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REVIEW: Shadows and Strongholds by Elizabeth Chadwick

 

“Ten-year-old Brunin FitzWarin is an awkward misfit in his own family. As an act of encouragement, his father sends him to be fostered as a knight in the household of Joscelin, Lord of Ludlow. Here he meets the lord’s youngest daughter, Hawise, and a strong friendship is formed.

When Brunin aids his lord in supporting Prince Henry in his battle against King Stephen for the English crown, his own land comes under threat. As the war for the crown and the land rages, Brunin must defeat the shadows of his childhood and put to use all he has learned, confronting his future head on.”

Dear Ms. Chadwick,

The re release of your novel neatly coincided with my realization that I haven’t read many medievals lately and a reading experience was born. Why haven’t I read more of your books? Maybe because I’m dumb? I dunno but I’ve got to do better and I will, I promise!

Shadows and Strongholds by Elizabeth Chadwick“Shadows and Strongholds” is packed with lots of little details about medieval life – the Shrewsbury Fair with it’s haggling, buying and selling, how young women were trained in healthcare – because you never know when you’re going to have to remove a lance head from your husband, and to be chatelaines – those linens won’t embroider themselves, attending a royal court – if you’re not forced to stay in a tent then you’re doing well but – thank you! – not a mayhap or prithee throughout the book. And what would a medieval be without lots of fighting and slugging it out to gain land and estates? The various ebbs and flows show just how important this was as a means to power and prestige. It gained one allies, strength and protection. One never yielded an inch because to do so would appear weak. The situation of these families – on the Welsh border and during the final years of the civil war – set them up for lots of conflict. I loved the neat touch about how the dispute over Ludlow is settled using something Henry becomes known for – reasoned decisions vs fighting.

The Stephan/Matilda civil war is simmering down during Brunin’s time as a squire and soon action has turned to one of my favorite English monarchs, King Henry II, and his war against the Welsh + his tricky pledges to his English knights to further consolidate his own power. But then times were hard which demanded that the people be harder. Enter Brunin’s grandmother. Lady Mellette is a dragon in female form – a sword sharp tongue in a fiercely proud woman who looks to outlive them all. I’ve run into people like this – whose main pleasure in life is belittling and grinding down others. As someone in the book says, she has the ability and the desire to wound. But she’s also got royal blood – albeit bastard – in an age when this meant something and is a daughter of a noble family that will only rise further though displays of iron will. She’s not weak, as neither are Joscelin’s wife Sybilla and Hawise, because they can’t be anything less.

Ties run deep in the story – both good and bad. Fulk trusts Joscelin to bring out the best in his eldest son and their bonds are strengthened by the marriage – though how can someone own a half share in a castle? The dispute between the various claimants for Ludlow Castle has kept them at each others throats for decades. Watching Brunin learn to be a good squire and knight teaches the reader without ponderous lectures in how it happened. These are men who are tough as leather well into their middle age – still able to fight with sword and lance – and often needing to too. I liked the good descriptions of Brunin while fighting – calm and controlled in battle with everything seeming to slow down in the moment. But there was more to holding a castle or manor than swinging a sword which is shown in the post engagement lessons passed on from Joscelin to Brunin – honor your dead and support the families of your dependents – and in the way Brunin’s younger brother Ralf realizes from watching Brunin all the management details a lord needs to consider in order to hold what is his.

I think one of the reasons I’ve historically shied away from medievals is my perception of the imbalance of male/female power but this book, with its strong women, puts paid to that. Lady Mellette apparently gave her arranged marriage husband hell which contrasts to the strength of the de Dinan and Fitzwarin marriages. Fulk and Eve don’t show romantic love much – theirs seemed to be more a steady relationship based on familiarity though Fulk’s reaction to Eve’s death might belay this. Joscelin and Sybilla show the strength of an arranged and royally ordered union that over the years turns into true love – though tempered with fights and arguments at times. Still, that marriage stands the test of bad times, and good ones. I noticed how Sybilla, who has only given birth to daughters, worries about the prospect of divorce after Louis of France divorces his queen Eleanor for that very reason. Later, Sybilla’s reaction after the king’s decision over Ludlow speaks volumes about her love for Joscelin even if she hadn’t said a word to him. Others might have warned him before he married her that her tongue was sharp and she’d give him all he could take but in her inner steel, he finds his compliment, his consort battleship. Even Fulk, married to beautiful Eve, seems to envy Joscelin at times.

