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The People's Queen

3.49  ·  Rating details ·  639 Ratings  ·  66 Reviews
Set in late fourteenth century England, Vanora Bennett's rich, dramatic new novel presents an England uncannily like our own. The country is in turmoil, The King is in debt to the City, and the old order had broken down - a time of opportunity indeed, for those who can seize the moment.

The king's mistress, Alice Perrers, becomes the virtual ruler of the country from his s
Paperback, 534 pages
Published August 5th 2010 by Harper Collins Publishers LTD
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Jun 27, 2010 rated it really liked it
Entertaining and different look at Alice Perrers, mistress to Edward III. The novel is also extensively about Geoffrey Chaucer and his life and Alice's intertwine to a strong degree. Indeed, the author wonders in her note if Chaucer's Wife of Bath is based on Alice P. This was a fascinating look into the fourteenth century and the down and dirty dealings of the London Merchant community at the time of the Peasant's Revolt. Alice herself is an interesting three-dimensional Essex girl. A combinati ...more
I'm very glad I didn't let the cover put me off reading this book. (I’m with those reviewers who think the model appears to be examining her train for doggy doo). The cover also gives a false impression of the book, suggesting that it is women’s historical fiction in the Philippa Gregory mould, whereas it is actually much closer to the Wolf Hall end of the spectrum.

The ‘Queen’ of the title is Alice Perrers, mistress to the ageing Edward III. It’s established fairly early on that the people hate
Rio (Lynne)
As much as I tried....I'm yielding at page 90. I really wanted to like and read this. Few book are out there about Chaucer, London Merchant Trade and the Peasant's Revolt. This is my second Bennett "did not finish" her writing style is blah blah.......blah. Such a shame, because this is a fascinating subject.
Mar 08, 2013 rated it it was ok
It's hard to explain why I struggled with this book. The historical period is interesting, Alice Perrers is a good base for a story, but this is very hard going. There is so much description of how the characters are feeling, so very little conversation. A lot of dry background and not much to get you emphasising with the characters. I got sick of the phrase, 'It's only then'. It's only then that he/she thinks/feels/realises/understands. If you'd like to read a historical fiction based on Alice ...more
Jennifer (JC-S)
Jan 04, 2013 rated it really liked it
Shelves: librarybooks
‘She’s never been one for yesterdays.’

Alice Perrers, the ‘Queen’ of this title is mistress to the ageing English King Edward III. In this novel, she is portrayed as being one of the people – a peasant – who has risen to great heights and made many enemies along the way. After a prologue set during the Black Death, the novel proper opens, with Alice at the height of her powers – fully atop the Wheel of Fortune. Where to from here?

Alice is beginning to realise that she needs to secure her future:
Steven Peterson
May 05, 2013 rated it it was amazing
Alice Perrers. . . Who was she? Ugly or pretty? Grasping and without conscience or considerate of others? A mistress of royalty who only used her status for se3lf advancement? Or. . . .? There is not so much know about her life, making it difficult to speak in much detail about her. Oddly, in this novel, she works at counterpoint with John of Gaunt's mistress (and later wife), Katherine Swynford--about whom rather little is known. In this novel, Swynford is portrayed as rather nasty (I have read ...more
Not engaging. I let the book rest for a while to see if it would grab my attention back, if the lust and need to read and finish it would come. But it didn't.

Cold, unpersonal writing style. I didn't care at all what happened or about the characters. I didn't like all the () with the extra information, but it seemed that she was well knowledgeable at least (?).

Might give it a go another time, we'll see.
Apr 23, 2013 rated it liked it
It was interesting reading about Alice Perres, not much is written about her in historical fiction. The book however moved at a slow pace and at times I lost interest in the story. Chaucer is another figure that you often hear about but don't know much about the man himself. The story line was good but at times you kept waiting for the author to get to the point.
I tried, I really did...

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Every so often you read a book that you find hard to rate, and The People's Queen for me is one such book. I found the beginning uninspiring and it took me a few days to get into the book. About half way through though, I found the novel becoming more and more involving.

