Sunday 12 July 2020

MELUSINE by Gemma Lawrence @TudorTweep

4.5 out of 5 stars

On Amazon UK
On Goodreads

How I discovered this book: A favourite author, I always look out for her new books.

In A Nutshell: Book #2 of the Heirs of Anarchy series, about the Empress Matilda, daughter of and heir to Henry I of England.

So sad to see Matilda without her beloved Heinrich... the book starts with her unhappy marriage to the boy Geoffrey of Anjou; between them they were to bring about the era of the Plantagenets, with the later birth of their son, who would become Henry II of England (one of my favourite kings).

Matilda is very much a Lawrence heroine; born centuries before her time, independent, always questioning, deeply perceptive, self-critical, capable of much dark thought but with a great strength and capacity for love, and the belief that she can make great changes in the world.  This is a slower-paced book than the first, with much philosophical pondering and magical symbolism (which Ms Lawrence does so well), and also some delightful insight into the way in which the people lived. I love to read this, in particular, especially when she provides little snapshots of the lives of the common people.

My favourite part of the book was the last third when it stepped up a notch, with more events, such as Matilda's return to Anjou, her reconciliation and progress with Geoffrey, the births of their children and the conflict with her father.  This part, in particular, was fabulous, and I was completely engrossed.

Melusine ends with the news that Stephen of Blois has taken the English throne - I have long been fascinated by how this could be allowed to happen, and the struggle Matilda faced simply because she was a woman, so very much look forward to the next book!