Thursday, June 26, 2014

A Triple Knot by Emma Campion

Title : A Triple Knot
Author : Emma Campion
Series : N/A, Standalone
Genre : Historical Fiction
Number of Pages : 480
Publication Date : July 8th, 2014
Publisher : Broadway Books

Rating :

I received this book as a free copy from NetGalley. These books are given to me as review copies to read and evaluate. I am not obligated to write a review for any of the books I receive, but it is an encouraged practice. I choose which books I review on my blog and on my Goodreads profile. I do not receive monetary compensation for my reviews. My reviews are always honest...I never lie about books. My opinions are my own and may be positive or negative depending on my feelings about a specific piece. Keep in mind, just because I may like or not like a book may not mean that you will feel the same way.

Joan of Kent, renowned beauty and cousin to King Edward III, is destined for a politically strategic marriage. As the king begins a long dynastic struggle to claim the crown of France, plunging England into the Hundred Years' War, he negotiates her betrothal to a potential ally and heir of a powerful lordship.

But Joan, haunted by nightmares of her father's execution at the hands of her treacherous royal kin, fears the king's selection and is not resigned to her fate. She secretly pledges herself to one of the king's own knights, one who has become a trusted friend and protector. Now she must defend her vow as the king -- furious at Joan's defiance -- prepares to marry her off to another man.
-Abbreviated Goodreads blurb

I have been away from historical fiction for quite a while, so getting back into it with a book by an author I'd never read before made me a bit nervous. I suppose it probably shouldn't have, but it did. In truth, I've read a lot of YA fiction lately, which makes for pretty laid back, easy reading. I knew that going back into historical fiction would require more attention to my reading and would be more of a mindful endeavor.

I was right about the need to focus. Reading A Triple Knot was a little bit of a slower read than my more recent ones. But this was not due to a lack of interest in the novel. I find that any time I'm dealing with historical fiction, specifically that regarding the British monarchy, it takes me a little more work. Too many Johns, Edwards, and Margarets to keep track of. So I certainly didn't hold this change of pace against the narrative in any way.

In fact, once I got rolling, I found that keeping track of her characters really wasn't too bad. Phew. That's a testament to some decent writing. And even better...I loved the story.

Joan is a good character. She is a bright and brave girl, born in the wrong era for the power she wishes to wield. The control she wants over her own life was certainly not something she or other women were really allowed to have during that time period, especially those who held status as a daughter in the monarch's familial line. But she does the best she can to live the way she chooses under the oppression she faces.

Edward, the Black Prince, is also portrayed quite well. He's a man easy to hate. He is manipulative, charismatic, and devious. He seems highly characteristic of the term "power corrupts, and absolute power corrupts absolutely." Edward gets away (quite literally in some cases) with murder and yet is exalted and praised as a leader. For as much as I disliked him (and how much he seriously creeped me out), he was written wonderfully.

I really enjoyed this book. It reads very well. In fact, Emma Campion's writing reminds me a lot of Philippa Gregory's style. Gregory is one of my favorite historical fiction writers, so that definitely didn't hurt. I didn't know much about this time period in the British monarchy history, but this book made me want to learn about it. To me, that was a sign that I was reading a good book. If I'm curious, then I'm thinking. If I'm thinking, then I'm interested.

There was one teensy little hitch. The conclusion of the novel ended in a difficult spot for me as a reader and left me feeling a little bit wanting. But I'll admit that it was actually a good place to stop in terms of wrapping up a portion of the historical story. This spot in history also provides a good setup should she ever want to continue the story via a sequel. Again, this tactic also led me to become more curious about what really happened...making me want to look into the historical accounts of the period. Score another point for the novel.

Without a doubt, I would read more of Campion's work.


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