Cecily’s marriage story tells a different tale. She does have respect but no love from her husband who cares more for his dogs and who was thinking of becoming a monk. I idly wondered what would have happened to her if this had happened. As the character arc of one woman shaped up, I was a twinge disappointed when she followed the path I guestimated that she’d probably take. Her ending was well earned though, like Brunin, I felt a little pity for one so weak and idiotic. However, she made her bed and I wasn’t sorry to see her lie in it.

Then comes Brunin and Hawise – from all appearances, we can hope that they will take after her parents. Natural young lust begins to flow into something deeper and more mature as they carefully pick their way through the minefield of their differing way of expressing emotions. But all these people lived so differently than we can imagine – much more publicly with few moments for real privacy. That plus fealty owed his lord and teachings of the Church puts a damper on Brunin’s lusty thoughts before he and Hawise marry. Meanwhile she urges quicker marriage in order to be able to express her feelings and desires. I like that neither starts passionately in love with the other. Instead they are old childhood friends and have no objections to a good, mutual match which flowers under the willingness of each to foster the kind of relationship they’ve watched over the years at Ludlow. It’s give and take, strength matched to injury and the careful nurturing needed to weather the long run. I enjoyed watching them work out their feelings and the beginnings of how this marriage is going to go.

So, a energetic and realistic view of medieval life plus a wide spectrum of differing marriages which show an equal power balance very much to my liking and fighting. Yeah, I’ve been away from your books far too long. A-

~Jayne

 

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Another long time reader who read romance novels in her teens, then took a long break before started back again about 15 years ago. She enjoys historical romance/fiction best, likes contemporaries, action- adventure and mysteries, will read suspense if there's no TSTL characters and is currently reading very few paranormals.

56 Comments

  1. GrowlyCub
    Mar 12, 2013 @ 09:29:51

    I love her early books, but I’ve been staying away from her more recent novels because they are about real life people and many of them didn’t have so happy endings. It just make me sad to finish a novel and then read up on the historical figures only to find out X died 3 years into the marriage and Y remarried 3 more times. It’s a bummer because I love her writing and those little details you talk about.

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  2. Kate Hewitt
    Mar 12, 2013 @ 09:51:48

    I love Elizabeth Chadwick’s novels and have read just about all of them–as stated in the comment above, the earlier ones are about fictional people and her later ones are about real people, and sometimes they read more like an exciting biography than a novel. The Champion is my favourite, and it is one of her earlier ones, about a hearth knight who becomes a jousting champion.

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  3. Shinjinee
    Mar 12, 2013 @ 10:28:05

    I was lucky enough to get and start off with her first book The Wild Hunt, and to then go on to read The Leopard Unleashed (unfortunately I left it behind when I moved!). Since then, courtesy the British Council and friends, I’ve read most of her books. Yes, some of them have sad endings because that is the way true life was. I’m currently reading A Time of Singing (the story of Henry II’s young ward and mistress Ida de Toesny and her husband Roger Bigod, later Earl of Norfolk). Before this, I read To Defy a King. I’m looking forward to reading Sharon Kay Penman’s Lionheart as well.

    As you can tell, I have no problems with historical novels that end sadly. I remember reading The Sunne in Splendour and The Reckoning, and weeping over both endings…. I also want to recommend the Crowner John series by Bernard Knight which is set mostly in Devon in the reign of Richard Lionheart, if you like this period.

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  4. GrowlyCub
    Mar 12, 2013 @ 10:42:28

    @Kate Hewitt:

    The Champion is about a very real person. :) It’s about William Marshall who served 4 kings (Henry II, Richard Lionheart, John Lackland and Henry III) and he had a real life HEA. :) Although his sons all died without issue there are descendants through his 5 daughters.

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  5. sandyl
    Mar 12, 2013 @ 10:47:09

    As I read your review, I was reminded of the Brother Cadfael series by Ellis Peters. These mysteries occur during the King Stephen/Matilda conflict. Although Bro. Cadfael is the main character, each book also centers around a romance. Excellent books and an excellent mini series with Derek Jacobi.

