Edward Longshanks by Jean Plaidy
The last time I read a Jean Plaidy was when I was around thirteen or fourteen. At around the same time I had read a historical novel on Anne Boleyn and one on Marie Antoinette. I cannot for the life of me, even to this day, remember the names of the novels and which one belonged to Plaidy…but I do remember being left quite breathless by the end of it all!
Edward Longshanks also known as the Hammer of the Scots, was a lovely page turner. I simply enjoyed reading it as the history of England under the ruler of Edward I came alive. I found it most interesting that that he was a family man besides being a warrior. I simply didn’t expect it – although I should have if I had read something on his history. It was quite fascinating and rather extraordinary, in a way, to read about a monarch who adored his children, especially his daughters, and loved his wife. He must be one of the few monarchs, if not the only one, to have ever been faithful to his wife!
On reading the previous paragraph I realise that I sound like the book was only about Edward’s family life. I can assure, it was really all about a king whose ambition is to do as much as he can for England unlike the two kings who preceded him – Henry III who was indolent and ruled by his extravagant wife and John, the cruel younger brother of Richard the Lion Heart. We find, in King Edward, someone who is intelligent and clever, knowing exactly how to win the hearts and the loyalty of his subject. We also see an excellent warrior and general who inspires his soldiers to fight to win no matter how bad the odds.
Featured in this novel is also William Wallace of Braveheart fame. But, unlike in the movie – which portrays Wallace as a savage celt – we see a man who belongs to a wealthy family and has had the best of education. However, he does have a temper that match Mel Gibson’s Wallace.
While this novel was a real treat, presenting facts within a fictitious guise, it fell short of something. I cannot quite describe it. It was perhaps the fact that I couldn’t quite immerse myself into the book. Or maybe, my having had to read this book in fits and starts so has to carry out my chores prevented me from getting too involved in the tale. Nevertheless, this is what is responsible for my giving Edward Longshanks merely 4 stars on goodreads, although, I would have given it 4-1/2 starts if that were possible.
I would definitely recommend this book to anyone who enjoys history and a good story told.