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Queen of Shadows: A Novel of Isabella, Wife of King Edward II Paperback – November 7, 2006

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Product Details

  • Paperback: 304 pages
  • Publisher: NAL Trade (November 7, 2006)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 045121952X
  • ISBN-13: 978-0451219527
  • Product Dimensions: 8 x 5.8 x 0.7 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.2 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 2.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (13 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,267,624 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

Isabella, the French princess at the center of Felber's deftly plotted historical, matures from a 12-year-old bride of Edward II of England to a clever conspirator driven by a thirst for power. Not so secretly gay and viewed as weak, Edward is ordered by Parliament to share his throne with the Earl of Winchester, whose son, Hugh, attracts Edward's attention. Isabella chafes at having to share the throne, particularly with Hugh, who proves to be a rapacious presence. One of Isabella's ladies-in-waiting, Gwenith of the Marches, secretly plans revenge against Edward for his killing of her family, but her dedication to Isabella complicates her mission. After being introduced by Gwenith, Isabella takes condemned nobleman Roger Mortimer, imprisoned in London Tower, as a lover and with him plots a coup that unseats Edward and positions Isabella's son Edward as king. But Roger is shiftier than he initially appears, and allegiances, as ever, are up for grabs. The book is filled with strong-willed characters, though Edward's homosexuality is clumsily handled. Felber, who has written many historical romances as Edith Layton, delivers what fans of the genre want. (Nov. 7)
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About the Author

Edith Felber has written over 30 romance and historical novels and many acclaimed short stories. She has won numerous awards. Author website:

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Customer Reviews

2.5 out of 5 stars
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See all 13 customer reviews
I didn't get past 15 pages.
Shannon Wolo
She is much more sympathetic in this novel and I didn't feel like I hated her at the end of the story (even though by most accounts she probably was pretty bad).
Robin J.
Speaking of which, it's constantly hinted throughout `Queen of Shadows' that Edward II is not the father of Isabella's eldest child, the future Edward III.
Kathryn Warner

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

45 of 54 people found the following review helpful By Kathryn Warner on November 26, 2006
Format: Paperback
Queen of Shadows tells the story of King Edward II's wife Isabella and her Welsh handmaiden Gwenith de Percy, from 1321-27. The novel's sub-heading `A Novel of Isabella, Queen of Edward II' is rather misleading, as it's equally Gwenith's story. (But then I suppose `A Novel of Queen Isabella and Some Random Invented Welshwoman' isn't quite as compelling.)

There are many events from Isabella's life during the period 1321-30 that would have made great fiction. However, Felber chooses not to dramatise most of them, instead focusing more on the fictional and rather tedious Gwenith. Much of the novel is seen through her eyes. As a child, she made a vow to her grandmother to avenge her grandfather and other family members, killed by Edward II's father Edward I. To me, this just seems like a silly and implausible plot device which forces Gwenith to spend a large part of the novel mooning about court wondering how to kill Edward II. Who did nothing against her family, anyway, and didn't commit any `atrocities' in Wales as Felber seems to think. (Edward II was, in fact, always extremely popular there.) On the other hand, Gwenith immediately switches from loathing Roger Mortimer and calling him a 'beast' - Mortimer and his family really were widely hated in Wales, and Mortimer's uncle takes the head of one of Gwenith's kinsmen to Edward I in the novel's prologue - to liking and respecting him and helping him in his predicament in 1323, apparently for no other reason than it serves Felber's plot.

Gwenith isn't a horrible character, she's just very blah. So is Isabella, unfortunately; she doesn't do all that much except irritatingly proclaim `I am queen!
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9 of 10 people found the following review helpful By Rebecca Hall on September 14, 2007
Format: Paperback
I realize a historical fiction is fiction but usually the author does research and builds the fiction around the facts. I am not an expert and even I picked up on the inaccuracies (not just the dates, places and events but the customs, speech, dress, etc.)
I gave this book one star because of the historical figures she started with and the only good parts in this book are Isabella's interactions with Despenser. I can't say this would even be a good book if you like romance because the love scenes were not fantastic.
Over all this book is poorly written and I am not sure it's the writers fault or the editor. There's so many mistakes it's hard to read through it. The characters are weak, the plot is weak, details of the period are not that discriptive or all wrong. It's so unbelievable, it's comical. As I was reading this book, I thought if it became a movie it would be a cartoon.
If your looking for a good historical fiction, look for Sharon Kay Penman or Anya Seton or even Philippa Gregory.
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11 of 13 people found the following review helpful By Lilly Flora VINE VOICE on January 4, 2008
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
This book sat in my to read stack for two years or so (ever since it was published) and I never got around to reading it. To admit a completely stupid emotion I even felt guilty for having it sit around for so long getting no attention from me. But regardless when I did pick it up and read it I was a little...stunned. Not because this was some fantastic novel that redefined my life or because it was the worst piece of trash ie ever read that left me attempting to scrub my brain with soap to get the bad words out of my head. Not I was stunned because a more mediocre novel I have never read.

I guess it's a good thing that the cover was beige because this whole novel was just.....bla. While apparently the plot is like, edge of your seat, biting your fingernails, peeing in your pants exciting, in reality it's dull. It doesn't even have the imagination to be confusing, it's just boring.

So Gwenith (in reality this should be called a book of Queen Isabella and Gwenith the random royal Welsh girl) had her whole family destroyed by Edward Longshanks during his campaign to get ride of the Welsh princes of Wales and had vowed to her dead grandmother to everything she can to get ride of the present Edward, Longshanks son. Being a lady of waiting to Queen Isabella she gets a chance when a Welsh knight pleads his master's case to her and asks that the queen might meet with his master, Mortimer.

Doesn't sound bad-well it is. On top of all of the historical inaccuracies (and there are soooo many-either this author did no research and went off of what she learned from movies like "Braveheart" or there was no editing at all or both.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By Kisminette on April 11, 2010
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
I agree with the first two reviewers, this book is very badly researched and sloppily written. I actually found it entertaining for the sheer amusement value at all the historical mistakes and anachronistic style of writing. This Isabelle is a product of Edith Felber's imagination, and only bears the slightest resemblance to the historical figure of The She-Wolf of France (not "She-Wolf of Paris" as Ms. Felber put it). In the book, she speaks neither English or French, she speaks contemporary American English, with an "aye" or "nay" here and there for "local colour". The few words of French used are just as bad.

Actually, reading this book made me so mad I had to run and find a history of Isabelle written by a French author (in this case Maurice Druon, of the Académie française) and thoroughly documented, just to take the bad taste out of my mouth, metaphorically speaking.

Since a synopsis has already been posted, I'll just comment on a few details.

I thoroughly resent the aspersion cast on Edward III's legitimacy. Ms. Felber hints at a Scottish father without naming him. She must have seen "Braveheart" but realized that what Mel Gibson made there was one of the most historically inaccurate movie of all times. About the only thing that's accurate about it is that the man was really named William Wallace. But Isabelle (who never set foot in Scotland anyway) was 3 years old when Edward II defeated Wallace, and Edward III was born seven years after Wallace's death. That doesn't keep Ms. Felber from persisting in her assertion that he's not Edward II's son, she even has Isabelle go so far as telling her husband "He's my son, he has royal blood in him, that's enough" (meaning, he has French royal blood, not English). And then at the end of the book, Ms.
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