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  6. GrowlyCub
    Mar 12, 2013 @ 10:51:01

    @Kate Hewitt: Well, darn. I’m an idiot. :) Her Marshall book is The Greatest Knight. I got confused because there’s a very good Marshall book called The Champion by Christian Balling. In any case, The Greatest Knight is fab, too. I’ll have to see if I can lay my hands on Chadwick’s The Champion.

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  7. Jayne
    Mar 12, 2013 @ 10:52:06

    @GrowlyCub: Well, Hawise and Brunin are happily married at the end of the book and Joscelin and Sybilla have weathered what’s been thrown at them. I understand that this is a prequel to “Lords of the White Castle” so perhaps sadness is in store (I haven’t read that book yet) but things here end on a high note.

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  8. Jayne
    Mar 12, 2013 @ 10:55:41

    @Shinjinee: You left one behind in a move?! Ach! Have her older books been released in e yet?

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  9. Shinjinee
    Mar 12, 2013 @ 10:59:39

    @Jayne: Yes, it was an accident (along with important documents that I also left behind). I miss my Sharon Kay Penmans, and my Chadwicks! I am not sure if they are out as e-books, but I know that some of her early books have been re-released. And yes, I love Brother Cadfael too, and that is set in the same time period as Shadows and Strongholds etc.

    Shinjinee

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  10. Patricia Eimer
    Mar 12, 2013 @ 11:05:50

    This sounds really good. Going to go see if my library has it now.

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  11. GrowlyCub
    Mar 12, 2013 @ 11:09:39

    I don’t think I explained my issue really well. All the books I’ve read have ended on a high note, but in RL things got really unhappy for some of the characters/historical persons fairly soon after the book/real life happy ending. I’m too much of a rom reader to want to do that to myself, because I just can’t help but read up on historical characters. :) This particular book seems ok in that regard (they were married about 20 years from all I can gather).

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  12. Isobel Carr
    Mar 12, 2013 @ 11:14:57

    @Shinjinee: Penman’s THE RECKONING is one of my all-time favorite historical novels. I need to reread that. *sigh*

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  13. Jayne
    Mar 12, 2013 @ 11:16:19

    @GrowlyCub: I do know where you’re coming from about RL characters and that’s the reason why I rarely want to read stories about royalty. Jean Plaidy got me a few times too with this – happy ending and then I discover how crappy the rest of the characters’ lives were.

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  14. Janine
    Mar 12, 2013 @ 11:51:37

    @Jayne — The review is filed under A- reviews, but the grade at the bottom says B+. Which is more accurate?

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  15. DallasE
    Mar 12, 2013 @ 12:10:41

    Aren’t there two Elizabeth Chadwicks? One who writes medieval historical and one who writes romance? Seems to me I keep reading about the confusion between the two. I have five of this Chadwick’s ebooks and have read four of them. All of them are very good reads. And of course, William Marshall is the hero that all of the others must live up to, LOL.

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  16. Jayne
    Mar 12, 2013 @ 13:26:37

    @DallasE: Yes, there are two. I think the other Elizabeth Chadwick wrote/writes westerns – or did at one time.

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  17. Jayne
    Mar 12, 2013 @ 13:27:16

    @Janine: Whoops. Thanks for catching that.

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  18. Kate Hewitt
    Mar 12, 2013 @ 13:39:06

    @GrowlyCub: @GrowlyCub:

    A lot of her books are about William Marshal :) I also liked The Love Knot… I read them at the same time and I might be getting them confused. I think the hero of The Champion might be called Joscelin? It was interesting because it wasn’t about nobility, and life during that time was very tough for the common folk!

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  19. Kate Hewitt
    Mar 12, 2013 @ 13:40:57

    I also really liked the Chadwick book about a Saxon warrior who had to marry a Norman noble woman–it’s one of her earlier ones I think and set in the 1066 period rather than the Henry II/RichardI/John period. I found it fascinating. I can’t remember the title though!