The novel tells the story of Alice Perrers, mistress of King Edward III, and her fall from power. Along the way we meet a host of other characters from history such as Wat Tyler and the de Roet sisters. Any book giving Chaucer a
Aug 24, 2010 rated it really liked it
Well I had a kind of love-hate relationship with this book. The plot was very interesting, the historical background fascinating and the characters well rounded but there was something about the style that bugged me. First of all, I don't like present tense narration much. And the syntax is a bit on the simplistic side, resulting in a kind of "staccato rhythm". And finally the author was too present telling the reader how to judge a certain event rather than letting the characters speak for them ...more
It is supposed to be based in truth but there are a lot of assumptions made that are too wild. One or two I could except but not this many.
And who is the people's queen? It can't be Alice. In her own time she wasn't loved and she would never have gotten this title. Also the style of writing was not something that appealed to me.
Judy Lawn
Dec 15, 2012 rated it it was amazing
The People's Queen is a wonderful story - epic and powerful - full of wonderful characters brought vividly to life against an enthralling backdrop of fourteenth century England. Alice Perrers is a unique heroine; she suffers, she loves, but always remains true to her self.
Chaucer was an intriguing hero.
I had not read anything from this era before and loved the story.
Highly recommended.
Apr 11, 2011 rated it did not like it
I have never liked books that were written in the present tense, and this one is no exception. Combine that with an unlikeable, self-centred and greedy heroine, a nondescript hero (Geoffrey Chaucer is one of the greats of English literture, yet this book makes him seem like a total nonentity), and you don't have a good book.
Aug 04, 2013 rated it it was ok
Shelves: read-2013
A fascinating time period, but the main character Alice was completely unlikable and I lost interest in the story rather quickly...
Jun 02, 2017 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
While it was a decent read most of the time, once things got started, I did not really enjoy myself. It was just a book about someone's rise and fall in a historically significant way, and that person wasn't very sympathetic - I only wanted Alice to succeed because I didn't want the others to.

The start of the novel was distracting in the sense that while it related to the main character I could've done without it (or at least have it told in flashbacks) because that felt like the start of everyt
The People's Queen is far from your average royal mistress story, and Alice Perrers is unlike any royal mistress I've read about before. Business-savy, independent, and power hungry, she rides fortune's wheel for all it's worth.

The novel focuses on Alice's fall from the heights of power, even as her friendship with Chaucer deepens and discontent builds among the common people, eventually boiling over into violence.

At well over 500 pages, The People's Queen is not a particularly fast read. Even s
Mar 24, 2014 rated it liked it
An interesting read, 3.5 rating, where the characters are based on real historical figures of the 14th century. It starts off slow, a bit boring, but it'll get better the more you read. A how-to-survive guide to 14th century living. Also on certain aspects of 14th century life such as the widespread of corruption, power struggles and skirmishes over the throne, and also marriages back during those times. However, when I picked up this book, I did have some expectations of that particular century ...more
I borrowed this book from my Mum a while ago and it has sat on my bookshelf unread for about 2 years. Having read another of Bennett's books, I thought I'd give this one a go over the Easter holidays. The book is about Alice Perrers, mistress of King Edward III back in the 1300s. It is a time I don't know a lot about and I have to say after this book I probably won't be investigating much further.

There is a huge and confusing range of characters and the book is quite difficult to read. Even at t
May 14, 2011 rated it it was ok
I'm assuming that The People's Queen of the title is Alice Perrers, one time mistress of Edward III and the main narrative character of the novel, but even having finished the book I can't really see how this title fits; Alice isn't a woman who goes out of her way to make friends with people, but is certainly a woman with plenty of enemies! She's thoroughly disliked by nobels and commoners alike.

Usually with a major character you expect that the author will present them in such a way that you en
Dec 13, 2013 rated it did not like it
Shelves: could-not-finish
I tried to finish this book but I was unable to get through it. Surprisingly it took 20 pages to realize what was bugging me; it was the writing style. I read the first 101 pages and I just could not ignore it. My main problems were tenses, the author could not decide what tense she wanted to write in; past or present. It was really frustrating because she would start a paragraph off using present and by the end of the paragraph she was writing in past tense. Also, she wrote in third person. For ...more
Jul 03, 2014 rated it it was amazing
I had read "The Queen's Lover" by the same author earlier and although I prefer buying my books on Kindle now I decided to buy this in paperback because that was the only option (there may have been an audiobook). I'm so glad I did. Most books about Alice Perrers portray her very negatively. (The other book I've read was The King's Concubine... by Anne O'Brien.) Was this because she was a woman taking power and land in a man's world? I think so yes. Much has been said about women in history taki ...more
Apr 26, 2016 rated it really liked it
Isolated a number of themes running through the narrative.
The futility of vengeance
Human greed and avarice
Oppression resulting in turbulence, destruction & death
The power of love as embodied in Geoffrey Chaucer. I believe that he is the true hero.
Be careful what you wish for
The perils of going too far and not knowing when to stop.
At the end of the novel, Alice Perrers, mistress of Edward 111 in his later years, recognises the error of her ways. Previously she has grabbed life with both hand
Dec 14, 2014 rated it liked it
On the whole I'm glad I picked up The Queen's People from my library, but it is not likely that I will ever reread it or add it to my personal collection.

I enjoyed the book; the tale is quite a drama (and would make an excellent BBC show), all of the characters had sufficient depth, and the protagonists Alice and Chaucer were interesting.

At a certain point in the book Alice makes a certain move that steps over the line and I swore I heard (with delighted anticipation) the groan of the wheel tur
May 17, 2012 rated it liked it
As a period book it goes well into the politics and financial situation at the time.

