison Bed

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3.84  ·  Rating details ·  392 ratings  ·  132 reviews
A marriage. A murder. One of them did it. Which of them will die for it?


In the autumn of 1615, scandal rocks the Jacobean court, when a celebrated couple, Robert and Frances Carr, are imprisoned on suspicion of murder. Frances is young, captivating, and from a notorious family. She has been rescued from an abusive marriage by Robert, and is determined to make a new life fo
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Hardcover, 416 pages
Published April 2nd 2019 by Pegasus Books (first published June 14th 2018)
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3.84  · 
Rating details
 ·  392 ratings  ·  132 reviews


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Beata
Feb 17, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Some years ago I read about the poisoning affair at James I’s court and I was intrigued by the circumstances. When I found this book, I jumped at reading it, and the novel turned out to be a real page-turner with two narrators, Frances Howard and Robert Carr, telling the stories of their lives and love. The Poison Bed is a historical fiction, very well-researched with regard to the period. Based on actual events, the novel actually aims at providing the answer as to the murderer, and does so spl ...more
Helga
The Poison Bed is based on true events and takes place in the beginning of the 17th century, in the court of King James I.
The story revolves around Frances Howard and Robert Carr, who are accused of poisoning Sir Thomas Overbury and are held in the tower awaiting their trial.
Each tells their own tale in alternate chapters and as the story unravels, we learn more about each character and what circumstances led to their incarceration.
Who is guilty? Who is innocent? And who is telling the truth?
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Emma
This was based on a true crime. I love historical fiction and this is set in between monarchs and the periods I know about so was interesting from that point of view. The story was told from two points of view. I enjoy character led stories but I never really felt strongly about either of the characters.
Thanks to Netgalley for an arc of this book.
Susan Johnson
This is an interesting book if you are looking for sexual misadventures in King James I times. If you are looking for historical accuracy or good writing, this would not be the book for you. According to the author's epilogue, she spent an amazing amount of time in research by reading ONE book. Wow! The book is riddled with historical inaccuracies and improbabilities. Told by a husband and a wife in alternating chapters, it concerns the murder of the husband's friend, Thomas, while he is incarce ...more
Ova - Excuse My Reading
The period of history this book takes place and the events are interesting and in scandalous nature- I found out later after reading the book. I didn"t know British history so went into the book completely blind- and it was rather difficult to understand who is who- I felt like there were no introductions to the characters as if the writer assumed we should know who they are. So not surprisingly it became very confusing for me and I opened up Wikipedia and started reading and then things made se ...more
Umut Reviews
I read 20% of this book and although I really wanted to keep going to learn the story, I couldn't because of the writing style.
This is a story of the events that took place in court during King James I's reign. If you read the real history, it's really interesting and could be a good plot for a historical novel.
Sadly, I spent my time trying to decipher who's talking to whom, what happened to which character. All the narrative is like someone talking to another, it's not clear. It might be done
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Bookish Ally
Jun 29, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
There’s a common turn of phrase that states that you never really know someone. This book details this very idea.

The English kings court has always been a place of intrigue, of schemes, of the politics of life and death but in this literary exploration of the true story of the Earl & Countess of Somerset I experienced it at such intensity that it became very uncomfortable the closer to its end that we got.

To fully appreciate this story, set in the Jacobean court, one must look at the Howar
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Melanie (Mel's Bookland Adventures)
I have long been obsessed with the Howards and have read about them in various books over the years, and I had heard of infamous Frances Howard and the scandal that raged through the Jacobean court before picking up this book. It was essentially the reason to read this book. Now, I do think this is a very solid book and for fans of Phillipa Gregory and similar authors, this will be a fantastic read. I just wished I had not known the scandal and the outcome before reading this book, it spoilt it ...more
Michael Cayley
A generally well-researched novel in which chapters alternate between Robert Carr, favourite of James I, and Frances Howard his wife. It holds the reader’s attention. At the centre of it is the murder of Sir Thomas Overbury, who had almost certainly assisted Robert’s career and who helped Robert when he had senior ministerial office. Both Robert and Frances are accused of involvement.

