Wednesday, March 23, 2011

"To Defy a King" Review

"To Defy a King"
by Elizabeth Chadwick

Publisher: Sourcebooks Landmark
Release Date: Mar 1, 2011

Source: sent by publisher

My Rating: 4 out of 5 stars

Summary from

A story of huge emotional power set against the road to Magna Carta and the fight to bring a tyrant king to heel.The privileged daughter of one of the most powerful men in England, Mahelt Marshal's life changes dramatically when her father is suspected by King John. Her brothers become hostages and Mahelt is married to Hugh Bigod, heir to the earldom of Norfolk. Adapting to her new life is hard, but Mahelt comes to love Hugh deeply; however, defying her father-in-law brings disgrace and heartbreak. When King John sets out to subdue the Bigods, Mahelt faces a heartbreaking battle, fearing neither she, nor her marriage, is likely to survive the outcome . . .

My Review:

Once again, Elizabeth Chadwick perfectly blends together a well-researched historical saga with a tender, caring romance. Her characters are well-drafted and I love the glimpses at daily medieval life alongside the sweeping major battles.

For having an arranged marriage, I'd say Mahelt got extremely lucky! You couldn't ask for a better husband than Hugh. Strong, jaw-droppingly handsome, a great father, and always fighting for what's right-those are just a few of his qualities. Hugh never tried to reign Mahelt in or dampen her wild spirit and I loved that about him. Did I mention how handsome he was?

There was one thing about the book that upset me though. I absolutely loved the previous book, "For the King's Favor" and I completely fell in love with Roger Bigod along with Ida. Roger and Ida are Hugh's parents and I was looking forward to seeing them again. I fully understand Roger's conflict with Mahelt, and even enjoyed it, because they were such opposites. Mahelt was so wild and Roger so by-the-book, it was fun to watch them butt heads as they became family. However, I didn't like the portrayal of Roger's relationship with his wife at all. It's disheartening as a reader to get so attached to characters and see them have their happily ever after, only to see it shattered in the next book. It makes me wary that next time Hugh will be made out to be the bad guy and stop caring about Mahelt, even though he was so wonderful in this book.

Main Characters: 5/5
Supporting Characters: 3/5 

Setting: 4/5
Romance: 5/5

Uniqueness: 4/5
Cover: 3/5
Writing: 4/5

Bottom Line:
I really enjoyed this historical saga, even though some of my old favorites from the series weren't portrayed as I'd hoped.


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