The main characters are given great conversation and thought and are described in a normal way, not pouring with beauty and grace.

I dont really know how to describe this book because its has romance, drama, suspense and politics. A little bit of everything.

I can say that it is long winded at times and I had a really hard time reading through some of the chapters. It was a few times that I had to put the book d
Kiera Healy
Aug 09, 2013 rated it really liked it
According to the blurb, "Vanora Bennett's rich, dramatic new novel presents an England uncannily like our own". I actually laughed out loud at this: this novel is about issues like plague, the Peasants' Revolt, and various princes scuffling for the throne...not exactly Prince Harry in a Nazi uniform.

The title and the cover are a bit off-putting, and indeed the title made me think this was going to be some dreadful Diana nonsense, but it's actually a decent novel, in the same vein as Mantel's Wol
Sep 25, 2013 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: late-middle-ages
Told in the present tense - this is exciting and fast paced at first, but I found it started to get tiring about half way through the novel.

The period and the subject of the story is of great interest to me, so I found the portrayal of various historical characters and situations fascinating.

My main gripes would be:

Alice is the only character really under threat - the other viewpoint characters have niggles, but no major problems - therefore the tension ebbs and flows through the book.

A lot of t
Apr 30, 2015 rated it did not like it
I like Vanora Bennett. I thought her book about Catherine de Valois and Owen Tudor was great. This one, however, was not her best.

Although well written, the characters themselves were largely not compelling and not complex. They were broadly selfish (perhaps except Chaucer), and there was nothing particularly distinguishing or interesting about any of them. Most annoyingly the story was just too convenient – the fact that Alice knew both Chaucer and Wat Tyler and was really involved with the Pea
Oct 02, 2012 rated it liked it
I found this book interesting as, although fiction, it drew on the stories of real people. The efforts of Alice Perrers, to pull herself from the bottom of society to sit at the side of Edward lll, on the one hand are admirable while her lack of concern for anyone other than herself (including her children) is something with which it is hard to have sympathy. However, it is not feasible to make judgements of people's behaviour hundreds of years later. I can say that I found it difficult to engag ...more
Francesca Scanlan
Apr 13, 2015 rated it really liked it
I enjoyed this book quite a lot, as it was interesting, and painted a wonderfully vibrant picture of the Era it was set in. Also, the characters were very well written with a lot of good ol' character development going on- especially with the titular character Alice. It took me a while to read as A) this was a 'proper' historical novel, with incredibly dense and detailed text, which required a good amount of concentration to read, and B) I was very busy, and so had many nights of just not having ...more
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Sinopsis en Español // Synopsis in Spanish 1 1 Feb 16, 2015 11:38AM  
  • Harlot Queen
  • I Serve: A Novel of the Black Prince
  • The Goldsmith's Wife
  • Treason
  • Isabella and the Strange Death of Edward II
  • Queen Defiant: A Novel of Eleanor of Aquitaine
  • Within the Fetterlock
  • Isabeau: A Novel of Queen Isabella and Sir Roger Mortimer (The Isabella Books, #1)
  • The King's Daughter
  • The King's Mistress
  • Within the Hollow Crown: A Reluctant King, a Desperate Nation, and the Most Misunderstood Reign in History
  • Hugh and Bess: A Love Story
  • The Seventh Son
  • The Lute Player
  • The White Boar (Lovell Duo, #1)
  • The First Princess of Wales
  • Lady of the Roses: A Novel of the Wars of the Roses
  • The King's Grey Mare
I became a journalist almost by accident. Having learned Russian and been hired after university by Reuters (to my own surprise and the slight dismay of traditionally-minded editors who weren’t sure a Guardian-reading blonde female would be tough enough for the job), I was then catapulted into the adrenaline-charged realm of conflict reporting. While on a trainee assignment in Paris, I fell in wit ...more
More about Vanora Bennett...
“Alice knows those stories. The routiers and condottieri of the Free Companies, who fight the wars of whichever prince will pay their fees, and amuse themselves in between times, are said to commit every kind of crime: from eating meat in Lent to slitting open pregnant women to kill their unborn and unbaptised children. The countryside of the southern lands is supposed to be full of their victims: a sea of vagabonds - priests without parishes; destitute peasants; artisans looking for work. ‘So you’, Alice says, ‘were one of the famous sons of iniquity…’ The Pope calls them that when they rob churches. But the Pope also uses them regularly. Alice knows she sounds a little breathless. She can’t altogether keep the admiration out of her voice. If she’d been a man, she thinks, she might have done exactly the same thing as Wat, to better herself fast.” 1 likes
“Alice must already have known, even back then, when she first saw Fortune, when she was, what, nine or ten, that she would try and hitch a lift on the wheel, too, as soon as she possibly could. She must already have been thinking out how. But she couldn't have guessed how soon her chance would come.” 1 likes
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