Isabella of France: The Rebel Queen By Kathryn Warner


“On Thursday 25 January 1308 at the church of Notre-Dame in Boulogne, northern France, a glittering event took place: the wedding of the king of England and the king of France’s daughter.”

Once again this is a non-fiction book that focuses on a period of history that I absolutely love and that of course is the Medieval period. I’ve seen this book and others written by this author floating around for a little while now and knew it was an author I wanted to get to soon. So after reviewing another book for the awesome Amberley Publishing and sending the details of that back to Philip he asked if there were any other books off of the press release that he had previous sent me that I would be interested in reviewing for them. When I saw that there was a book on the press release by the author Kathryn Warner I knew that I had to read it and review it on my blog. So, once again I would like to thank Philip at Amberley Publishing for being so kind and sending me a copy in exchange for a fair and honest review.

Isabella of France: The Rebel Queen by Kathryn Warner was first published in hardback in 2016 and the paperback version which is the version I read and reviewed for Amberley Publishing was published in 2017. This book centres on (Official Blurb): “Isabella of France (c.1295-1358), who married Edward II in January 1308, is one of the most notorious women in English history. In 1325/26, sent to her homeland to negotiate a peace settlement between her husband and her brother Charles IV, Isabella refused to return to England. She began a relationship with her husband’s deadliest enemy, the English baron Roger Mortimer, and with her son, the King’s heir, under their control, the pair led an invasion of England which ultimately resulted in Edward II’s forced abdication in January 1327 in favour of his and Isabella’s son. Isabella and Mortimer ruled England during Edward III’s minority, until he over threw them in October 1330. A rebel against her own husband and King, regent for her son, Isabella was a powerful, capable, intelligent woman who forced the first ever abdication of a King in England and changed the course of English history. The Rebel Queen examines Isabella’s life with particular focus on her revolutionary actions in the 1320s, corrects the many myths about her, and provides a vivid account of this most fascinating and influential of women.”

The first thing I would like to say about this book is the fact it is a clear, concise, well-written and well-researched account of the life and times of Isabella of France. Over the last few years I have read my fair share of biographies on Medieval Queens and this one is definitely a good book on the history of Queen Isabella who was the wife of Edward II of England. However, the first part of this biography did feel to be more about Edward II than Isabella. However, on the other hand, it should be made clear that Isabella’s early life is inextricably linked with that of her husband. So, it is understandable that quite a big part of this biography would focus on Edward as well.

Throughout the whole of this book you are presented with information that is interesting, relevant and well-researched. The whole reading process of this book was really enjoyable and a bonus for anyone that is new to this period and historical figure of medieval history is the fact that this history book is easy to read.  Kathryn Warner’s style of writing is very accessible and her narrative flows effortlessly.

Overall, this was a very interesting read and I would highly recommend it to anyone who is interested in this subject and wants to learn more or has a love of Medieval history.

“Both Isabella and Edward II have been poorly served by writers, and were as far removed from their reputations in popular culture as any two people possibly could be. Edward was a million miles from being cowardly, feeble but vicious, effeminate fop loathed by his wife; Isabella was million miles both from being an evil, manipulative, vengeful, murderous she-wolf and a desperate housewife stuck in a supposedly hateful marriage on the search for true love who allowed herself to become the passive victim of unscrupulous men.”

The edition I read was published by Amberley Publishing (2017).

(Image is my own please do not take/copy without permission first).


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