Saturday, March 27, 2010

Book Review: The Scarlet Lion, by Elizabeth Chadwick

The Scarlet Lion

Paperback: 592 pages
Sourcebooks Reissue March 2010
ISBN-13: 978-0751536591
Review copy provided by Sourcebooks, thank you!

William Marshall most certainly is The Greatest Knight (btw, that’s actually the title of the prequel of this novel by Chadwick)…

If you’re looking to read about a REAL historical hero who’s got it all; strength, chivalry, superb knightly skills, insurmountable patience and intelligence, passion, loyalty, faith, love of family, fidelity, rugged looks, and the guts to stick to his purpose no matter what…then THE SCARLET LION is the book for you. 

Seriously though, let alone the fact that I personally fell head over heels for this genuine hero, there is so much substance in this novel regarding history, that I must recommend it as an Absolute Must Read for anyone interested in the 1200’s.  The novel takes us from the end of Richard The Lion Heart’s reign (Eleanore’s favourite son), right through to the last of King John’s days. 

Not only was William a superb knight, loyal to his last breath- He was also a true family man, completely devoted to his wife, the beautiful Isabelle de Clare, who bore him ten children.  Theirs was the ultimate love story of two people who were equals in everything. After living a life under the scrutiny and reign of the atrocious King John (who was immoral and cruel without remorse) which nearly put their own sons at risk, their love and marriage would still culminate in the happily ever after.  In fact, even though Isabelle was 20 years younger than William, after his death, Isabelle could no longer find happiness and she too died a year later.

The thing I found most enjoyable about reading this novel (that could easily pass for non-fiction considering its impeccable accuracy), was the perfect mix of battle, love, rich history and exacting character portrayal, to balance the read and urge me on.  If there’s one thing I hate, it’s reading endless pages of either one of these elements non-stop (especially battles or dewy love scenes), resulting in boredom.  This was not the case here.  The story progressed and flowed exquisitely- I was hooked till the end.

Chadwick’s writing style is none other than superb. Reading this novel is like being immersed into the scene itself.  Her writing is clear, specific, including descriptive moments within every single sentence.  This kept me tuned into the book without ever needing to skim through any part. Her story telling is a captivating feast for the senses.

After reading The Scarlet Lion, I can truly say that Chadwick stands out in a class of her own. Wow, what a story…who needs real history when fiction is this excellent?

For more reviews and creative posts, Please check out Historical Fiction Bloggers Round Table- Calendar of Events, for this amazing Elizabeth Chadwick event.


BurtonReview said...

So glad you enjoyed this read Lucy! I am starting to enjoy the medieval era more than tudor era!

Lizzie said...

I too really enjoyed the fact that he was a real family man, that is so sexy that he really loved his wife and family. I am with Marie I starting to enjoy medieval ear way more than Tudors.

Unknown said...

I so agree that this was an absolutely great read and is a MUST! William Marshall is fantastic!

Anonymous said...

If they used these books to teach history, we would learn more and enjoy it. The stories give the framework, the students could check out the pertinent facts and details.

Margaret Metz said...

I homeschool and love to use books like these to facilitate my lessons. It makes history come alive and is so much more fun and memorable than dry history books.

The cover is really beautiful too.

I am a sucker for romance though ~ and what could be more romantic than true love between a husband and wife that lasted through all the politics and court intrigues.

This sounds like a great balance. I'll have to add it to my wishlist. Thank you for such a great review.

Rheanna said...

I was enthralled by the cover of this book, and I don't like to judge a book by it's cover but this cover is stunning. And I'm just now getting to th HFBRT's reviews of the book. I have to say now I'm even more impatient to read The Scarlet Lion. I love an author who's clear and descriptive without being longwinded in her writing. I can't wait to read this book. Thx so much for the review!

Sheila (Bookjourney) said...

I have heard wonderful things about this book! Thanks for sharing ;)

Laura at Library of Clean Reads said...

Thanks so much for this review, Lucy! This is definitely a book I want to read. More and more I am turning to historical fiction, and this sounds like my kind of book. I am currently reading The Last Queen by C.W. Gortner, another great story.

Arleigh said...

Excellent review Lucy! You are right on target :) I think we're all in love with William Marshal!