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The Time Of Singing (Paperback)
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In 1173, Roger Bigod is heir to the vast and powerful earldom of Norfolk When his treacherous father, Hugh, loses the family lands and castles in a rebellion against King Henry II, Roger finds himself in reduced circumstances and dogged by a bitter family dispute with his half brother over the remaining crumbs. Whilst trying to resolve the matter, he encounters Ida de Tosney, the King's young mistress. Seduced by Henry, Ida's gaze is now drawn to Roger in whom she sees a chance of lasting security beyond the fickle dazzle of the court. But she has to navigate a careful path between her dearest wishes and the King's reluctance to part with her. Every fulfilled wish has its price, and that price is losing the son she has borne to Henry. When King Richard comes to the throne, Roger is restored to his family's lands and becomes a great earl, and one of the richest men in England. He builds a great castle at Framlingham for himself and for Ida, but life is still riddled with uncertainty as Richard goes on crusade and the men left to govern the country quarrel their way into civil war. Ida struggles to come to terms with their new future...
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Top customer reviews
already read only with a different title and cover. (See "For the King's Favor") This
really annoys me. When I want to read it again, I'll just read the one I have.
As wonderful as this novel is for the way in which it brings England of the 1100s to life with its details about the clothes, food and weapons, strong plot-line and beguiling characters, nevertheless there were a couple of choices the author made that didn't quite work for me.
First of all, the title. THE TIME OF SINGING seems an off-key choice for a truly heart-breaking story. A better title would have been something like A WRENCHING CHOICE or THE PRICE OF BEAUTY or THE TIME OF SORROW.
Secondly, the whole story flows towards and away from the choice that Ida (the heroine) is forced to make. This choice is really the top of the story arc, even though it actually occurs in the middle of the novel rather than towards the end. So I was disappointed that Ms. Chadwick did not make more of it. What actually happens is that a messenger from the King appears to Ida and tells her what her choice is. But we do not have that scene in the novel. Instead, we see its aftermath. True, Ida is sobbing. True, she has collapsed onto the floor. But how much more powerful it would have been to see that sanctimonious bishop come into the room and tell her--. (Which I'm not going to tell you so as not to spoil the story.) Four stars.