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The Irish Princess

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Ireland, 1160 Aoife MacMurchada is just 14 years old when her father Diarmit, King of Leinster, is brutally deposed, and her family is forced to flee Southern Ireland into English exile. Diarmit seeks help from King Henry II, an alliance that leads him to the charismatic Richard de Clare, lord of Striguil, a man dissatisfied with his lot and open to new horizons. Diarmit Ireland, 1160 Aoife MacMurchada is just 14 years old when her father Diarmit, King of Leinster, is brutally deposed, and her family is forced to flee Southern Ireland into English exile. Diarmit seeks help from King Henry II, an alliance that leads him to the charismatic Richard de Clare, lord of Striguil, a man dissatisfied with his lot and open to new horizons. Diarmit promises Richard wealth, lands, and Aoife's hand in marriage in return for his aid, but Aoife, has her own thoughts on the matter. She may be a prize, but she is not a pawn and she will play the game to her own advantage. From the royal halls of scheming kings, to staunch Welsh border fortresses and across storm-tossed seas to the wild green kingdoms of Ireland, The Irish Princess is a sumptuous, journey of ambition and desire, love and loss, heartbreak and survival.


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Ireland, 1160 Aoife MacMurchada is just 14 years old when her father Diarmit, King of Leinster, is brutally deposed, and her family is forced to flee Southern Ireland into English exile. Diarmit seeks help from King Henry II, an alliance that leads him to the charismatic Richard de Clare, lord of Striguil, a man dissatisfied with his lot and open to new horizons. Diarmit Ireland, 1160 Aoife MacMurchada is just 14 years old when her father Diarmit, King of Leinster, is brutally deposed, and her family is forced to flee Southern Ireland into English exile. Diarmit seeks help from King Henry II, an alliance that leads him to the charismatic Richard de Clare, lord of Striguil, a man dissatisfied with his lot and open to new horizons. Diarmit promises Richard wealth, lands, and Aoife's hand in marriage in return for his aid, but Aoife, has her own thoughts on the matter. She may be a prize, but she is not a pawn and she will play the game to her own advantage. From the royal halls of scheming kings, to staunch Welsh border fortresses and across storm-tossed seas to the wild green kingdoms of Ireland, The Irish Princess is a sumptuous, journey of ambition and desire, love and loss, heartbreak and survival.

30 review for The Irish Princess

  1. 5 out of 5

    Kate

    This is a fierce contender for my novel of the year. It completely immerses the reader in these lives lived so long ago. It's an incredible story, extremely well-researched and very, very moving. Elizabeth Chadwick is a master at putting us in the room with these people. There is so much vivid colour but it all feels natural and real. I'll be reviewing this marvellous book closer to the publication date on For Winter Nights.

  2. 4 out of 5

    D.

    I received this book in return for an honest review. Thanks to Netgalley for linking me up with the publisher! A fabulous tour-de-force of a historical novel. If you enjoy the likes of Phillipa Gregory, follow this author immediately. The rich setting, amazing writing, vivid characters. I REALLY loved this book, and I will be talking about it more on my own blog later in the month. Historical fiction gives us a chance to glimpse a possible, but that possible seems very real and very tangible in I received this book in return for an honest review. Thanks to Netgalley for linking me up with the publisher! A fabulous tour-de-force of a historical novel. If you enjoy the likes of Phillipa Gregory, follow this author immediately. The rich setting, amazing writing, vivid characters. I REALLY loved this book, and I will be talking about it more on my own blog later in the month. Historical fiction gives us a chance to glimpse a possible, but that possible seems very real and very tangible in this case. Almost perfectly so in fact.

