Since Daphne, Marg and I have been driving everyone nuts the last six months asking when May was going to arrive and bring us the latest Chadwick Novel, To Defy a King, we thought we'd have some fun and do a countdown and talk a bit about why we love Elizabeth Chadwick. To kick it off we're talking about some of our favorite Chadwick books and you can read Daphne's post here.
I first came across her books about four years ago when I was *new* to the historical fiction genre. In my younger days I read just about anything, but more recently I’d been reading true crime, and whilst trying to find something different I discovered Joan Wolf’s awesome Born of the Sun buried in a forgotten stack of books and after that I never looked back. I explored historical romances a bit and then found Anya Seton and *gasp* yes Philippa Gregory. I loved PG’s books then, but not sure about now….Somehow Chadwick’s books started showing up on my Amazon rec’s and I ordered Falcons of Montabard and I became a serious Chadwickholic. I had to have them all and I had to have them now. Fortunately I bought them before she lost her US publisher and those books started to become hard to find and spendy – although I was too busy clicking the purchase button and to pay attention to all the prices. I shudder at what I paid for Daughters of the Grail and The Leopard Unleashed but live and learn. Besides, last time I looked they're even more expensive now.
For me The Falcons of Montabard had it all – I loved watching Sabin mature from a young hellion into a fierce, noble warrior as well as a loving, gentle husband (he is such a H.U.N.K.). You'll feel like you're there as you experience the sights, sounds and smells of Outremer (Israel). Annais was a great female lead, first wed to a man she cares for but doesn’t love to her steamy (and I do mean steamy) relationship with Sabin. And what a nail biting finish – just when you thought it was over Chadwick takes the reader on a hell of a ride.
Next up for me was Shadows and Strongholds. A coming of age story, this book is the story of Fulke "Brunin" Fitzwarin, and takes him from childhood to manhood. As a young boy, Brunin withdraws into himself to avoid the pain from his domineering overbearing grandmother, and his father sends him to train as a squire to Joscelin de Dinan. As Brunin blossoms under Joscelin's care, he eventually becomes a strong young man and a knight to be reckoned with as he learns to deal with the shadows of his youth and banish them forever. The relationship between Brunin and Hawise is very sweet and one I’ve revisited several times – if I’m in a book slump this is always a sure fire bet to cure it.
No matter which one you pick, you’re always guaranteed of a magic carpet ride to the medieval period. No one, but no one, sucks me into another century like Elizabeth Chadwick. And check out the very cool widget Daphne came up with,