The privileged daughter of one of the most powerful men in England, Mahelt Marshal's life changes dramatically when her father is suspected of treachery by King John. Her brothers become hostages, and Mahelt is married to Hugh Bigod, heir to the earldom of Norfolk.
Adapting to her new life is hard, but Mahelt comes to love Hugh deeply; however, defying her father-in-law brings disgrace and heartbreak. When King John sets out to subdue the Bigods, Mahelt faces a heart-breaking battle, fearing neither she, nor her marriage, is likely to survive the outcome....
©2010 Soundings (P)2010 Elizabeth Chadwick
I enjoy reading and listening to Elizabeth Chadwick's novels. However, regardless of how good a story is when it comes to an audiobook the narrator is a make or break issue for me. I have listened to other audiobooks narrated by this reader, though these have generally been either definitely smack bang in the middle of the 'chick lit' genre or orbiting it. Her voice seems (to me) appropriate for those genres. I would not put Chadwick's novels in the category of 'chick lit' just because she has prominent female characters. Everything about this readers 'voice' is, for me, totally wrong for this particular book. I will admit to a bit of a prejudice where female narrators are concerned - I have many favourite male readers, but very few female. As an avid listener of audiobooks I have come to the conclusion that if the narrator's voice (particularly idiosyncratic vocal habits) draws your attention more than the actual story you are not going to have an enjoyable listening experience. Just glad I borrowed the audiobook from library rather than used up my credits. Not one of Chadwick's best (IMO) but still an enjoyable read.
The book was quite slow in the beginning with a lot of unnecessary info which made it a little boring but after awhile the story kicks in and it's not just about Mahelt and Hugh, we see the nasty King John at his best and the wider picture if events of that time make for a more rounded and enjoyable book. Lots of repeated words like 'compressed lips' and 'frisson' which appeared several times and I felt sometimes that Mahelt was too imperious, but she was William Marshall's daughter so I suppose this could have been in keeping with her history. All in all another enjoyable read from the pen of Ms Chadwick, who certainly knows her stuff.
So well researched and full of historical detail. A very enjoyable listen taking The Marshall's story on another generation.
This is by far the best of the William Marshal series. The way Elizabeth Chadwick tells the story of Mahelt Marshal enables her to become real, to simply step off the pages and begin telling you her life, her loves and her challenges. I rarely give a book 5 stars, but this one got it unhesitatingly. At the conclusion of the story I simply smiled and thought, what a wonderful book. Yes, Ms. Chadwick has become one of my favorite authors.
"Fabulous story, annoying narration"
No, because the narration, I felt, detracted from the story.
It was the irritating voices the narrator felt she had to put to the characters...Mahelt was all high and little girly and Hugh and the other men, a gruff "woman pretending to be a man" voice. Very distracting!
The powerful relationship between Hugh and Mahelt really carried the story.
"Excellent Story. Well told."
This is a good story and was well told. It kept my attention and did not violate the known facts of the life of William Marshall.
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