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  20. Elizabeth Chadwick
    Mar 12, 2013 @ 13:49:45

    I never know whether to comment on sites and blogs in case I’m breaking etiquette and I don’t want to be seen as one of those pushy authors looking over readers’ shoulders – that’s not what it’s about. But I just want to say that if anyone wants to know anything about the history or ask me a question, I’m always happy to answer.
    Thank you everyone – and for the lovely review.

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  21. SandyH
    Mar 12, 2013 @ 14:35:11

    I am re-reading Roberta Gellis Roselynde series. It is fictional but historically accurate. William Marshall appears in her books as well. The series contains 7 books: Roselynde, Alinor, Joanna, Gilliane, Rhiannon, Sybelle, and Desiree.

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  22. GrowlyCub
    Mar 12, 2013 @ 15:12:14

    @SandyH:

    I *love* Alinor, Simon, Ian and all the supporting cast and reread at least twice a year, sometimes more often. Have you read The Sword and the Swan? It’s about Alinor’s grandparents.

    Desiree is a late addition and doesn’t quite fit, but I wonder whether new to the series readers who read it it before book 2 might get more out of it than I did.

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  23. Kate K.F.
    Mar 12, 2013 @ 17:28:59

    I need to put this author on my list as I love good historicals. Sharon Kay Penman’s books were some of my favorite at one point and I constantly go back to Cadfael so these look like exactly my sort of read.

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  24. Jen
    Mar 12, 2013 @ 20:22:32

    This book is one of my all time favorite books!

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  25. Shinjinee
    Mar 12, 2013 @ 20:24:37

    @Kate K.F.: Enjoy! Chadwick has a long backlist, and a decent website and blog. (I have to say that the old one was easier to navigate).

    I love this period (the entire 11th century, including the war between Stephen and Matilda), and just wish there were more books set in it. Especially books that use real historical personages as major or minor characters, and use historical events to advance the plot…

    Some years back, I read a Harlequin Historical (forget the title), where the heroine (half-Saxon and half Norman) is forced to marry a new Norman lord who owes allegiance to the new King, Henry II.

    Shinjinee

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  26. GrowlyCub
    Mar 12, 2013 @ 20:41:59

    @Shinjinee: Have you read Gellis? She’s got several books covering the 12th and into the 13th century. Jo Beverley has one that takes place in the 11th century not long after the conquest.

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  27. carmen webster buxton
    Mar 12, 2013 @ 21:14:57

    Ditto @sandyl on the being reminded of the Ellis Peters’ Brother Cadfael books. I had to go to Wikipedia to figure out that war, and to find out what finally happened. It sounds like one thing both authors stress is the importance of family ties in that period of time, in Wales and that part of England. Family loyalty trumped almost every other kind of relationship.

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  28. Susan
    Mar 12, 2013 @ 21:55:31

    @Shinjinee: Yes, I love The Sunne in Splendour! It’s my favorite medieval. Sometimes those poignant books that give you a good cry are the most memorable.

    I confess that I have all of Chadwick’s books that are available as ebooks, but I haven’t gotten around to reading one yet! Guess I need to reshuffle my TBR pile yet again!

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  29. Kaetrin
    Mar 12, 2013 @ 23:46:28

    I loved The Sunne in Splendour and The Reckoning but my first (and favourite) was Here Be Dragons. I remember sobbing in all of them *sigh*

    I love a good medieval (Roberta Gellis’s Roselynde Chronicles are wonderful and full of very strong women characters) and this sounds lovely. I’ll have to wait for a special or see if it’s in my library though because it’s expensive for me in e – the cheapest I could find it was $11.24 – I guess at least it is available, that’s something!

    The for the review Jayne – I’ve not read Chadwick before but she sounds right up my alley.

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  30. Kaetrin
    Mar 12, 2013 @ 23:48:05

    Yay! It’s at the library – out at present but I’ve placed it on hold. :)

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  31. GrowlyCub
    Mar 12, 2013 @ 23:48:06

    @Kaetrin: Oh, if you can find them, I love her early early books, The Wild Hunt and The Running Vixen. Your library may have those.

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  32. Kaetrin
    Mar 12, 2013 @ 23:48:35

    @GrowlyCub: I shall enquire :)

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  33. Jayne
    Mar 13, 2013 @ 03:53:29

    @Kate Hewitt: Now there’s a switch from the usual Norman knight/Saxon heroine pairing. Is this it?

