Paperback, 560 pages
Released: March 1, 2011
Publisher: Sourcebooks Landmark
A story of huge emotional power set against the road to Magna Carta and the fight to bring a tyrant king to heel.The privileged daughter of one of the most powerful men in England, Mahelt Marshal's life changes dramatically when her father is suspected by King John. Her brothers become hostages and Mahelt is married to Hugh Bigod, heir to the earldom of Norfolk. Adapting to her new life is hard, but Mahelt comes to love Hugh deeply; however, defying her father-in-law brings disgrace and heartbreak. When King John sets out to subdue the Bigods, Mahelt faces a heartbreaking battle, fearing neither she, nor her marriage, is likely to survive the outcome ...My Rating: 4.5 / 5
Politics were played out quite differently in the Marshall & Bigod families. Mahelt Marshall grew up trying to keep up with her two older brothers, she is strong willed & would be considered rebellious for this time period. Although her family stands behind the King, they also seek that fine balance between loyalty to king & family. After her arranged marriage to Hugh Bigod, Mahelt's outspoken behavior is not as accepted. Her father-in-law is strict and does what he feels is necessary to appease the King, even if he may not agree with it. As noted in the author's notes, not much is known of Mahelt's personality, but Elizabeth Chadwick brings her alive! What I especially loved to see was how Hugh took to accepting Mahelt for who she was, he did not try to tame her & you can see a little bit of her had rubbed off. One character you will love to hate is the selfish, Longspee who happens to be Hugh's half-brother as well as one of the King's favorites.
Elizabeth Chadwick is one amazing storyteller! To Defy A King shows us how loyalty and honor are more then just obeying a tyrant King. This is not a fast paced novel, but rather one to be savored. Elizabeth has also previously written a few books following the life of the Marshalls & Bigods The Greatest Knight, The Scarlet Lion and The Time of Singing which I am eagerly hunting down. If you are like me and love travelling back in time, I think you'll want to devour Elizabeth Chadwick's books.