Yvonne's Reviews > The Traitor's Wife: A Novel of the Reign of Edward II

The Traitor's Wife by Susan Higginbotham
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's review
Mar 07, 2011

did not like it
bookshelves: historical-fiction

Perhaps I was prejudiced against this book from the beginning. Some history books are a good read because they read like a novel. This book was a terrible read because it reads like not very good history. It was long, tedious and difficult to follow. There were so many characters with similar names and titles that it was difficult to keep them straight. The middle section was full of so much gratuitous violence that decided to just skip to the end.

It is clear that the author did do considerable research. However it seems unlikely that she was able to dig very deeply into anything as records from that time period are scarce. Additionally many of the things she presents as facts are really rumors circulated centuries after the fact. It is no secret that Edward II was not a good king and that he didn't get along well with his nobles. But the reasons for his weakness in dealing with them is probably not the one given in this book. Since it is fiction after all I suppose that doesn't matter.

One of the things that aggravate me the most was that the men were one dimensional in their relationships with the women in the story. All the male characters called their women "my love". I hoped for something different. The book paints a particularly ugly picture of royalty and life at court in the fourteenth century. I prefer a real history to this awful made up drivel any day.

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