Kristin's Reviews > Lady of the English

Lady of the English by Elizabeth Chadwick
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's review
Sep 08, 2011

liked it
bookshelves: historical-fiction, brit-fic, read-in-2011, reviewed
Read from September 08 to 11, 2011

I love any book about Matilda, and this one was good but also frustrating. I liked the writing, I liked some of Matilda's inner monologues, and I liked some of the descriptions and many of the secondary characters. However, it seemed like people and relationships were sometimes characterized well and sometimes badly. Sometimes it was a sliding scale. For example, Matilda and Geoffrey's relationship, arguably the most important of the book, is very well drawn in the early stages but hardly described at all in later stages. Stephen, the great adversary, merits some bare descriptions in the beginning before becoming almost a nonentity. The same is often true of events. Matilda's return from Germany to England at the onset is very well written, but her final disappointing retreat from England to France feels detached (when it should be very emotional). I really loved the incorporation of Adeliza's story, because I've never seen her mentioned in the fiction I've read about Matilda. (Again, on the other hand, she was not quite as prominent as the taglines and press would have you believe.)

I guess the overall verdict is that this is decent historical fiction, neither bad nor great, and it varies a lot between its covers.
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Reading Progress

09/08/2011 "I've been wanting to read a book by Elizabeth Chadwick and I love anything about Empress Matilda. I'm so excited!!!"

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