This was a real life scandal, and the book sticks fairly closely to the facts, though it omits one of the key cau
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Cathy
Told in alternating chapters entitled ‘Him’ and ‘Her’, the book opens with the imprisonment in the Tower of the two main characters.  What follows is a series of flashbacks starting with the beginning of their relationship to their arrest and imprisonment.   It’s a story of friendship, betrayal, secrets, lies and, more than anything, obsessive love.  Based on a true event and featuring the actual historical figures, it is nevertheless a work of fiction and speculation on the part of the author a ...more
Margaret
In the 17th century, Sir Thomas Overbury dies in the Tower of London. Not an unusual occurence, you might think. This death was a little unusual in that two people were accused of his murder. Robert Carr, Earl of Somerset and his wife Lady Frances Howard, Countess of Somerset.

Robert Carr was a "favourite" of King James I. History has never been kind to that king and his predelictions towards good looking young men.

In "The Poison Bed" E. C. (Elizabeth) Fremantle makes an excellent attempt to expl
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Kate
What starts as a relatively straightforward albeit downright excellent historical novel about James I, his lover and his lover's wife, shifts about halfway through into a historical psychological novel. While I enjoyed the first half more than the second, this is an absorbing and at times engrossing look at the unusual court of James I. What a magnificent cover! Review to follow shortly on For Winter Nights.
Jane
Jul 20, 2018 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: england, library, reviewed
Author's interpretation of a scandal that rocked the court of James I, the murder of a nobleman and the possible involvement of a husband and wife. Told in alternating chapters "Him" and "Her" with events leading up to the murder and imprisonment of both in the Tower. Then, the denouement. The actual historical facts are still murky.
I did not like either of the main characters; that alone spoiled the book for me:
Robert Carr was presented as a complete milksop, utterly infatuated with his wife,
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Annette
During the reign of King James I, the Jacobean court was marked by a scandalous murder in 1613.

The book sets the story in 1615. Frances Howard, is an English noblewoman, and Robert Carr, is a favorite of the King. But there is someone else who stands in the way.

Both, Frances and Robert, get accused of murder. In alternating voices they reveal their own stories, which build up to the murder. Their voices weave through the court of intrigue, where allegiances fluctuate constantly, in this case be
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Jypsy
Jan 15, 2019 rated it really liked it
The Poison Bed by Elizabeth Fremantle is a mystery based in actual history. I've read other books by this author, and I always find them intriguing. This one was great. It's a good mystery, well written and based on historical facts. Lady Frances or Lord Robert? Who is responsible? Court intrigues and manipulations for power keep you guessing. I enjoyed the mystery and the time period. The characters are not always likeable, but they are interesting. If you love historical fiction based on facts ...more
Emma
Jun 18, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Based in on true events at the beginning of the 17th century in the Jacobean court of King James I. The Poison Bed revolves around Frances Howard and Robert Carr, who are accused of the poisoning and death of Sir Thomas Overvurg and are held in the tower awaiting their trial.

Each alternate chapter is from the perspective of either Frances or Robert, who tell their individual side of the story of how they met and what happened in the lead up to their incarceration. The novel has all the musts of
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Pheadra
Jun 14, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: pigeon-books
Many authors write historical novels and many even succeed in making it onto the best-seller list, but few, are as brilliantly executed as this thrilling story. In an interview, the author stated this book was inspired by a true story about a man poisoned in the Tower of London in 1613. A woman confessed to the crime and EC Freemantle became fascinated by this woman, her marriage, the scandalous divorce behind it and why she might have done such a thing.
Set in the Jacobean era, this tale highlig
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Leonie Byrne
Thank you to Netgalley, Elizabeth Fremantle and Penguin Michael Joseph for my ARC of The Poison Bed in exchange for an honest review.
Publication Date: 14th June 2018
This novel was seriously transfixing. I haven't read much about the Stuart's beyond Outlander which is obviously at a later period and based in Scotland. I've mostly read about the Tudors so it was really interesting first and foremost to delve into a part of history I don't know much about.Secondly, the characters were amazing. I r
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4cats
Mar 03, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: own
I'm not a huge historical reader (like Victorian crime), however The Poison Bed hooked me. With a dual narrative, seen from his and her side we follow the lives of Frances Howard and Robert Carr who have been imprisoned in the Tower of London, accused of murder.