    THE WINTER MANTLE
    First published in 2002 by LittleBrown hardcover. Now available in Sphere paperback and e-book format. ISBN 978 0 7515 3840 3 Based on a true story. The marriage of a Norman lady and English earl in the aftermath of 1066. This one very loosely links into the FALCONS OF MONTABARD which is set after this one.

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  34. Janine
    Mar 13, 2013 @ 13:58:27

    @Jayne: I see it’s an A-. In that case I better read it! I wasn’t so keen on Chadwick’s Shields of Pride but I loved The Wild Hunt and especially The Falcons of Montabard.

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  35. Kate Hewitt
    Mar 13, 2013 @ 14:59:53

    @Jayne:

    Yes, that is it, thanks! I read it ages ago but I should read it again because the culture clash between the hero and heroine was so fascinating.

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  36. Karen
    Mar 13, 2013 @ 20:57:40

    I so envy anyone just discovering an author like Elizabeth Chadwick (or Sharon Kay Penman) and getting to read these wonderful books for the first time. My favorite Chadwick is The Greatest Knight and Penman is Here Be Dragons but anything by either author is wonderful. I think The Greatest Knight (and its sequel The Scarlet Lion) are particularly good because William Marshall was so interesting . . . anyone who could survive Henry II and Eleanor, Henry the son, Richard the Lionheart and John Lackland and then set Henry III on his way must have been someone very special.

    Ms. Chadwick: thank you for your gracious offer. I have no questions at the moment but I love it when an author “drops in” to say hello.

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  37. Merrian
    Mar 13, 2013 @ 23:25:42

    Read this thread and just now walked into op shop, and hardcover Sharon Kay Penman’s ‘Here Be Dragons’ is now mine for $2.00. Thankyou DA readers

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  38. Kaetrin
    Mar 14, 2013 @ 00:22:08

    @Merrian: That is such a great book, you are in for a treat Merrian! :) I read a library copy and have always been a bit sad that I don’t have one of my own. I really should fix that one of these days. There is some powerfully romantic stuff in HbD. Epic!

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  39. Shinjinee
    Mar 14, 2013 @ 04:59:01

    @Growly Cub: Yes, I’ve read Roberta Gellis and I used to have all her books in print. Now I have most of them as e-books and need to re-read them. I’ve read two medievals by Jo Beverley (two of them are interrelated: Dark Champion and Lord of My Heart), and need to read her first one set at the time of the Conquest as well as her short story. (Jo Beverley is another author I glommed.) I’ll compile a list of medieval romances set in the 11th century later, and check to see if any should be re-read (as in I’ve forgotten the plot).

    I have Here Be Dragons in softcover only, so kudos to the reader who scored a hardcover.

    Shinjinee

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  40. Shinjinee
    Mar 14, 2013 @ 05:07:42

    I’ve been reading a bit about some of the other household knights. William des Roches, a powerful Angevin baron who also scored an heiress courtesy Lionheart, was another interesting character. He broke with John when that king wantonly killed or starved his noble captives to death, despite promises made to des Roches and the conventions of the time. His defection and that of other Angevin nobles (and eventually some Norman and Poitevin nobles) helped Philip Augustus win Anjou and Normandy away from John. That king was truly his own worst enemy, and I am just amazed that his minor children were put on the throne by the SAME nobles who previously thought that Arthur was too young, spoiled and arrogant. (and when his elder sister Eleanor of Brittainy was also available and a captive). I wonder if there were any plots to free her and mount a rival campaign for the “true” line.

    Other interesting characters – the de Glanville family (the Justiciar and his brother who married Gundred, dowager Countess of Norfolk, and is portrayed in A TIME OF SINGING), their nephew Hubert Walter, later Archbishop of Canterbury and his brother who founded the Butler dynasty, the knights Andre de Chauvigny (who was starved to death by John) and Baldwin de Bethune (whose daughter Alice married William Marshal the younger and was murdered along with her unborn son). The list goes on and on…

    Among strong women characters besides the Empress and Eleanor of Aquitaine – Eleanor’s grandmother Dangerosa/Dangereuse, her other grandmother Philippa of Toulouse who patronized the early Fontevrault Abbey and its founder extensively, Sybille of Anjou (aunt of Henry II, who was married to William Clito and then to another count of Anjou whom she left after six children to join a nunnery), Petronilla of Aquitaine (sister to Eleanor; whose passion for a married man led to a brutal attack on Champagne, and whose marriage eventually collapsed anyway), and so forth.

