(From the publisher):
During the first half of the thirteenth century, two women dominated the scene. They were Isabella of Angouleme who had been Queen of England, and Blanche of Castile, who was Queen of France. Isabella -- one of the most sensually alluring women who ever lived, and who was in her days compared with Helen of Troy -- became the wife of King John and the mother of Henry III. Blanche was the wife of Louis VIII and mother of Louis IX.
After the death of John, Isabella took her daughter to Lusignan in order that she might be prepared for marriage with Count Hugh, Isabella's lover of long before; but when she saw him she decided to marry him herself. Thereafter he became her slave. Reckless, proud, vindictive, Isabella was determined to have her own way; and she and Blanche hated each other from the moment they first met. There could not have been two women less alike than the darkly flamboyant, passionate Isabella and the serenely virtuous blonde Blanche. Two qualities they shared though -- beauty and ambition.
Those were turbulent days for England. The French were actually on English soil when Henry came to the throne, but those sturdy barons, William Marshall and Hubert de Burgh, were determined to restore England to the English. King John's young family were growing up and each going his or her different way -- some happy, some tragic. There was Joan, cheated of the man she loved by her own mother; young Isabella who became the petted wife of an Emperor; Eleanor who made a secret match with Simon de Montfort, a man who was later to make his mark on English history; Richard, the bold younger brother, who was certain that he should have been the first born and inherited the crown; and Henry, in these days unsure of himself and determined that none should forget that he was the King.
The French Court was dominated by Blanche, first with her husband Louis, the kindly man who lacked the strength necessary to a violent age, and afterward with her son Louis IX. In opposition to Blanche was Isabella, with her husband Hugh, determined to destroy Blanche and stop at nothing -- not even murder -- in her efforts to do so.
Original title: The Battle of the Queens
Genre: Fiction→ Historical→ The "royals"
Fiction→ Historical→ European→ British Isles→ England