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119 of 122 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A brilliant biographical novel
The fascinating life of Queen Isabella of France and her marriage to England's King Edward II is spectacularly portrayed in N. Gemini Sasson's newest novel, Isabeau. This riveting story sweeps the reader into the turbulence of 14th century England, Scotland, and France with passion and detailed historical fact.

From the earliest days of her marriage to Edward,...
Published on October 15, 2010 by Great Historicals

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9 of 10 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Still don't like Isabella and Mortimer.
I am maybe the only one here, but everytime I read about the relationship between Queen Isabella and Roger Mortimer there is one person I can't help thinking about and feel sorry for. That is Mortimer's wife, Joan. There has not been much written about her, and I always wonder what she felt about and her reaction towards her husband's relationship with the Queen. I...
Published 8 months ago by FavAR


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119 of 122 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A brilliant biographical novel, October 15, 2010
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This review is from: Isabeau, a Novel of Queen Isabella and Sir Roger Mortimer (Paperback)
The fascinating life of Queen Isabella of France and her marriage to England's King Edward II is spectacularly portrayed in N. Gemini Sasson's newest novel, Isabeau. This riveting story sweeps the reader into the turbulence of 14th century England, Scotland, and France with passion and detailed historical fact.

From the earliest days of her marriage to Edward, Isabeau learns she must compete for her husband's attentions. Piers Gaveston is her husband's favourite, his lover; a peacock of a man whom Edward showers with gifts of vast wealth. Edward's incompetence on the throne of England is evident to everyone. His apparent attentions to Piers angers politicians and leaders. As the misguided Edwards errs in his political judgements, Isabeau attempts to guide her husband. Not only beautiful, but highly intelligent with sharp diplomatic skills, Isabeau attempts to influence Edward's decisions to keep tensions both within and outside of England to a minimum, but it proves to be a daunting task.

Edward, however, is not so easily influenced and as time passes, matters worsen for him. His unpopularity reaches new heights. The attentions he lavishes upon Piers Gaveston ires his countrymen and soon Piers is executed. Isabeau is hopeful that perhaps now, her husband will turn his attentions back to her. It was not to be. Before long, she learns her husband has taken a new lover - Hugh Despenser, a dangerous, ambitious man who will stop at nothing to wield his influence and destroy Isabeau whom he sees as his enemy.

Isabeau's plight increases as Hugh Despenser manipulates Edward's every action. Isabeau finds herself separated by her children and sent to France to negotiate on her husband's behalf. It is in France that she reunites with Sir Roger Mortimer, a man she saved from the Tower several years earlier. Unable to deny their love for each other, the two enter into a dangerous liaison that will take them back to the shores of England where Isabelle leads an army to recapture the country on behalf of her son, Edward III.

From start to finish, the novel, Isabeau, kept me turning its pages. Lulled by the beautiful prose and stunning descriptions, N. Gemini Sasson breathed life into the woman known as the She-Wolf and portrayed her with sensitivity and great humanity. As I made my way through the story, I was impressed by Sasson's descriptions of people and places. Every detail of every scene was written with clarity, activating all the reader's senses. The novel spans nearly twenty years of her life and includes numerous characters of the era. The fact that the author has spent years researching English and Scottish history during this time is evident. For anyone who loves European history or biographical novels about influential women of days of yore, you must read this novel. It will bring you hours of reading pleasure. I guarantee it.
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51 of 54 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars An Engrossing Read, December 6, 2010
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I'm very familiar with the story of Edward II, Queen Isabella and Roger Mortimer. Because of that, it takes a lot to keep me interested, and this novel definitely kept me interested. Ms. Sasson did her research and it shows.

My only disappointment was that the story was not taken to it's tragic ending. I can understand why the author chose to end it where she did. It leaves the possibility open of a happy ending, even though I and most likely many others know what happened a few short years later.

If you're a fan of historical fiction like I am, this book is well worth reading.
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38 of 42 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Great Author & Good Read, March 17, 2011
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Unfortunately, for me, it would have been good to read the Bruce Trilogy first. Isabeau is more of a follow-up to it... or possibly after reading the first two. (Just finished I & II of that & can't wait for III to be ready!)