  3. 4 out of 5

    J.A. Ironside

    As a fellow writer of Medieval historical fiction, I really enjoyed this. I haven't read anything by Chadwick before (something of an oversight) but I will definitely be checking out her other books. The story follows Aoife MacMurchada, daughter of the King of Leinster 1152. This is during the reign of Henry II in England, and High King Ruidhe Ua ConChubhair (Rory O'Conner) in Ireland. Chadwick does an excellent job at showing two conflicting cultures and how the Normans gained a foothold in As a fellow writer of Medieval historical fiction, I really enjoyed this. I haven't read anything by Chadwick before (something of an oversight) but I will definitely be checking out her other books. The story follows Aoife MacMurchada, daughter of the King of Leinster 1152. This is during the reign of Henry II in England, and High King Ruidhe Ua ConChubhair (Rory O'Conner) in Ireland. Chadwick does an excellent job at showing two conflicting cultures and how the Normans gained a foothold in Ireland. (Spoiler alert - as with many cases of conquest, they were initially invited in to assist against inter clan conflict and politics.) Aoife's father is in conflict with the High King and seeks an ally who will help him take back his lands. With Henry II's permission, he recruits Richard de Claire, the disinherited Earl of Pembroke, sealing the deal with Aoife's hand in marriage. Don't assume Aoife was a mere pawn however. Chadwick reveals a woman who was clever, calculating, headstrong and willing to use her great beauty and charm to get what she wanted. I am always pleased when Medieval fiction has been meticulously researched and the author hasn't fallen down lazy rabbit holes such as forced marriage - under Irish law at the time, a woman had to consent. She might well be coaxed into doing so by her family, but her consent was required. (Also worth noting that women could throw their husbands out if they were displeased and could divorce their husbands.) Women certainly had curtailed rights during the Medieval era (which lasted for around 500yrs btw) but in some ways they had more freedoms than we see in latter centuries. Salacious tales of forced marriage, rape without consequence, women basically being chattel, everyone being filthy because bathing was considered unhealthy etc are simply not true and that's an inaccuracy that harms all of us. Anyway, leaving that tangent aside, Chadwick clearly knows her subject, does her research and manages to convincingly portray people who were like us and yet had a very different mindset. This was a great book and put another important political female player back in the public eye where she belongs.

  4. 4 out of 5

    M.J.

    The Irish Princess is a welcome return to the world of William the Marshall and Queen Alienor. Yes, they might not appear in the book for any great length of time, if at all, but the reader knows that they are 'off' in the background, living their own lives, while young Aoife is trying to do the same. (I am a huge fan of the William Marshall books and he inspired my character of Leofwine in the Earls of Mercia books.) The setting of Ireland for much of the book provides a new arena for readers of The Irish Princess is a welcome return to the world of William the Marshall and Queen Alienor. Yes, they might not appear in the book for any great length of time, if at all, but the reader knows that they are 'off' in the background, living their own lives, while young Aoife is trying to do the same. (I am a huge fan of the William Marshall books and he inspired my character of Leofwine in the Earls of Mercia books.) The setting of Ireland for much of the book provides a new arena for readers of Elizabeth Chadwick, and it's enjoyable. Events in Ireland can be complicated, and the author makes the reader aware of what's happening without providing too much detail so that it never becomes too complicated. Aoife is an intriguing character - fiercely proud of her heritage, she is also determined to hold onto her birthright, whatever it takes, and if I would have liked to know more about Aoife, and her Irish family by the end of the novel, then that is a good thing. I don't know if this is a standalone novel, or if it will have a sequel, and if it doesn't, I imagine many of my questions could be answered by forcing myself to reread The Scarlet Lion (if I must! - I can't imagine it'll be any form of hardship). A thoroughly enjoyable read - it took me only three days to complete the book - and recommended for all fans of Elizabeth Chadwick, and those with an interest in the Empire of Henry II. On a personal note - I do enjoy it when an author has the freedom to play around with some of their characters a little bit. This book is very much a prequel to The Scarlet Lion and I'm pleased that both the author and the publisher pursued this idea. Thank you to Netgalley and the publisher for my review copy.

