A majestic High Middle Ages series continues in Chadwick's latest (after For the King's Favor) as Mahelt "Matty" Marshal, the daughter of legendary British knight William Marshal, becomes a bride at 14.
Though the marriage, to Hugh Bigod, future earl of Norfolk, is arranged, Matty is open to it and embraces the passion that eventually comes. She bears Bigod four children and enjoys a peaceful life until tyrannical King John takes her paternal family hostage, first her brother Will, heir to the earldom of Pembroke, then her brother Richard, and finally her father, who has openly opposed the king's greed and land-grabbing.
Matty's determination to save her father and brothers while also standing by her husband and keeping her new family safe creates both conflict and, ultimately, joyous rewards in a well-told saga filled with just the right amount of exacting period detail. Both longtime fans and readers new to Chadwick's series will be thrilled.
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A young Jewish woman is drawn into the splendor and corruption surrounding the court of the Borgia pope, Alexander VI, in Bower's debut, a slick historical soap opera.
After Esther Sarfati is baptized and becomes a lady-in-waiting to the widowed Lucrezia Borgia, the pope's illegitimate daughter, she is attracted to Lucrezia's seductive and cruel brother, Cesare. Esther becomes ensnared in a web of deceit and betrayal as Lucrezia is sent in a political marriage to the powerful Alfonso d'Este, heir to the dukedom of Ferrara. Determined to pursue a romance with the elusive Cesare, Esther is increasingly drawn into the schemes and passions of the Ferrara and Borgia families.
While Esther's blind love for the careless and usually absent Cesare strains belief, the sheer grandeur of the papal and Ferrara courts, and the spectacle of the Borgia and Ferrara siblings' rivalries and revenges form a glittering take on one of the most notorious families of the Italian Renaissance.
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