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A Silver Mirror by Roberta Gellis

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Misfit
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A Silver Mirror by Roberta Gellis

Post by Misfit » Thu December 25th, 2008, 9:40 pm

Image

Barbara is the "natural" daughter of Roger Bigod, Earl of Norfolk and the story is set during the latter years of Henry III's reign during the conflict between Henry and his barons, most specifically Simon de Montfort, Earl of Leicester. Barbara's father Roger sides with Leicester while his brother sides with the royalists. Leicester's younger son Guy aims to make Barbara his mistress against her will and to avoid exacerbating the political situation she sails for France.

Married and widowed at a very young age (although the marriage was never consummated), Barbara has carried a torch for knight Alphonse d'Aix and still carries the silver mirror he won in a tourney and gave to a very young Barbara. When the two meet again, they are instantly attracted to each other and decide to wed -- although neither are willing to admit their true feelings for each other. The rest of the story evolves around the growing conflict between Henry and his son Edward and Leicester and the rebellious barons as Barbara and Alphonse return to England and are constantly involved in the thick of all the intrigue and treachery as the two warring factions battle for supremacy, until that final and fateful battle at Evesham.

Gellis does a good job (as usual) setting up the back story and history of the period and although this is billed as a romance there's quite a bit more to it than that - if you're looking for a bodice ripper I suggest you look elsewhere - you'll probably be bored to tears with all the history. Barbara and Alphonse were really rather adorable with their fears of revealing their true feelings to each other and the crossed purposes on the path to true love - Barbara always thinking Alphonse is off chasing other women while Alphonse discovers the silver mirror Barbara treasures above all else and thinks she is hiding a secret lover. Although a bit slow at times as the history of this period is a bit complex, I did enjoy it and found it just right for a snow bound winter's afternoon. 3.5/5 stars.

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Telynor
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Post by Telynor » Thu December 25th, 2008, 9:53 pm

This was one of the books that Gellis wrote that I really enjoyed when it was published. I have to say that one of the things that drew me to her works was the blend of history and personal stories.

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Post by EC2 » Fri December 26th, 2008, 10:59 am

I've never heard of this one Misfit, so thanks so much for the review! I'll have to track it down. Does Roger III of Norfolk come into it at all? I've got him as a small child in my current WIP. Barbara's great grandfather would be William Marshal!
I find when Gellis is firing on all cylinders she is superb - The first four Roselynde Chronicles are magnificent, but occasionally she has a tendency to explain every last detail of someone's thought processes and it can be a bit eye-glazing if she goes off on one.

Edited to say I've just managed to find a copy at Abe Books UK!
Last edited by EC2 on Fri December 26th, 2008, 11:09 am, edited 1 time in total.
Les proz e les vassals
Souvent entre piez de chevals
Kar ja li coard n’I chasront

'The Brave and the valiant
Are always to be found between the hooves of horses
For never will cowards fall down there.'

Histoire de Guillaume le Mareschal

www.elizabethchadwick.com

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Misfit
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Post by Misfit » Fri December 26th, 2008, 2:31 pm

Thanks Tely and EC. The two Bigod brothers were really not in the story at all, except for constant references - I don't recall them actually being in the room as it were. It will be interesting to see what you think of this, the only knowledge I have of the period is from reading Falls the Shadow. Gelis does get a bit explanatory with the history and with her characters so it does get slow at times. She definitely didn't think all that highly of the de Montforts, although Henry III doesn't come off as any saint either. I think Edward was her boy.

Edited, although the Bigods don't have a lot of action in the book, much of the others players do. The de Montforts, Mortimer, Gloucester and even a Despenser or two. Gellis wrote in her notes that this is the one book of hers that has more historical characters involved in the story than her other books.
Last edited by Misfit on Fri December 26th, 2008, 2:45 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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Post by EC2 » Fri December 26th, 2008, 3:34 pm

[quote=""Misfit""]Thanks Tely and EC. The two Bigod brothers were really not in the story at all, except for constant references - I don't recall them actually being in the room as it were. It will be interesting to see what you think of this, the only knowledge I have of the period is from reading Falls the Shadow. Gelis does get a bit explanatory with the history and with her characters so it does get slow at times. She definitely didn't think all that highly of the de Montforts, although Henry III doesn't come off as any saint either. I think Edward was her boy.