  5. 5 out of 5

    Jeannie Zelos

    The Irish Princess, Her father's only daughter. Her country's only hope, Elizabeth Chadwick Review from Jeannie Zelos book reviews Genre: Historical Fiction. Sometimes I just want to immerse myself in times past, and Elizabeth Chadwick is one of my “go to” authors. She can make me feel as if I'm there with the characters, living life like an unseen part of the cast. I know only what I've read in fiction of this period in UK history. I hated history at school, shame it wasn't taught this way, I'd The Irish Princess, Her father's only daughter. Her country's only hope, Elizabeth Chadwick Review from Jeannie Zelos book reviews Genre: Historical Fiction. Sometimes I just want to immerse myself in times past, and Elizabeth Chadwick is one of my “go to” authors. She can make me feel as if I'm there with the characters, living life like an unseen part of the cast. I know only what I've read in fiction of this period in UK history. I hated history at school, shame it wasn't taught this way, I'd have got far more from it. Plus it tended to be prehistoric times or the Tudor period and there's so much more to read than those two eras. Its a tough time to be alive, wars are constantly being fought over land and titles, a new king often means they're removed and given to a favourite or bargained away for the king's benefit. Into that scene comes Aoife, born a daughter of an Irish King, the traditionally weaker sex when kings wanted sons. Aoife is strong and soon carves her own place into her fathers heart, and does what she can to shape her own destiny. Tough, when ladies were married off at men's whims, money, position, for political expediency. Fortunately the husband Diamait wants for her is Richard de Claire. Richard is a strong ally to have. One Diamait needs, with the men and arms he controls being a valuable asset much needed after recent losses. If Diamait is to secure his ambitions he needs them, but he's wily and puts all sorts of constraints on the marriage to ensure he gets what he wants. Back in England Henry ll has been helping the family ( at a cost of course, nothing ever comes for free in this time), exiled after losing their lands. Henry admires Aoife, and that time spent together forges a bond between then. Henry's a King and always conscious of that he works ceaselessly to bolster his strength, courting men and always with an eye as to what benefits him and his heritage. He plays a tricky game in Diamait's plans for Aoife and Richard. There's never any real rest, the threat of wars are constant, and security is fleeting. Aoife grows up seeing that first hand, and determines that she may be a woman and ultimately not in charge of her own destiny, but she also has her own skills and she works hard using them to secure whatever she can for the benefit of herself and her family. I loved Aoife, a strong lady, intelligent and able to plan for her family, something much needed in these times when life can change daily, when one can be landed gentry one day and have nothing the next. She shows just how ridiculous this notion of men as the only ones capable of planning, organising etc, and we see just how much work she's doing in her clever way, to get what she wants but in such a way as the giver doesn't realise its not their own idea. Its a dangerous path, but Aoife is determined to protect her family, and fortunately in Richard she has a husband who values her brain. It takes a strong man to have a successful, happy marriage with a woman like Aoife, but they each value the others intelligence, and the love and respect between them is deep. There are so many great characters here, so many battles, times when its all changed by another loss or win, and we can see just how hard life was, not just for those at the lower end, but for those who rule too. They have problems too, different to those of the common people but harsh non the less. There are many surprises in this story, a look at a period in UK history which was red with blood from never ending battles. I really enjoyed reading about the characters – must admit I skimmed the battle details, I wanted to see the result and what happens after, not the actual battle. That's a personal issue, and for others those battle scenes are important. Its interesting reading the author notes about the story v what actually happened, how closely she has stuck to known facts whilst weaving an enthralling story. Close to the end I was very emotional, things happened that were heartbreaking, but for the times all too common. I really enjoyed Aoife's machinations, her sharp brain always planning for the “what if” scenario. I loved Richard, a man loyal to his wife when few were at those times. What he and Aoife had was special, and I think something Henry envied. He may have been King, with sons, with land, riches, whatever woman he wanted ( though Aoife cleverly avoided getting caught in that trap) but he didn't have the love, the closeness, the respect Aoife and Richard had for each other. Stars: Five, a fascinating read, bringing life and reality to a period of history I know only vaguely from stilted texts until now. Arc via Netgalley and publishers

  6. 4 out of 5

    Diana Anjos

    give me this, now!

