One of Many Books- Chadwick, Plaidy and the rest…

Back in my far off youth I could round up and read odd copies of Jean Plaidy’s novels on history. I worked my way through the children’s books, like the Young Elizabeth and the Young Mary (Queen of Scots). Her books also came in handy when I was doing A level history, as I read through various series relating to 1066 and all that.

Looking around bookshops, including the bargain and second hand variety, I noticed a lot of Elizabeth Chadwick novels. So yes, I acquired one or two and they became, in the words of the Stuck in a Book blog, HIU (Have It, Unread) to the extent that I was picking up duplicates – whoops! So I finally actually read The Leopard Unleashed by Elizabeth Chadwick

I can honestly say I enjoyed this book. It’s not great literature, it’s a work of fiction in many ways, and there are not tons of research to weigh it down. Which is why it is essentially an easy read. There are no big historical characters in evidence, though the warring factions of Stephen and Matilda are represented. This is a book based on a family connected with royalty. There is sex and violence, but in context. There are battle accounts, and tragedy, but it does imply truthfulness to the  time. The book is based on one family, related to royalty but still fighting for survival on the Welsh Marches. There is a new wife, an abandoned mistress, subterfuge and suffering. I felt that the action kept going and for me the ending ‘worked’. I think that, like Plaidy, Chadwick does her research, but picks individuals  that either are fictional or relatively obscure, so that she can be generous with the facts. Apparently she tutors historical and romantic fiction, so that is the best clue as to her skills. It’s a romance, I liked it, and will try  to read her other books (of which there are many…) After all, weddings seem to be fashionable at the moment…

Those of you who remember my suffragette studies in the Working Class Movement Library will remember that  I was stuck to find novels relating to the subject and period, apart from the brilliant Half the Human Race by Anthony Quinn. Today’s blog tackles this lack, and in the comments there are some suggestions of novels. Tracking them down as we speak, and endangering life, limb and liberty by pulling at piles of books…


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