Fourteenth-Century (and Late Thirteenth-Century) England

Will The Cup of Ghosts Be Your Cup of Tea?

I’m not generally a fan of mysteries, except for those of P. D. James, but if it’s about Edward II, I’ll buy it, so naturally I eagerly awaited The Cup of Ghosts by the amazingly prolific Paul Doherty (not only does he manage two or three novels a year, he’s a school headmaster). It’s the …

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Happy 700th Anniversary . . .

To Hugh le Despenser the younger and Eleanor de Clare (heroine of my favorite historical novel), married on May 26, 1306. Edward I, Eleanor’s grandfather, paid for the minstrels for the wedding, which took place at the king’s chapel at Westminster. (This information comes from a thesis by Richard Rastall, available online here.) According to …

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A Disappointing Look at a Controversial Queen

Thanks to Alianor, who sent me a photocopy, I just finished Alianor by Maureen Peters. (It’s not every day you get to write a sentence like that.) This is a 1984 historical novel about Eleanor of Provence, Henry III’s queen. It’s easier to find in the UK than in the US, apparently, but whether it’s …

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Please Stop Dissing Eleanor de Clare’s Mum

As today is Mother’s Day, I couldn’t resist posting about Joan of Acre, mother of the heroine of The Traitor’s Wife, Eleanor de Clare. Joan’s taken some hard knocks at the hands of novelists lately, and this is a Mother’s Day plea on the poor lady’s behalf. The most detailed account of Joan’s life that …

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Isabella of France Gets Tagged

Isabella of France was tagged by Alianore and Gabriele Campbell for the “Me Too” meme. (There was some talk about Hugh le Despenser the younger joining in, but he was too busy relieving widows of their unwanted lands to join in right away. Isn’t it sweet of him to take on that responsibility for them?) …

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A Refreshing Look at a King’s Favorite

I finished The Lord of Misrule by Eve Trevaskis today, about Edward II and Piers Gaveston, told in the third person mainly from the viewpoint of Gaveston. I can’t add much to Sarah Johnson’s recent review of it except to point out that I found it historically accurate and carefully researched, the more so because …

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