  7. 5 out of 5

    Miss A

    Set during the 1100's King Stephen has just died and King Henry II now sits on the throne. Richard de Clare had fought for King Stephen so was not welcomed to court by the new king. He kept his earldom but was stripped of Pembroke Castle. Feeling like he needed a chance to prove himself he was given an opportunity to venture to Ireland where the kings of Ireland were fighting each other. The King of Lenister, Diarmait MacMurchada recently exiled makes a deal with de Clare. If he comes to Ireland Set during the 1100's King Stephen has just died and King Henry II now sits on the throne. Richard de Clare had fought for King Stephen so was not welcomed to court by the new king. He kept his earldom but was stripped of Pembroke Castle. Feeling like he needed a chance to prove himself he was given an opportunity to venture to Ireland where the kings of Ireland were fighting each other. The King of Lenister, Diarmait MacMurchada recently exiled makes a deal with de Clare. If he comes to Ireland and fights with him to win back his land he will give him his most prized possession his daughter Aoife's hand in marriage. There are set backs, heartbreak and successful moments. There are lovable characters especially Diarmit and Raymond. Due to rebellion their lives are never easy and this book is jam packed with great storylines. I am unsure how we are meant to feel about Aoife but for me I didn't like her at all I found her to be manipulative and untrustworthy and found myself cheering for her enemies towards the end but that didn't stop me enjoying the book. I do hope there is a sequel so I can read more about Raymond and Basilia and their lives following this book.

  8. 5 out of 5

    CC

    I had a great interest in learning more about this period of history, including characters that were lesser known to me like the Macmurchada clan and the Earl of Striguil. Being also unfamiliar with this author however I think I didn't realise how skewed to the romance side of things that this novel would be. For fans of that type of thing I expect this will be very popular but it all felt a bit too bodice ripping for my own tastes. A quick, easy bit of mindless reading that felt very I had a great interest in learning more about this period of history, including characters that were lesser known to me like the Macmurchada clan and the Earl of Striguil. Being also unfamiliar with this author however I think I didn't realise how skewed to the romance side of things that this novel would be. For fans of that type of thing I expect this will be very popular but it all felt a bit too bodice ripping for my own tastes. A quick, easy bit of mindless reading that felt very repetitive.

  9. 4 out of 5

    Jemima Ravenclaw

    'Aoife MacMurchada is just 14 years old when her father Diarmit, King of Leinster, is brutally deposed, and her family is forced to flee Southern Ireland into English exile. Diarmit seeks help from King Henry II, an alliance that leads him to the charismatic Richard de Clare, lord of Striguil, a man dissatisfied with his lot and open to new horizons. Diarmit promises Richard wealth, lands, and Aoife's hand in marriage in return for his aid, but Aoife, has her own thoughts on the matter. She may 'Aoife MacMurchada is just 14 years old when her father Diarmit, King of Leinster, is brutally deposed, and her family is forced to flee Southern Ireland into English exile. Diarmit seeks help from King Henry II, an alliance that leads him to the charismatic Richard de Clare, lord of Striguil, a man dissatisfied with his lot and open to new horizons. Diarmit promises Richard wealth, lands, and Aoife's hand in marriage in return for his aid, but Aoife, has her own thoughts on the matter. She may be a prize, but she is not a pawn and she will play the game to her own advantage. From the royal halls of scheming kings, to staunch Welsh border fortresses and across storm-tossed seas to the wild green kingdoms of Ireland, The Irish Princess is a sumptuous, journey of ambition and desire, love and loss, heartbreak and survival.' https://elizabethchadwick.com/the-iri...# The story of Aoife MacMurchada is a fascinating tale of a wild, intelligent daughter, a princess of a dispossessed and vengeful King who learns at a young age how to use her wits and cunning and every womanly charm and virtue to plow a path through a life in which her choice is limited to the decisions and dictates of first her father, her husband and finally her sister in law's husband and the King himself. Under Irish law, she has the right of refusal, but as Ireland comes under the sway and conquering of an English (Norman) King, even that is a privilege that will ultimately be denied her. Refusing to bow to this, she finds and acts in ways that will ensure the lives and succession of her children. I thoroughly enjoyed this historical fiction based on the family which introduced the Norman conquering armies to Ireland, and thrilled to the fact that they were ever as hard to subdue to the will of an overlord as now. The wild Irish spirit stands strong in this epic tale. I found the bloodthirstiness of the Leister King more than a little difficult to stomach, although the author included the stories because their source seemed authentic. Certainly I am no lover of the graphic seeming violence that books about this medieval era seem to abound in, one can only assume that life and honour were held cheap and codes of honour in battle were as unlikely to be kept then as now. The difference is that in those days, they were not whitewashed in the heroic terms that became more fashionable as the Renaissance loomed. There were also interesting interplays between church and state described and a good depiction of the complex, ever changing politics of the 12th Century, where might was right. I would be extremely keen to read more of Elizabeth Chadwick's stories of people related to those in this story. I believe there is a good historical fiction of the story of William Marshall, married to Aoife and Richard's daughter, Isabella, as well as Chronicles of Elinor of Aquitaine, Henry II's wife, who briefly cameos here.

