#2 HF Challenge Read
A captivating story of a mother's love stretched to breaking and a knight determined to rebuild his life with the royal mistress, For the King's Favor is Elizabeth Chadwick at her best. Based on a true story never before told and impeccably researched, this is a testament to the power of sacrifice and the strength of love.
When Roger Bigod, heir to the powerful earldom of Norfolk, arrives at court to settle an inheritance, he meets Ida de Tosney, young mistress to King Henry II. In Roger, Ida sees a chance for lasting love, but their decision to marry carries an agonizing price. It's a breathtaking novel of making choices, not giving up, and coping with the terrible shifting whims of the king.
I have a like not like relationship with Chadwick. Some of her stories I devour and others, I just put to the side. This one falls in the really like pile. Chadwick is historian first when it comes to her writing and For the King's Favor is true to this recipe.
King's Favor tells the story of both Ida and Roger from the beginning: their upbringing, trials and tribulations, and how they came to be at court and eventually find one another. Luckily Henry II adores Ida and lets her choose her own husband in Roger, after he is finished with her of course. Although to be fair, Henry doesn't appear to be as heinous as most kings are. In any case, the second half of the book is Ida and Roger's story of love and rebuilding Roger's inheritance as well as staying on Henry's good side. The time frame is 1150-1183 and this is a very tumultuous time in England.
Once Henry dies, his sons John and Richard the Lionhearted, who loves to go crusade and get himself captured, squabble over the kingdom. All of which is paid for by their noble subjects, including Roger and Ida. They manage to weather the storms, have a great relationship, raise wonderful children, and really have the best in life.
Chadwick weaves real historical detail and accuracy into all her novels. The political machinations, relationships at court, everything is brought to life. There is some romance but really that is a side note. Chadwick makes history interesting, and For the King's Favor holds up her tradition of great story telling.
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