    Shinjinee

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  41. Jayne
    Mar 14, 2013 @ 07:31:21

    @Elizabeth Chadwick: My history question is about people in the position of the character Cecily. What would have happened to her if her husband had become a monk? Would she be considered a widow? Could she remarry? Shinjinee mentions Sybille of Anjou who left her husband and joined a nunnery. Would her husband have been able to remarry?

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  42. Shinjinee
    Mar 14, 2013 @ 08:13:57

    @Jayne: I’m not Elizabeth Chadwick, but I think I can answer this one.

    If your husband/wife became a monk/nun, you couldn’t remarry – UNLESS you were able to get a divorce (annulment) before the monastic vows as did Matthew of Alsace in 1170.

    Divorces or annulments were for very rich people i.e. kings, princes, and great magnates. So, Louis of France divorced Eleanor leaving their daughters legitimate, and Raoul I of Vermandois divorced TWO wives (he married Eleanor’s sister 1140 and divorced her 1152 when the Aquitainian political alliance was no longer useful).

    People frequently took religious vows on their deathbed, e.g. Roger de Montgomery, 1st Earl of Shrewsbury circa 1193. However, I think formal consent of the spouse was needed. (This is part of the backstory of the hero in Laura Kinsale’s FOR MY LADY’S HEART). William Marshal also took religious vows or at least was garbed as a Templar on his deathbed. (Elizabeth Chadwick covers this in her second book THE SCARLET LION if I recall correctly). I don’t know whether Isabel de Clare consented expressly or was “forced” to consent because her husband was on his deathbed.

    I don’t know if Thierry of Flanders consented to his wife’s decision, but he was always going off to the Holy Land on Crusade, and in fact met his second wife Sybille there. They married circa 1139 when Sybille (ca 1112-1115 to 1165) was in her twenties . Her first marriage 1123 to William Clito had been annulled at the contriving of Henry I of England ( I feel that this matrimonial tangle and the story of Geoffrey of Anjou’s sisters would be a fascinating novel in the making, or at least backdrop to a novel).

    Wikipedia says only “[Thierry] returned to Flanders 1159 without Sibylla, who remained behind to become a nun at the convent of St. Lazarus in Bethany.” No source is cited for this however, nor is a reason cited. [However, Gytha of Wessex, daughter of Harold Godwinson also left her husband for the Holy Land, so perhaps this was an accepted form of behavior for middle-aged matrons]. During the Second Crusade, while her husband was in the Holy Land, Sybille stayed behind as Regent and to look after their young children (three sons and three daughters) and a stepdaughter.

    Interestingly, Sybille’s sons Philip I of Flanders and Matthew of Alsace had complicated matrimonial lives themselves. Matthew (d 1174) married the princess-turned-nun, Mary of Boulogne, only surviving child of King Stephen, who was forced to leave her nunnery to marry and have heirs to the county of Boulogne (inherited from her mother Matilda of Boulogne). That was not a happy marriage; she soon returned to her convent after having two daughters. They divorced in 1170, which conveniently allowed him to remarry (Eleonore of Vermandois as her third husband). Her former husband remained Count of Boulogne until his death 1173/4, and then it passed to their elder daughter Ida .

    And yes, married women also took the veil on their deathbeds. Officially they needed the consent of their husbands, but in Sharan Newman’s second Catherine LeVendeur novel and in the real life case of Joanna of England (ca 1166-1199; youngest and favorite sister of Richard Lionheart), this was not so.