  10. 5 out of 5

    Megan Jones

    Aoife MacMurchada is just 14 years old when her father Diarmit, King of Leinster, is brutally deposed, and her family is forced to flee Southern Ireland into English exile. Diarmit seeks help from King Henry II, an alliance that leads him to the charismatic Richard de Clare, lord of Striguil, a man dissatisfied with his lot and open to new horizons. Diarmit promises Richard wealth, lands and Aoife's hand in marriage in return for his aid, but Aoife, has her own thoughts on the matter. She may be Aoife MacMurchada is just 14 years old when her father Diarmit, King of Leinster, is brutally deposed, and her family is forced to flee Southern Ireland into English exile. Diarmit seeks help from King Henry II, an alliance that leads him to the charismatic Richard de Clare, lord of Striguil, a man dissatisfied with his lot and open to new horizons. Diarmit promises Richard wealth, lands and Aoife's hand in marriage in return for his aid, but Aoife, has her own thoughts on the matter. She may be a prize, but she is not a pawn and she will play the game to her own advantage. I adore getting stuck into a sumptuous historical fiction read and I was eager to get started on this. 'The Irish Princess' is about Aoife, a person in history that I did not know anything about and I loved reading about a new period of history, covering people that I have not read about before. It felt both like a learning experience and a very enjoyable read. This felt a bit different to other historical fiction reads as it focused on the emotion behind Aoife, her love, passion and personality were covered a lot and this was not a read where it is all factual. This felt refreshing and I think helped it feel more enjoyable. Of course, Chadwick has had to use historical licence throughout but as I like saying with historical fiction reads, it felt plausible and true to the time. Reading about Aoife was incredibly interesting, she led a difficult yet fascinating life and I enjoyed following her throughout her turmoil. We see her at her highest and at her lowest and she felt incredibly real throughout. In fact, all of the characters felt real. Chadwick has done a great job at capturing the characters and bringing the people back to life. 'The Irish Princess' is a sweeping, emotional read covering Aoife's life and that of those around her. I adored my time with them all and enjoyed learning at the same time.

  11. 5 out of 5

    Sally-ann Hoyne

    I enjoyed this partly because of the continuity from so many other books written by Elizabeth Chadwick. I most recently read the William Marshall series, which covered a span of time, and really was wondering about Richard Stongbow and the Kilkenny connection because my husband is from Kilkenny, and most of his family still live there or nearby. I find it most enjoyable that there are many historical details that are supported by history researchers, but there is a plausible story pulling it I enjoyed this partly because of the continuity from so many other books written by Elizabeth Chadwick. I most recently read the William Marshall series, which covered a span of time, and really was wondering about Richard Stongbow and the Kilkenny connection because my husband is from Kilkenny, and most of his family still live there or nearby. I find it most enjoyable that there are many historical details that are supported by history researchers, but there is a plausible story pulling it all together and giving dialogue and context and making it come alive. In The Irish Princess, I thought this a bit different than the books I read previously. The women are always shown by their strengths in Elizabeth Chadwick's books, as well as vulnerabilities. I love a story to centre on a powerful woman - and that she is given a heart. This is the earliest time period that I have read about, by Chadwick, and I was surprised at some of the violence (without spoilers). I have previously read the Last Kingdom series (by Bernard Cornwell) and the violence and extremes in that series made an impression, but seemed disconnected to the time period of the William Marshall series. Without expecting it, I think the Irish Princess bridged a little gap for me. But it also provided greater clarity of King Henry & Queen Elanor from a different perspective -- so it all fit together. I recommend the book, I hope there will be more around it, especially about Ireland. I had pre-ordered The Irish Princess, and re-read the Marshall series while I was waiting, so I am a fan, but I think it well written, easy to read, and as an audio-book it was a good storyteller.