Edited, although the Bigods don't have a lot of action in the book, much of the others players do. The de Montforts, Mortimer, Gloucester and even a Despenser or two. Gellis wrote in her notes that this is the one book of hers that has more historical characters involved in the story than her other books.[/quote]

Interesting. I'll look forward to reading it. Gellis usually gets her historical characters spot on. I thought she did Henry III very well in her Roselynde books - I think she intereprets the sources with a good eye. I'm not a de Montfort fan myself any more and the Bigods were never particularly overjoyed to be in his company, even when they were on his side.
Les proz e les vassals
Souvent entre piez de chevals
Kar ja li coard n’I chasront

'The Brave and the valiant
Are always to be found between the hooves of horses
For never will cowards fall down there.'

Histoire de Guillaume le Mareschal

www.elizabethchadwick.com

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boswellbaxter
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Post by boswellbaxter » Fri December 26th, 2008, 4:07 pm

[quote=""Misfit""]Thanks Tely and EC. The two Bigod brothers were really not in the story at all, except for constant references - I don't recall them actually being in the room as it were. It will be interesting to see what you think of this, the only knowledge I have of the period is from reading Falls the Shadow. Gelis does get a bit explanatory with the history and with her characters so it does get slow at times. She definitely didn't think all that highly of the de Montforts, although Henry III doesn't come off as any saint either. I think Edward was her boy.

Edited, although the Bigods don't have a lot of action in the book, much of the others players do. The de Montforts, Mortimer, Gloucester and even a Despenser or two. Gellis wrote in her notes that this is the one book of hers that has more historical characters involved in the story than her other books.[/quote]

Oh, I'll have to get this one (I think Amazon US is charging a great big penny for it). Thanks for the review.

Edited: I splurged and paid 18 cents for a copy from a local seller.
Susan Higginbotham
Coming in October: The Woodvilles


http://www.susanhigginbotham.com/
http://www.susanhigginbotham.com/blog/

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EC2
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Post by EC2 » Fri December 26th, 2008, 5:29 pm

[quote=""boswellbaxter""]Oh, I'll have to get this one (I think Amazon US is charging a great big penny for it). Thanks for the review.

Edited: I splurged and paid 18 cents for a copy from a local seller.[/quote]

Abebooks might have a cheaper copy Boswell. I got mine for 68p + postage from Abe UK, but Abe USA might have a copy for a good price too?

Ah! just seen your edit. No problem then!
Last edited by EC2 on Fri December 26th, 2008, 5:30 pm, edited 1 time in total.
Reason: seen a new comment.
Les proz e les vassals
Souvent entre piez de chevals
Kar ja li coard n’I chasront

'The Brave and the valiant
Are always to be found between the hooves of horses
For never will cowards fall down there.'

Histoire de Guillaume le Mareschal

www.elizabethchadwick.com

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boswellbaxter
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Post by boswellbaxter » Fri December 26th, 2008, 5:35 pm

Figured I'd get it faster if I ordered the copy from the NC seller--even though I did spend an extra 17 cents!
Susan Higginbotham
Coming in October: The Woodvilles


http://www.susanhigginbotham.com/
http://www.susanhigginbotham.com/blog/

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Misfit
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Post by Misfit » Fri December 26th, 2008, 9:32 pm

Big spenders, the both of you :) :) :p . Really looking forward to seeing what you think of Gellis' take on the history. I've only got Penman's book to go by.

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Telynor
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Post by Telynor » Fri December 26th, 2008, 10:04 pm

I see that I am going to have to go digging through my boxes of books to find this one again.

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