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Product Details

  • Paperback: 544 pages
  • Publisher: Sourcebooks Landmark; Original edition (September 1, 2011)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1402250924
  • ISBN-13: 978-1402250927
  • Product Dimensions: 8 x 5.3 x 1.5 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.2 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (139 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #158,941 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews


""Breathing life into historical personages is hallmark Chadwick... a feast for the senses." 4 ½ Stars, Top Pick of the Month " - RT Book Reviews

"I have always enjoyed Elizabeth Chadwick's books since I opened my first one. Her characters live and breathe and leap out
of the pages in much the same way as newspapers recount the lives of the people of today: we know them, we see them on our television screens and cannot doubt their existence, and so it is with Elizabeth Chadwick's characters. Even the totally fictitious ones who provide a link to events are as real as the historical characters they support. The author's previous novel, To Defy a King, won the 2011 RNA Historical Novel prize, and deservedly so. Her newest book is also highly recommended." - Historical Novels Review

"Renowned historical novelist Chadwick tells this battle-of-the-sexes story from a woman's point of view, channeling Matilda and the wannabe regent's stepmother as storytellers." - New York Post

"As always Elizabeth Chadwick offers a detailed and very readable medieval era novel full of political intrigue and fascinating depictions of the people surrounding the throne of England." -

"This book is already residing on my keeper shelf and I highly recommend it. Plan on being drawn into 12th century England and staying there a while with some magnetic characters that you won't want to leave." - One Book Shy of a Full Shelf

"A wonderful reprieve from all the Tudor novels that are saturating the market, I urge you to get this book for insight into this fascinating woman's life." - History and Women

" fascinating book with different insights to a difficult time in England's history" - Broken Teepee

"Ardent readers of historical fiction will enjoy yet another masterpiece by Elizabeth Chadwick." - Library of Clean Reads

"I love how Elizabeth Chadwick manages to interweave historical details into her fiction. I always know I'm going to get a well-researched, entertaining story, as I did with this novel." - A Girl Walks into a Bookstore

"Lady of the English was another great bout of storytelling. I learned about two really fantastic women I didn't know much about. Highly recommended" - Readin' and Dreamin'

About the Author

Elizabeth Chadwick is the author of 17 historical novels, including The Greatest Knight, The Scarlet Lion, A Place Beyond Courage, For the King's Favor, Shadows and Strongholds, The Winter Mantle, The Falcons of Montabard, and To Defy a King, six of which have been shortlisted for the Romantic Novelists' Awards.

Customer Reviews

Great read for those who like to learn English history indirectly through historical fiction.
A. Franczak
I have to say that this is a wonderful story that once you start reading, you are hooked and will lose sleep for staying up reading it.
This book gives a great background to Empress Matilda and Henry I's second Queen, Adeliza of Louvain, between 1125 and 1148.

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

74 of 75 people found the following review helpful By Misfit VINE VOICE on June 19, 2011
Format: Kindle Edition
This book is the story of two women, one an Empress and one who was Queen of England and begins in 1125. Matilda, married off at a young age is summoned home from Germany after the death of her husband the Emperor. Old king Henry may have plenty of bastards, but Matilda is his only legitimate heir and Henry wants her married well and to someone who can sire sons. Much to Matilda's displeasure, he picks the very young Geoffrey la Bel, Count of Anjou, but duty and honor always come first and they do well enough with each other despite a very rocky start. The second woman in the book is Adeliza of Louvain, king Henry's second wife, who is apparently unable to conceive the much-needed male heir. Matilda and Adeliza are close in age, and become good friends, but that relationship is sorely tried after the death of the old king when Stephen of Blois is conveniently poised and ready to steal Matilda's crown.

"The old king is dead and the rats are scurrying everywhere"

The barons are most unwilling to let a woman rule them, but Matilda is not about to give up and she's aided by half-brother Robert of Gloucester and Brian Fitzcount. Adeliza is now married to William d'Aubigny who is loyal King Stephen, and while she sympathizes with Matilda's cause, her duty and honor to her husband comes first - and those conflicting loyalties and how it reflects the friendship between the two women are very much what this novel is about, along with the impact a long and bloody civil war has on the countryside and the people.
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34 of 34 people found the following review helpful By OLT TOP 500 REVIEWERVINE VOICE on October 30, 2011
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Sharon Penman is perhaps my favorite author of historical novels, but sometimes I don't feel like the investment of time and brain cells she requires of me. This is my first Chadwick historical and I was delighted to find that she, like Penman, offers up very enjoyable, readable historical fiction, breathing life and humanity into the historical time and characters without sacrificing accuracy, but with a somewhat less epic scope than Penman.

Here in Chadwick's take on Empress Matilda and King Stephen's power struggle in 12th century England, she has focused mainly on Matilda, daughter of Henry I and mother of future King Henry II, and Adeliza, Henry I's second wife, who was close in age to Matilda and probably close to her in affection also. Penman's take on the same topic in When Christ and His Saints Slept: A Novel is more all-encompassing and delves more deeply also into the character of King Stephen, his wife, and many other historical figures involved in this civil war.

The period of civil war between Matilda and her cousin Stephen lasted 19 years in the 1100s, divided and devastated the country, and was only resolved when Stephen agreed to name as heir to the throne Matilda's son Henry rather than his own son Eustace upon Stephen's death. It's a fascinating period in English history that probably many are familiar with from reading Ken Follett's The Pillars of the Earth, seeing the miniseries
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45 of 47 people found the following review helpful By Jennifer Cameron-Smith on June 18, 2011
Format: Kindle Edition
This is the story of two women who each were `Lady of the English': Adeliza, the second wife of Henry I and the Empress Matilda (1102-1167), his daughter. Matilda is Henry I's heir, after the death of her brother William in the White Ship disaster (1120). Matilda was married to Henry V, the Holy Roman Emperor in 1114 and when he dies in 1125, she returns to England, before being married to Geoffrey of Anjou. Adeliza of Louvain (1103-1151) was Matilda's stepmother. When Henry died in December 1135, his nephew Stephen seizes the English throne while Matilda is in Anjou with her husband Geoffrey and their young children. And thus began a period of English civil war sometimes known as the Anarchy.

In this novel, we see events between 1125 and 1149 through the eyes of Matilda and Adeliza. While Matilda's struggle for the throne dominates the history, the novel tells the story of two quite different women who, while finding themselves on different sides during the Anarchy are strongly linked as the daughter and wife of Henry I. By recreating the era in which Matilda and Adeliza lived, Ms Chadwick makes the history more accessible. While I have read aspects of Matilda's story before, I've not previously read about Adeliza. The two stories joined together made it easier to understand the positions adopted by some of the participants in the Anarchy.

Adeliza finds new joy in her life, as a consequence of her marriage to William D'Albini but is torn between her obligations to her husband and to her stepdaughter. Matilda fights to wrest the English crown from Stephen both for herself, and as her son Henry's heritage.

Ms Chadwick is now working on a trilogy about Eleanor of Aquitaine: having met the young Henry II in this novel, I'm looking forward to the trilogy.

Jennifer Cameron-Smith
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More About the Author

Elizabeth Chadwick is a best selling, award winning author of historical fiction. A born storyteller, her first novel The Wild Hunt won a Betty Trask Award in 1990. She has been four times shortlisted for the RNA Award in the UK for the best mainstream romantic novel. Her book The Scarlet Lion was selected as one of the top ten works of historical fiction of the decade by Richard Lee, founder of The Historical Novel Society.

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