  12. 4 out of 5

    Geoff Boxell

    I have problems with those languages that use a spelling convention that is different from English such as Polish, Spanish, Welsh and, in this case Irish. So, I am sorry Elizabeth Chadwick, despite you telling me how people's names should be said, I read them as I saw them. Over the years I have often been in, what at times could be robust, discussions with Irish folk. I mean, so many of them blame us English for Strongbow's invasion but, honestly, there were no English involved and, unlike the I have problems with those languages that use a spelling convention that is different from English such as Polish, Spanish, Welsh and, in this case Irish. So, I am sorry Elizabeth Chadwick, despite you telling me how people's names should be said, I read them as I saw them. Over the years I have often been in, what at times could be robust, discussions with Irish folk. I mean, so many of them blame us English for Strongbow's invasion but, honestly, there were no English involved and, unlike the Irish, we English were not stupid enough to invite the Normans and their Flemish mercenaries in - the buggers just turned up uninvited. The Norman Conquest of England was a bloody affair and the Normans blood thirsty and cruel, but the Irish, even before the Normans turned up, were something else again, so maybe they deserved themselves. Others have given the outline of the story, of the King of Lenister being involved in a power struggle and feud and, having seen one son blinded and another beheaded, both whilst hostages, had to flee to England and seek help from Henry II and then, gathering a Norman force, made up of Normans, Flemish and Welsh, under the Earl of Streguil (Strongbow), returns to re-claim his kingdom and, in the process, unwittingly starts the Norman conquest of Ireland and its submission to the English Crown. Elizabeth Chadwick does give a detailed accounts of the various relationships, especially those pertaining to Aoife, the Irish Princess of the title, and the conflicts of emotions that result. Normally a Chadwick novel gets five starts from me, but this one, well written as it is, only gets four as I just could not identify, or find empathy, with any of the characters.

  13. 5 out of 5

    Maria

    I admit to being a long time fan of Elizabeth Chadwick as I enjoy historical fiction. One of my favourite things about her writing is that she does not just stick to the Tudor Era or Henry and his wives. The main character Aoife is inspiring, she is strong, clever, fierce and determined. Like her mother before her she understands that a woman can rule men without being obvious and that survival rests on being knowledgeable and adaptable. It is a hard time living in that period in Ireland. I admit to being a long time fan of Elizabeth Chadwick as I enjoy historical fiction. One of my favourite things about her writing is that she does not just stick to the Tudor Era or Henry and his wives. The main character Aoife is inspiring, she is strong, clever, fierce and determined. Like her mother before her she understands that a woman can rule men without being obvious and that survival rests on being knowledgeable and adaptable. It is a hard time living in that period in Ireland. Constant unrest and upheaval and war over land and titles are a fact of every day life. A King's whims can blow hot and cold and keep your safe or exiled depending on the mood of the day. Although Aoife is a female and during those times they were not always favoured, she was the apple of her father's eye from the moment she was born and by being so close to him she learned how to be wily and play the game of politics. She marries Richard de Claire - a smart and able warrior who is out of favour with the new King Henry II. But Henry adores Aoife and over time they forge a strong bond between them and Henry helps the family when they must flee Ireland and seek refuge in England. Nothing comes for free however and Henry wrings every ounce of loyalty from Richard that he can while giving very little in return. This is a book that gives the reader a beautiful landscape view of the life and times of Ireland and England in the 1100's and a clear insight into the people who played a huge and dramatic part in its future.

