Thursday, March 3, 2011

To Defy a King by Elizabeth Chadwick - Review

I would rather be repeatedly bashed in the head with a moldy 2x4 than read this book again.

The adored and spirited daughter of England's greatest knight, Mahelt Marshal lives a privileged life.  But when her beloved father falls foul of the volatile and dangerous King John, her world is shattered.  The king takes her brothers hostage and Mahelt's planned marriage to Hugh Bigod, son of the Earl of Norfolk, takes place sooner than she expected.  Mahelt and Hugh come to care for each other deeply, but Hugh's strict father clashes with the rebellious Mahelt.  When more harsh demands from King John threaten to tear the couple's lives apart, Mahelt finds herself facing her worst fears alone, not know if she - or her marriage- will survive. (taken from the back of the book )

Sounds pretty exciting, doesn't it?  I thought so too until I started to read.  In fact, I had planned to put in this review in the morning, but I just can't sleep with this book rattling around in my head.  I have a few things that I need to get off my chest.

First, this book is boring.  I'm sorry, but it is.  It may be historically accurate, but I can write a historically accurate depiction of me stepping in grape jelly this morning.  That doesn't mean it's going to be interesting.  There's a huge difference between carrying the reader with you to watch a beloved character being viciously kidnapped by an unjust king and a girl getting a letter that says 'Oh!  By the way, the King took your brother!'  Please!  What a cop out!  And this is a huge book!  All those wasted words just make me angry! 

Secondly, I don't care how historically accurate it is, I do not, DO NOT, care to read explicit sex scenes starring a 14 year old CHILD!  I do not care that it was acceptable back then, it is not acceptable now and I for one want no part of it.  I will admit that there are times when a sex scene can be necessary, sometimes enjoyable.  In this book, it's simply there to show the progression of their relationship.  It's portrayed as a loving scene and invites the reader to simply forget that this is a child bride and think of her as a fully grown woman, especially when shortly thereafter she becomes pregnant.  Again, I realize this may be historically accurate, but it definitely could have been told without being told in the manner it was.  I do NOT want to be told exactly where and how this child was being touched!

I was expecting an adventurous, romantic read and I ended up disappointed and angry.  For once, I can't even cite flawed editing as my point of anger.  I can tell you this:  I'll never read another Elizabeth Chadwick book.  And now, having purged my views on this book, I'm off to slumber :)

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