I've been on a 10-12th century reading kick and this helped round out the characters I've been reading about. Nice to read this time period from different authors' perspective and from the different 'players in history's' perspective.

A very interesting book to read. Love scenes but not so detailed that it makes you blush!

I look forward to other books from this author and recommend reading it.
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11 of 12 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Wonderful book by an Amazing Author!, May 30, 2011
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This review is from: Isabeau, a Novel of Queen Isabella and Sir Roger Mortimer (Paperback)
Coming across author N. Gemini Sasson is one of the best discoveries I've made on Amazon.com. I was browsing through my recommendations on Amazon around two months ago, and I happened across her Trilogy on Robert the Bruce. I hadn't read very much about him, and the Kindle edition price was incredibly cheap ($2.99), so I bought the first book in the trilogy, THE CROWN IN THE HEATHER, read it in less than two days and became completely hooked. I finished the first two novels in the trilogy in less than a week, and then discovered that the third novel in the Bruce trilogy hasn't quite been completed yet, so I bought ISABEAU knowing that I would love it because Sasson was the author!

I was right, I adored it! Throughout history Isabel of France and Sir Roger Mortimer have been given a bad rap. She's known as a "she-wolf" who cheated on her husband and stole his crown, and Mortimer is known as a devil who wanted to usurp England's crown, and who ran the country through Isabel's son, Edward III, until he finally smartened up and got rid of Mortimer. People never get Isabel or Roger's story, because it's always so biased and one sided. Yes, I'm sure Isabel wasn't the perfect wife, but heck, King Edward II was a horrible husband and a horrible King! He only cared about his current favorites, and his concern was not for his country or his wife, but for the men he was in love with!

Sir Roger Mortimer started off as a loyal follower of the king, but he began to see the true side of the king, and realized that he wasn't worth following anymore, so Mortimer joined in a rebellion against him. Mortimer was lucky to keep his head, and escaped to France after some time spent in The Tower. After Isabel is sent to France to make peace at King Edward II's command, Isabel and Roger Mortimer reconnect and they end up falling in love. Mortimer knows what Isabel has gone through as a wife to Edward II, and he also sees what a beautiful and strong woman she is. As a team they plot to overthrow Edward II, and put the king's son Edward III on the throne. At first working together seems to bring Isabel and Mortimer closer together, but toward the end of the novel you can begin to see the cracks in the love beginning. Mortimer wants to be the man in the relationship, and make all the big decisions without Isabel's help. However, Isabel is a Princess of France and the Queen of England, and she is aware of her power, and wants to use it. Mortimer loves her as a woman, but it's hard for him to back down and listen to her as a Queen. Several times he angers her in public by not listening to her as a Queen, and trying to tell her what to do. It's obvious that Isabel is not going to continue to put up with his less than reverent treatment of her.

I enjoyed getting to know Isabel and Roger as two people in love, rather than as the two power hungry traitors they are usually described as. I also like that this book ends with hope. We obviously know what ends up happening to Roger Mortimer, and we also know that the remainder of Isabel's life isn't all smiles and butterflies, but at least at the end of this book the reader is able to imagine that things do work out for them, and that love endures. I always love a happy ending, and in historical fiction it's often hard to give reader that happy ending, because, well, there wasn't a happy ending! So, although things didn't turn out so well for the love of Isabel and Roger, at least in this fascinating novel there is hope for their future.

I give this book 5 out of 5 stars!
I can't imagine N. Gemini Sasson writing a novel that I wouldn't give five stars. Anyone who is a fan of historical fiction needs to check out her novels.