  14. 5 out of 5

    Ruth Harwood

    I enjoyed this book, well written and likely just well researched, this is the story of an irish princess married to a man she actually likes and is a protector from the forces rallied against her, of whom there are many. There's adventure here, and love, and loss and every emotion you can imagine, but the ending was a little bit less exciting than I was hoping for. Personal feeling of that aside, definitely a good historical read. With a lot of books less enthusiastically researched nowadays, I enjoyed this book, well written and likely just well researched, this is the story of an irish princess married to a man she actually likes and is a protector from the forces rallied against her, of whom there are many. There's adventure here, and love, and loss and every emotion you can imagine, but the ending was a little bit less exciting than I was hoping for. Personal feeling of that aside, definitely a good historical read. With a lot of books less enthusiastically researched nowadays, to find one which introduces me to a new character, and one from a trusted author, I found this a worthwhile read, surpassing many books in it's breadth and the realities of life in the times of Henry II and his interest in Ireland. I'm wondering if there's a sequel with his son John's failed conquest of Ireland coming, simply because it's not touched upon here and it would be an interesting insight into the man if this author took the facts and weaved us a tale which shows us a more balanced opinion of the much-maligned youngest son of the formidable power couple (Eleanor of Aquitaine and Henry Plantagenet) of the twelfth century x

  15. 5 out of 5

    Cel Jel

    I love coming to a new Elizabeth Chadwick book, as I am always amazed by how she can paint such full pictures in my mind with such pared back sentences. This book is about the mother of William Marshall's wife. It tells the story of a Ireland under the High Kings, with the Norse settlements, and the Norman incursions. If you find it slow at the start, please persist, unlike most times I pick up one of Elizabeth's book, I took a little longer to be "grabbed". This could have been because of the I love coming to a new Elizabeth Chadwick book, as I am always amazed by how she can paint such full pictures in my mind with such pared back sentences. This book is about the mother of William Marshall's wife. It tells the story of a Ireland under the High Kings, with the Norse settlements, and the Norman incursions. If you find it slow at the start, please persist, unlike most times I pick up one of Elizabeth's book, I took a little longer to be "grabbed". This could have been because of the previous book I read. What a life Aoife had, and how amazing her resilience must have been. Using the research that she is meticulous in completing, Elizabeth has a novel that makes one think about how history keeps on repeating itself, and how resilient some people have to be in their lives.

  16. 4 out of 5

    Jo-anne Atkinson

    Ireland in the 12th century is a loose group of kingdoms ruled by a High King. In Leinster ambitious Diarmit MacMurchada is initially disappointed that his latest child is a girl, but as Aoife grows into a beauty he realises she will have her value. Losing his lands in a battle with an enemy Diarmit turns to help from England and King Henry allows disgraced Earl Richard de Clare to raise a force to go to Ireland. However when Richard marries Aoife, Henry worries about their power. I've always Ireland in the 12th century is a loose group of kingdoms ruled by a High King. In Leinster ambitious Diarmit MacMurchada is initially disappointed that his latest child is a girl, but as Aoife grows into a beauty he realises she will have her value. Losing his lands in a battle with an enemy Diarmit turns to help from England and King Henry allows disgraced Earl Richard de Clare to raise a force to go to Ireland. However when Richard marries Aoife, Henry worries about their power. I've always found Chadwick's books at the very romantic end of historical fiction and this one goes a little too far for me. As ever the research is wonderful and the sense of time and place excellent but at times this story felt pedestrian. It will still delight the legions of fans though!

  17. 4 out of 5

    Ioanna

    Her father had hoped for a son. Now, his daughter is his only hope. Ireland, 1152 The King of Lenister, Diarmait MacMurchada had hoped for a son. Instead, he was presented with Aoife. But it seems that the King was lucky. Because, fast forward to 1166, Aoife and the rest of her exiled family depend on the English King. And Aoife, with her extraordinary beauty, is the only one who can protect her family. But Aoife turns out to be far from the norm. She is not going to accept her father's plans for Her father had hoped for a son. Now, his daughter is his only hope. Ireland, 1152 The King of Lenister, Diarmait MacMurchada had hoped for a son. Instead, he was presented with Aoife. But it seems that the King was lucky. Because, fast forward to 1166, Aoife and the rest of her exiled family depend on the English King. And Aoife, with her extraordinary beauty, is the only one who can protect her family. But Aoife turns out to be far from the norm. She is not going to accept her father's plans for marriage. Instead, Aoife will carve her own path towards the future - both for her, and for her people. The Irish Princess is an incredibly well-written historical fiction novel. The narration is beautiful, and Aoife is a character the reader can empathize with and come to like very easily. As you read, you can't help but root for the young woman as she starts making her own decisions. Intrigue, secrets, and politics are all present, creating a very good work of historical fiction. Highly recommended to the fans of the genre.