    Joanna apparently fled into Fontevrault Abbey while pregnant with her fourth child (third by second husband). She gave birth and died at the Abbey, and apparently took the veil there. Not sure of the details…

    Sorry for the long historical note. Sources
    Dutch wikipedia: http://nl.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sybille_van_Anjou
    English wikipedia: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Thierry,_Count_of_Flanders
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Raoul_I_of_Vermandois
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Matthew_of_Alsace
    http://lucypick.com/category/crusades/ [a note about Sybille]

    Cheers
    Shinjinee

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  43. GrowlyCub
    Mar 14, 2013 @ 13:11:05

    Just to let you know, since yesterday I’ve reread The Wild Hunt and The Running Vixen and am half-way through The Leopard Unleashed (my least favorite due to the infidelity). I was struck by the strong echoes of Gellis, which I hadn’t noticed before.

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  44. Estara Swanberg
    Mar 14, 2013 @ 13:30:00

    @Shinjinee: Totally fascinating information, thank you.

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  45. Kate Hewitt
    Mar 14, 2013 @ 14:36:33

    @GrowlyCub:

    Yikes you are a fast reader!! I just bought The Winter Mantle and am rereading it. I think I’ll try and read The Love Knot and The Champion again too. I remember loving those.

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  46. Elizabeth Chadwick
    Mar 14, 2013 @ 15:15:25

    Hi Jayne,
    Sorry not to reply sooner – I’ve been away from my PC and then catching up. I think Shinjinee has done a brilliant job of answering the question and knows more about it than I do without recourse to delving among the reference books, but would agree that if a spouse wanted to remarry, then an anullment would have to take place prior to the vows being taken.
    Shinjinee, I was very interested to read that Petronella, Eleanor of Aquitaine’s sister died in 1151 (John of Salisbury) and that it was as a widower he took his 3rd wife. I’m not so sure that Salisbury, usually reliable is absolutely true here, because there is circumstantial evidence in the pipe rolls that Petronella was still around in the 1160′s, but it is only circumstantial. So, a conundrum. I thought it was awful for Mary of Boulogne. She had been a nun for years and was actually an abbess when dragged out of her convent on the orders of Henry II and forced to marry Matthew of Alsace. Then had to spend 9 years as his wife and go through the birth of 2 daughters before she was allowed back into a convent. Goodness me!

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  47. GrowlyCub
    Mar 14, 2013 @ 15:16:59

    @Kate Hewitt: Being involuntarily retired (aka out of work) has some small advantages. :) Finished with Leopard and now wondering if Chadwick ever thought about writing about Hugh.

    Also, I’m curious about the rewrites (I have original paperbacks from back when they were released), but I’ve found all of those to be inferior regardless of author, so I while I’m tempted to see what she changed, I really don’t want to know, but it’s nagging at me like a sore tooth. :)

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  48. Shinjinee
    Mar 14, 2013 @ 20:29:57

    Thanks for the kind words everyone, especially Elizabeth Chadwick. I was afraid that I had written too much… and really strained the patience of everyone.

    @Elizabeth Chadwick: I agree that Mary of Boulogne had a horrible time – it was actually a forced marriage (she was kidnapped IIRC), but unfortunately, she was neither the first nor the last heiress to be so treated.

    I really wish I could write fiction, but I can only edit and do research – and write reports. (Let’s say that creating historic atmosphere and tone is not my forte!). So I really appreciate the authors who put so much love, care (and yes, respect for history) into their work.

    To be honest, right now, I’m reading John Dalmas (The Regiment, military SF) and the odd classic traditional Regency (Dinah Dean, Mary Balogh, etc). And downloading samples from Smashwords for later reading….

    Shinjinee

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  49. Shinjinee
    Mar 14, 2013 @ 20:45:04

    @Elizabeth Chadwick: Petronilla’s fate is not clear. The couple are said to have “divorced” in 1151 after the birth of a son (his second) and two daughters. (Very convenient timing, since King Louis divorced Petronilla’s elder sister Eleanor around this time). Two sources I found claimed that she remained a member of the royal court of France, and that she spent some time in England when Eleanor was confined in royal castles, lending her sister some company. She is said to possibly died circa 1189. Unfortunately, there is no definite date of death, which is surprising… but then, she was not an heiress, unlike her daughters Elisabeth (Countess of Flanders) and Eleonore (who married four times without surviving issue) who became the last heirs to Vermandois. Her son Raoul II succeeded his older half-brother Hugh (who renounced his rights, abdicated, became a monk and was canonized later), married Margaret of Flanders (Sybille of Anjou’s eldest daughter) but died of leprosy circa 1167. Three Vermandois-Flanders marriage alliances there – 1) Elisabeth with Philip I, no issue; 2) Raoul II with Margaret of Flanders, no issue; 3) Eleonore with Philip I’s brother Matthew of Alsace (the nun-stealer/kidnapper), 1 daughter who died young. At Eleonore’s death, Philip Augustus (married to a niece of Philip I and Matthew) took Vermandois into the royal domain.

