Tuesday, September 21, 2010

'For the King's Favor'- Elizabeth Chadwick

Genre: Historical Fiction

About: (From Sourcebooks)
Based on a true story never before told and impeccably researched, this is a testament to the power of sacrifice and the strength of love. When Roger Bigod, heir to the powerful earldom of Norfolk, arrives at court to settle an inheritance, he meets Ida de Tosney, young mistress to King Henry II. In Roger, Ida sees a chance for lasting love, but their decision to marry carries an agonizing price. It's a breathtaking novel of making choices, not giving up, and coping with the terrible shifting whims of the king. 

Why I wanted to read this book:
  • I really enjoy historical fiction and the chance to glean new information about a time long ago. I'm also fascinated by  English royalty..heck, any royalty actually. I like being on the sideline and trying to imagine their lives as I read a book.

Some interesting things that I learned:
  • King Henry II was a child molester! What else do you call an old man who feels the need to bed a 15 year-old girl??? I just loved how he justified the whole thing and tried to convince Ida that she wasn't a whore, that she was one of the lucky ones because HE chose her. Poor girl!!!
  • Being a part of the royal court is much like playing chess. Every move is strategically thought out. Nothing is ever done unless the other person can gain something from it.
  • A widow could pay a widow fee to the King and if she did this then he couldn't force her to remarry. I so would've been hiding my money to save up for when my husband died. Could you imagine not having a choice in who you marry??? And being forced by the king to marry whoever he may pick? Not to mention being extorted by the King so that you didn't have to marry again...what a racket!
  • I loved reading about this era in history, but I'm ever so thankful that I didn't live during that time! There is no way I would want men to have complete and utter control of my life.
  • Ida de Tosney was a fascinating woman and I'm so glad that I was introduced to her by way of this book. It's amazing to me that a girl so young was put in a situation where she was forced to become the mistress of the king. From the moment the king steals her virginity, she slowly begins to lose her innocence and naivity. She finds that she  needs to be clever and cunning for it would serve her well as she aged. She was a wonderful mother who suffered a loss that many of us couldn't imagine, yet she came through it with her dignity and ultimately in the end, the winner.
  • I totally enjoyed the love story between Roger and Ida..very believable and beautiful.
What didn't work for me:
  • It was a bit heavy on the men instead of focusing on Ida. I think I would've preferred this story written from Ida's POV.  
Recommend? Absolutely to lovers of royal Historical Fiction. I really enjoyed Chadwick's writing and can easily say that I would read another book by her. She has done an amazing job with her research. I think it would be fun to be her assistant!!

My Rating: 4/5

SourceDanielle @ Sourcebooks, Inc Publicity
Author: Elizabeth Chadwick- click on her name to visit her website
Published: September, 2010
Publisher:  Sourcebooks Landmark
Pages: 522 (Uncorrected ARC)
Genre:  Historical Fiction
ISBN: 99781402244490
© 2010, Staci of Life in the Thumb. All Rights Reserved. If you reading this on a site other than, Life in the Thumb or Staci's feed, be aware that this post has been stolen and is used without permission.


  1. I'm a historical fiction fan too, Staci. I think POV of the main female character would be a good thing :)

  2. Life at court could be brutal! I would not want to live during that time. Great review.

  3. Wowwwwwwwwwwwww! This sounds really good Staci!! Thanks for sharing it... I am gonna add this to my to read list! :):):):):):):):):):):):):):):):)

  4. I guess to be fair to the King in those times you were lucky to live to 50 so 15 was probably considered prime of your life. But still ewww.

    This sounds like a really good book. I enjoy historical fiction and this is a time that has not yet been extensively covered.

  5. Yet another book to add to my list of books I want to read that you have reviewed! Sounds great, I love this kind of thing too!

  6. I wouldn't go as for as to call Henry that, it was another time, women married at 14 and died at 30 if unlucky. In that aspect I am glad I live now..still look at that pretty dress!

  7. I'm glad I didn't live in those times, either....the idea of men controlling everything appalls me!

    Actually, we're not that far away from that concept. Try mid-century US history (mid-twentieth century).

  8. I love historical fiction so I will be adding this to my list :).

    Have I told you how much I enjoy your reviews - so much information but not a book report (HA).

  9. As much as I love reading about this time period I know I would not have been very successful in it. Love living vicariously though.

  10. I've got to try a Tudor book - everyone seems to love them!!

  11. So glad you enjoyed this one. My experience with EC have been hit or miss, but I will try this one when I'm ready to give her a go again. Excellent review Staci!

  12. Yeah, actually I think 15 was kind of on the older side in those days for marrying. AND they didn't have toilet paper. It was not a good time to live!

  13. nice review, sounds like a good read. Sometimes I think royalty were the real barbarians.

  14. That was a great review. What a long book, but it does sound good.

  15. I'm a fan of historical fiction about royalty but I haven't read an Elizabeth Chadwick book before. I will put it on my wish list now though! Great review!

  16. Historical fiction is fun to read but it always makes me happy to be living now.

  17. I'm about 56% through this one... :)

    - MJ


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