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Interesting Read About A Little Known Woman !

  • Aug 8, 2010
Rating:
+4
I picked up "The King's Mistress" wondering how I would like it. I had never heard of Alice Perrers and had never read anything by Emma Campion. It turns out that Emma Campion is from my part of the world - and I wish that there were other works by her that I could read!

Alice Perrers was the daughter of a Hertfordshire knight whose life span is said to have been approximately from 1348 to 1400. I found the following description of Alice's character on the Middle- [...] website " She was an ambitious, unscrupulous, indiscreet and greedy woman of humble origins who became one of the most powerful figures at royal court of Edward III". Ms. Campion is, as I have learned the foremost scholar on Alice Perrers and I think that she might disagree about this characterization. Ambitious? Yes, to keep herself and her family intact and comfortable after the loss of her husband (which is in itself a rather interesting tale as presented in the book. Unscrupulous? Doesn't seem that way from reading this book. Indiscreet? No! From what I've gathered from this book it was others around her who were the indiscreet factions. Greedy? Again, it does not appear that way - although she did have a great business sense and used her assets - both personal and financial- well.

Alice was castigated as a whore when King Edward III seduced her during the time that Alice was in service to his Queen- Philippa of Hainault. Ms. Campion paints Alice as a young woman with a good business sense, whose loss of her husband, Janyn Perrers and mother-in-law frames the book with a mystery all it's own. Alice's character is presented as smart,beautiful, a good business woman but also as a rather obedient, cautious woman who was fearful about what the Court would think of her affair with the King. I thoroughly enjoyed this book and have stayed up later than I should every night hating to turn the light out and put the down. It's a fascinating glimpse of what the life of a widow and her life at Court migh well have been like. I hope that Emma Campion plans to add another title to credits - I will buy it as soon as I can based on my enjoyment of this novel!

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September 27, 2010
Sounds like an interesting read. Alice Perrers is a fascinating person from history.
 
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More The King's Mistress: A Novel reviews
review by . July 28, 2010
Alice Perrers was a phenomenal woman in medieval history and one of the most famous English courtesans who ever lived. In the days when women were second class citizens the beautiful Alice was ambitious and just plain greedy as she climbed up the greasy pole of success and eventually connived her way into the bed of King Edward III. As a non-royal person her success was astounding but she was certainly nothing like the pleasant, considerate woman described in this book but much more like the "devil's …
review by . June 28, 2010
The book jacket suggests Campion seeks to put a more human face on the reviled commoner, Alice Perrers, mistress to Edward III and lady-in-waiting to Philippa of Hainault. Although the author makes a valiant attempt to flesh out a figure spoken of with disdain in nearly every historical account, I found it difficult to empathize with this protagonist and her endless rationalizations for behavior that led to court gossip. As the wife of wealthy merchant, Janyn Perrers, Alice is content until she …
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Marie ()
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   I began life on the East Coast. When I received my pilot's license I began to move a lot for jobs. Eventually, not loving the low pay scale I moved to a flight director position - the … more
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Wiki

Alice Perrers scholar Campion debuts with a dynamic fictionalization of the life of Alice Salisbury, who, at 14, leaves family and best friend Geoffrey Chaucer behind to marry Janyn Perrers, a prominent merchant who has the patronage of Isabella, the Queen Mother. Alice accustoms herself to the royal lifestyle, grows close to her husband, and bears a daughter. Her happiness is destroyed when royal fortunes shift, Janyn disappears, and Alice is summoned to court by Queen Philippa. To secure her daughter's safety, Alice complies and is quickly drawn into the machinations and extravagance of Edward III's mid-14th-century court, where she captures the king's interest. Campion stays true to the facts of Alice's life as the mistress of Edward III, the mother of his son John, and a successful businesswoman. This is a detailed rendering of Edward III's court, one that provides an empathetic but realistic portrait of a colorful and, if Campion is to be believed, misunderstood woman.
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Details

ISBN-10: 0307589250
ISBN-13: 978-0307589255
Author: Emma Campion
Genre: Fiction, Historical Fiction
Publisher: Crown
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