    I’m sure that some medieval historian could tell us more about Petronilla’s fate.

    Shinjinee

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  50. Elizabeth Chadwick
    Mar 15, 2013 @ 08:16:28

    Shinjinee, I’d be interested to know your sources on the matter of her remaining at the royal court in France and then accompanying Eleanor during her confinement – I haven’t found any reliable sources for that. Eleanor’s biographers are mostly worse than useless and a couple of them are downright dangerous in their assumptions! John of Salisbury (mostly reliable) says of Petronella ‘She did not survive for long and…bore a son and two daughters before her death…As for Count Ralph, he married his third wife… (1152). The sole mention I can find for Petronella in the Pipe rolls is where the name (but not even a statement that it’s the correct Petronella as it doesn’t mention being sister of the queen) is mentioned in connection with Queen’s Gold. I don’t have the year to hand but it’s 1160′s. Other refs appear to refer to a sister of Henry II’s as a companion and would have to be his half sister Emma, not Petronella. So I’d love the further references to chase them up. :-)

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  51. Jayne
    Mar 15, 2013 @ 09:37:40

    @Elizabeth Chadwick: Okay, new question. What is a Pipe roll? And I know I’m probably exposing a lot of ignorance with that but since we have the pleasure of two such knowledgeable people here, why not ask?

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  52. Elizabeth Chadwick
    Mar 15, 2013 @ 10:56:05

    Hi Jayne,

    It’s basically the accounts for the country, written every year from September to September (Michaelmas) and lists what everybody has paid and for what reason. It was written on long strips of parchment stitched together and then stored like rolled up scrolls. Many have been destroyed but we still have them for the reigns of Henry II onwards, and a few for Stephen and Henry I. (as I recall, don’t quote me on that last bit). They are all written in Latin and often abbreviated. Sometimes fascinating snippets of information are included which could make full stories in themselve. For example, on the accounts for Norfolk and Suffolk, forthe year 1202 (King John) under the heading ‘New Offerings’ is the statement: ‘The bishop of Norwich owes 100 marks because he handed the king a ring with an emerald which the king had handed him before others.’ Hmmm, now what was behind that eh? There is also an entry on one of John’s pipe rolls where Hawise FitzWarin (the heroine of Shadows and Strongholds) pays 30 marks to King John so he will not force her to marry again (this is years after the end of Shadows and Strongholds) in widowhood.
    They are fascinating documents, but take some working through.

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  53. Janine
    Mar 15, 2013 @ 12:08:08

    @Shinjinee: OT here, but I just wanted to tell you how glad I am to see you here. I post on the AAR boards as LFL, and I remember you from the old days there. It is so nice to see you back in the romance community!

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  54. Kaetrin
    Mar 15, 2013 @ 19:54:10

    @Elizabeth Chadwick: Wait. Is Shadows and Strongholds about real people too?

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  55. Elizabeth Chadwick
    Mar 16, 2013 @ 06:53:20

    Kaetrin – Yes, it is. If you go to my website, I have listed the novels that are about real people and the novels that have imaginary protagonists. I’ll find you the url… http://elizabethchadwick.com/novels-which-link-to-each-other/
    NB Lady of the English is listed as a Stand Alone, but it is also about real people.
    This might help too. http://elizabethchadwick.com/novels-in-chronological-order/

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  56. Shinjinee
    Apr 03, 2013 @ 04:19:38

    Thanks Janine for the warm welcome, and to Elizabeth Chadwick too. I have a pretty busy schedule right now, and my wireless adapter connection isn’t working… I’ll get back to Elizabeth Chadwick with comments on Petronilla on Friday if I can.

    Shinjinee

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