  18. 4 out of 5

    HILARY ANDERSON - BELL

    Another brilliant book by Elizabeth Chadwick this one centres on Aoife the daughter of an Irish king. She marries Richard de Clare and this is the story of their life. It is chock full of atmosphere you can really immerse yourself in the story. If you like historical fiction make sure you read this book it is really makes the 12th century come alive. It also has a link to Elizabeth's other books about William Marshal as Aoifes daughter is his wife Isabelle.

  19. 4 out of 5

    Louise Birkett

    As a huge, huge fan of The Greatest Knight and The Scarlet Lion I had come across Aoife, daughter of Diarmait MacMurchada, who was William Marshall's mother-in-law. This book takes us to her girlhood and looks at what the upbringing of an Irish princess was really like and what may have made her so difficult for William to deal with. I loved the way the author brought Aoife's undoubted courage to the fore. I would have liked a little more interplay between Basilia and Aoife though.

  20. 5 out of 5

    Joanne Bolwell

    Read this book, it's marvellous! I always enjoy Elizabeth Chadwick's books and this was no exception. Her knowledge and research are evidently extensive and allows her readers to immerse themselves in the period of the book. Being from Monmouthshire made this fabulous book even more interesting and has made me want to research some of the places and people mentioned. Thank you for giving me so much enjoyment!

  21. 4 out of 5

    Linda Fallows

    Thank you to NetGalley and the publisher for allowing me to read this book in return for an honest review. This is yet another awesome book by Elizabeth Chadwick. Her attention to detail is fantastic and her descriptions help you feel as though you are in the book with the characters. I advise anyone who enjoys historical novels and/or Irish history to read this book.

  22. 4 out of 5

    Annarella

    I love Elixabeth Chadwick books and I think she's a great writer of historical fiction. This was an excellent read, well written and engrossing. I liked the historical background, the fleshed cast of characters, and the great plot. I look forward to reading the next book by this author. Highly recommended! Many thanks to the publisher and Netgalley for this ARC, all opinions are mine.

  23. 4 out of 5

    Terry

    Another winner from Elizabeth Chadwick. This one takes us to Ireland and the life of William Marshall's mother-in-law. I love the way she writes and draws the reader into the life and surroundings of the characters. Can't wait for her next book.

  24. 5 out of 5

    C.J. Fairhart

    Historical fiction based around real historical figures, especially royals, is always hit or miss, and this was a definite hit. This was such a beautifully woven story with rich and immersive writing that brought this pocket of history come alive.

  25. 4 out of 5

    Margo

    I was fascinated to learn more about Aoife MacMurchada, the daughter of the infamous king of leinster who aided in the anglo norman invasion of Ireland. The book focuses on the emotions side of the story, which is immense. Narration by Aoife McMahen was, as always, perfect. Very enjoyable listen.

  26. 5 out of 5

    Liz C

    Very good An interesting read from one of the best historical authors around. Such an interesting life which crammed so much into a short period of time.

  27. 5 out of 5

    David Ebsworth

    Really enjoyed this. A piece of history from Henry II's reign that was new to me. But a real page-turner, beautifully written by Elizabeth Chadwick. Defy anybody not to like this!

  28. 4 out of 5

    Suzanne Levalley

    Not my favourite from Elizabeth Chadwick, but a good book nonetheless. I do like that there's a common thread between the books on William Marshal and the craziness of Henry II and his family.

  29. 5 out of 5

    Liz Nichols

    Excellent book had me hooked from start to finish Excellent book had me hooked from start to finish 😁😁

  30. 4 out of 5

    Jenny

    This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here. Excellent! Absorbing and immersive. Review will be on my blog scheduled for publication date.

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