Bells peal across the city. The town is hung with banners. Edward of England arrives in a thunder of hooves, his men dressed in royal livery, scarlet with yellow lions. He jumps down from his horse, his cloak swirling, and tosses back a mane of golden hair. He is like a song a troubadour might sing.
He carries himself with the loose-limbed stride of a man accustomed to having others make way for him. He is tall, and blue eyed, and smiles at her with such easy charm it makes her blush.
It is love at first sight.
Her father presents her and as she steps forward she raises her eyes, hoping to see that glorious smile again. But his attention is already elsewhere, on her father, on the bishop, on her uncle, Valois.
“We should get to business,” he says.
For three days they talk about Gascony. England camps outside the town, a forest of pavilions flourishes outside the walls, as if they are besieged. There is not a room to be had anywhere, beggars and camp followers sleep in porches and gateways, the town is bursting. Isabella patrols the battlements and passages, anxious for a glimpse of him. They cannot be married until they settle the politics.
She hates it here. Boulogne is grey and cold. The banners seem to be fading in the rain.
She closes her eyes and imagines him. He is hers. Her father was right, she is fortunate. He is beautiful, he is a king and he is all hers.
* * * * *
She was taught to obey. Now she has learned to rebel.
12 year old Isabella, a French princess marries the King of England – only to discover he has a terrible secret. Ten long years later she is in utter despair – does she submit to a lifetime of solitude and a spiritual death – or seize her destiny and take the throne of England for herself?
Isabella is just twelve years old when she marries Edward II of England. For the young princess it is love at first sight – but Edward has a terrible secret that threatens to tear their marriage – and England apart.
Who is Piers Gaveston – and why is his presence in the king’s court about to plunge England into civil war?
The young queen believes in the love songs of the troubadours and her own exalted destiny – but she finds reality very different. As she grows to a woman in the deadly maelstrom of Edward’s court, she must decide between her husband, her children, even her life – and one breath-taking gamble that will change the course of history.
This is the story of Isabella, the only woman ever to invade England – and win.
In the tradition of Philippa Gregory and Elizabeth Chadwick, ISABELLA is thoroughly researched and fast paced, the little known story of the one invasion the English never talk about.
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Genre – Historical Fiction
Rating – PG-13
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