A must for fans of Philippa Gregory, in fact I enjoyed this more than her novels (I've only read a couple and didn't think much of them).
Sherry
Jun 26, 2018 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
I loved Elizabeth Fremantle's Tudor books, but just couldn't get into this one. It might be okay if you like romance of the "will they/won't they" variety. Sorry to say that I abandoned the novel about 1/3 way through.
Renita D'Silva
Jan 12, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Brilliant and very dark.
Zoe
Thanks Penguin UK - Michael Joseph and netgalley for this ARC.

Fremantle gives us a real historical tale that will have you on your toes with suspense, awe, and you won't know if you should feel compassion or hatred at their daring.
Juliet Bookliterati
The Poison Bed is based on true events from the early seventeenth century and tells the story of Frances Howard and Robert Carr, the Count and Countess of Somerset, and the accusation of murder against them.  Each chapter is simply titled Him or Her as we read their differing stories from how they met until the murder accusation and the consequences  from that event.

The Jacobean Court of James I has so much intrigue and machinations that lends itself to brilliant historical fiction.  The Poison
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Vanessa Wild
Jun 14, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
A gripping historical thriller set in the Jacobean court based on a true story. It’s a fabulous tale of murder, witchcraft, secrets, betrayal and deception.

It’s beautifully written, well paced and full of intrigue. There are some amazing and colourful characters, one or two of whom are not as they seem and are easy to hate! Be warned! There are plenty of twists and turns and it had me on the edge of my seat with suspense. It’s an absolute page turner.

An exciting and and captivating story which
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Olive Sparrow
Feb 23, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I felt fairly confident throughout the novel that I knew what was coming although this did not diminish my enjoyment of it. Then, just over half way, it took an unexpected turn. Lulled once more into a false sense of security, it got me again in the last few chapters. The story is told from the alternating perspectives of the couple suspected of murder, although one is third person and the other first. This was a clever choice and worked very nicely.

It was thoroughly enjoyable and I'd recommend
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Karen Mace
I listened to the audio version of this and have to give thanks to the wonderful narrators - Ross Anderson and Perdita Weeks - for bringing this dramatic story to life and giving an extra depth to the story with the way they portray 'him' and 'her'.

The him and her are Robert Carr and Frances Howard, both pivotal characters at the heart of the court of James I and this story brilliantly captures a troubling and scandalous time in British history. They are accused of poisoning Lord Thomas Overbury
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Ronnie Turner
Jul 11, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
It is 1615. Lady Frances Carr is taken into custody for murder and awaits her trail, imprisoned in The Tower with her newborn baby and a wet-nurse. Considered a witch by most, a sly temptress who liaises with the devil himself, Frances was once admired and adored by all, her profound beauty and great wealth and status drawing people to her. As Frances recounts her life with an abusive first husband, a manipulative uncle and the events leading up to her arrest, the layers of her story peel back t ...more
Kimberly Thompson
As a fan of historical fiction, I absolutely loved this book. As I usually read Tudor fiction, I was a bit worried that I wouldn't enjoy it but I actually couldn't put it down. I loved finding out about a period of history that I knew nothing about. Even if you are not a fan of historical fiction, I think you would still enjoy this book. It was so well written and the characters of Frances Howard and Robert Carr were developed brilliantly with a twist in the middle which turns everything you tho ...more
Tabatha Stirling
Jun 05, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I did enjoy this but the ending, which could have been so delicious was a little rushed. Frances who has been reduced to an amoral creature by the Howards, but in particular by her monstrous, inappropriate Great Uncle has squashed any kindness or empathy out of her character, in order to carry out her families wishes. Her beauty. and wiles are so great that she manages to seduce Robert Carr - James 1st's lover and favourite and possibly, James himself.

The novel is very well researched and the fi
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OutlawPoet
The Poison Bed gets an okay from me.

The historical accuracy is…fleeting at best. I found myself confused time and again when it came to the ‘history’ of this historical piece. Finally, I allowed myself to simply forget history and enjoy the drama.

And I largely did enjoy the drama. The dual narratives didn’t quite work for me, and I liked one of our main characters far more than the other, but I still found myself enmeshed in palace intrigue, foul murders, and genuinely bad behavior.

The book is l
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Ancient & Medieva...: JULY 2018: THE POISON BED by E.C. Fremantle 20 66 Jul 20, 2018 07:40AM  
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