Check out my blog for other reviews!
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9 of 10 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Still don't like Isabella and Mortimer., January 7, 2014
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I am maybe the only one here, but everytime I read about the relationship between Queen Isabella and Roger Mortimer there is one person I can't help thinking about and feel sorry for. That is Mortimer's wife, Joan. There has not been much written about her, and I always wonder what she felt about and her reaction towards her husband's relationship with the Queen. I understand there is very little historical record about her. However in this book the author does attempt to write something about Joan if only to justify Mortimer's infidelity. She is portrayed as a complaining and an indifferent wife. Complaining?, but yes, what wife would not complain when her husband was rarely home. And that when he was, only long enough to bed her and put another child in her belly. Some of his 12 children did not even know him that well. Indifferent? but would an indifferent wife complain if her husband was rarely at home? I thought she should have been rejoicing. Would an indifferent wife take care of her husband's needs, house, properties and his children as efficiently as she is portrayed in this book? The book also suggests that Joan had never loved her husband. This is hard to believe. If a beautiful Queen like Isabella (a Queen!!)could fall madly in love with Mortimer how could a woman like Joan who had been married to him since he was 19 and given him 12 children and always anxious for him to be home did not love him? While there is not much mention in history about her, one thing we know for sure is that she and her children had suffered when Mortimer fell from grace. In other words she had shared his downfall but neglected in his glory. It is also recorded that she'd asked for his gruesome remains, so she could bury him at their home. I see this as her last act of love. At last she had him at home with her. So no matter how Isabella and Roger Mortimer's relationship is portrayed here , just like the others, this book fails to convince me to like either of them.
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6 of 7 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars On the spot of history, April 7, 2013
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In the beginning, I was a bit jarred by the use of the first person point of view for the Queen and Sir Roger Mortimer, but it works in the story. The novel opens with Isabella's ill-fated marriage to Edward II. We watch as she seethes under relentless neglect and mistreatment, while Edward attends to his favorites. Edward's misrule leads to widespread discontent in the kingdom, enabling the Queen and her consort, Sir Roger Mortimer, to gather allies and depose him. Queen Isabella refers to him as my "gentle Mortimer," which is a bit surprising in light of some of his actions. I enjoyed the story and the descriptions of the landscape and surroundings place the reader directly in the spot of the action. The book is part of a series about this period in England's history. It aroused a hunger in me to learn more about this era, but I think I would rather read the real history than slogging through another volume.
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6 of 7 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Glad I discovered this author..., May 20, 2011
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L. Johnson (Pacific Northwest) - See all my reviews
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This book reminds me of earlier Phillipa Gregory novels. The plot was fast-paced, so much so that I didn't realize that it was such a long book until I finished it on my Kindle. The characters were compelling and likable, without being too perfect. The massive amount of research done by the author clearly shows in the finer details of this book. Read it and enjoy!
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars A steady read, January 19, 2012
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This review is from: Isabeau, a Novel of Queen Isabella and Sir Roger Mortimer (Paperback)
This was a good book. I think that if the reader were not familiar with the characters and time period and just picked it up, it would take a while to catch on to the story. This novel was more about Isabella and Mortimer (as the title states) and less about the politics. Isabella is clever, but mostly ruled by emotion. I thought Mortimer was something of a brute, but the sort of brute that mostly had his country's good at heart, but I wonder if his need for revenge and the country's good didn't go hand in hand which goal he would have chosen to pursue? The good of England, or his revenge? It was a good, steady read and it ends off where the next book will begin. I will definitely pick up the continuation when it is published in 2012.
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5 of 6 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Unexpected surprise., March 5, 2011
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I'm not a historical fiction reader and I have no idea why I picked this book up but I'm really glad I did. I thought this was a super read. What a wonderful surprise, I couldn't put it down. I liked it so much that when I finished it I purchase the authors other series. That is my highest compliment to an author, to want to read more of their work.
I did think the book ended strangely, the story just stopped. I hope the author plans a second book, since there is so much story left to tell about Isabella and Sir Robert.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Enjoyed Every Page, July 11, 2014
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I had read the Bruce trilogy so I expected to be entertained by Sasson again. And I was. The main characters were well developed and revealed the struggles of both Isabella and Mortimer. I liked the balance of kingdom politics, battles and romance. If you are squeamish, some bloody descriptions are included. But these were cruel times which can't be ignored. Fortunately the descriptions were not drawn out and never dominated the story telling, thus easy to skim of you preferred.

It consistently maintained my interest chapter after chapter, so I recommend it if you enjoy historical fiction..
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Isabeau, a Novel of Queen Isabella and Sir Roger Mortimer
Isabeau, a Novel of Queen Isabella and Sir Roger Mortimer by N Gemini Sasson (Paperback - September 7, 2010)
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