Thursday, August 06, 2009

Book Review: THE FOLLIES OF THE KING by Jean Plaidy

Starting this novel was a background read for me even if it is number eight in the Plantagenet series. Since reading "The First Princess of Wales" by Karen Harper I have been dying to know more about the princess of France who became Queen Isabella of England. The notorious queen who with her lover plotted and disposed the king Edward II. He was brutally murdered after being disposed by his wife. I have devolved a tendency to fall back on Plaidy's novels when I want to clear up murky waters I am wading in. Once again she never fails to make sense of nonsense in my mind. Plaidy now has become my "ole reliable" of historical fiction authors.

Rightly titled "The Follies of the King". Edward was oblivious to those around him. The queen being viewed as an outsider. The king had established a boys only club sticking to a exclusive one person membership policy. I believe Edward would not have been with the queen had it not been his duty as king. He was happy with his "brother" and "nephew". Little known to Edward meek Isabella looked at him with contempt and waited bidding her time until she could have her revenge on the king who spent his time frolicking with his pretty male lovers and not her. He would pay.

Plaidy wrote "But perhaps Mortimer was merly a tool. She would have found another lover, another man to lead her armies. She was his real enemy, the She-Wolf of France." Edward's refection of Isabella. A husband and wife at war could never end well for both sides, only one person can win. Edward never had a chance, even he had admitted that he did it to himself. He was even at on point getting fussy and repetitive. I got tired of how he became enamoured with his lover and was like putty in their hands. A woman's scorn is a very scary force to be reckoned with and since Isabella's husbands affairs were so blatant the humiliation became public knowledge. The people of England especially London loved her dearly.

Edward II failures to be a king to England became his down fall and Isabella just helped it along at first and then went head long into her own battle against the King. She offer up her son in replacement of his father with her as regent of course. Changing the course of kings has to come with consequences. Plaidy always has a way of twisting what you think happened to what could more likely have happened. I think Isabella went poking at a bee hive and this book ends before the bees swarm her. The swarm is all for the next book "Vow of the Heron, number nine in the series.

Three muses: Worth reading for more background. Medially recommended. It was good for background, it made sense and was not lacking. The brutality did not bother me so much as it might others. I defiantly would not recommend it to my mother but probably my sister though!
"Edward the Second's first act on coming to the throne is to recall Piers Gaveston from exile, and the new king's devotion to the shrewd and avaricious young man soon becomes a scandal. It is assumed that when Edward marries one of the most beautiful princesses in Europe his inclinations will change, but nothing can make him swerve from his attachment to Gaveston, who is clearly making the most of royal favour. The new Queen Isabella, accustomed to adulation, is bitterly humilated; and she is not a woman to forget or forgive. With the country in turmoil the king is making enemies throughout the land, and he fails to see that the most deadly of these is his queen. "


  1. Very good review. I haven't had the chance yet to read any of her Plantagenet stuff yet, but it sounds good. I am currently reading her The Merry Monarch's Wife.

  2. I love that about the 'scorn of a woman..' Great review and this is DEFINITELy one I want to read. Thanks:)

  3. Thank you, this is my first read of any of her Plantagenet novels. I was very curious about the series. I have the Merry Monarch's Wife on my list. Looking forward to your review of it.

  4. I know the scorn thing very well and could relate with her feelings of wanting redemption. It was a hard core ending though and now I really want to read the next.


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