Thursday, February 6, 2014

Review: "Isabella: Braveheart of France" by Colin Falconer

Isabella is just twelve years old when she marries Edward II of England. For the young princess it is love at first sight - but Edward has a terrible secret that threatens to tear their marriage - and England apart.

Who is Piers Gaveston - and why is his presence in the king’s court about to plunge England into civil war?

The young queen believes in the love songs of the troubadours and her own exalted destiny - but she finds reality very different. As she grows to a woman in the deadly maelstrom of Edward’s court, she must decide between her husband, her children, even her life - and one breath-taking gamble that will change the course of history.

Does she submit to a lifetime of solitude and a spiritual death - or seize her destiny and take the throne of England for herself?

This is the story of Isabella, the only woman ever to invade England - and win.

My Thoughts:  My first encounter with Isabella occurred when I watched the movie 'Braveheart' for the first time.  While her character in the movie is almost entirely fictional, I found myself wanting to know more about her.  Though she has been dubbed 'the she-wolf of France', the depiction of her in Isabella: Braveheart of France is much more sympathetic.

Falconer's Isabella is an impressive figure.  She is incredibly intelligent and much better suited to the role of ruler than her husband.  She was not a meek and obedient wife/queen that would have been the norm back then and she has gone down in history because of it.  While I found her to be a very admirable character, she didn't necessarily have an easy life.  All she ever wanted was to love and be loved and that just seemed to elude her.  Her husband was incapable of loving her and Mortimer saw her only as a conquest.  She seemed so lonely and desperate for love and I couldn't help but feel bad for her.

This book is very short but the story is engaging.  The other characters are very well-developed and interesting and I really enjoyed reading about the political climate in England during this period.  This is a great read if you are interested in medieval England.  3 stars.

About the Author: 

Born in London, Colin first trialed as a professional football player in England, and was eventually brought to Australia. He went to Sydney and worked in TV and radio and freelanced for many of Australia’s leading newspapers and magazines. He has published over twenty novels and his work has so far been translated into 23 languages.

He travels regularly to research his novels and his quest for authenticity has led him to run with the bulls in Pamplona, pursue tornadoes across Oklahoma and black witches across Mexico, go cage shark diving in South Africa and get tear gassed in a riot in La Paz.

His most recent novels are Silk Road, set in the 13th century, and Stigmata, set against the backdrop of the Albigensian Crusade in Southern France in 1209. He currently lives in Barcelona.

For more information please visit Colin Falconer's blog. You can also find him on Facebook or follow on Twitter.

Check out other stops on the tour here!
Follow the tour on Twitter: #IsabellaTour


  1. Sounds like an interesting book! I've come to love reading historical books like these. The Other Boleyn Girl really got me hooked, so now I'm trying to find other authors that are similar

  2. I've actually never seen Braveheart. I have seen tiny pieces of it, but never sat down to watch it, so I had no idea that was what this book was about. I do actually have a copy of this book that I haven't had a chance to read yet, but now I'm even more excited for it!


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