Title: The Agincourt Bride (Catherine de Valois #1)
Author: Joanna Hickson
Release Date: January 3, 2013
Acquired Via: Personal Collection
Her beauty fuelled a war.
Her courage captured a king.
Her passion would launch the Tudor dynasty.
When her own first child is tragically still-born, the young Mette is pressed into service as a wet-nurse at the court of the mad king, Charles VI of France. Her young charge is the princess, Catherine de Valois, caught up in the turbulence and chaos of life at court.
Mette and the child forge a bond, one that transcends Mette’s lowly position.
But as Catherine approaches womanhood, her unique position seals her fate as a pawn between two powerful dynasties. Her brother, The Dauphin and the dark and sinister, Duke of Burgundy will both use Catherine to further the cause of France.
Catherine is powerless to stop them, but with the French defeat at the Battle of Agincourt, the tables turn and suddenly her currency has never been higher. But can Mette protect Catherine from forces at court who seek to harm her or will her loyalty to Catherine place her in even greater danger?
The Agincourt Bride is a historical fiction novel by Joanna Hickson that chronicles the life of Catherine de Valois from her birth to her crossing to England, as "told" by her nursemaid, Mette. I bought this book on my Kindle and Audible accounts ages ago because I was interested by the premise, but I must admit it was getting on this tour that pushed me to get to reading it sooner than I would have otherwise.
Since I tend to enjoy historical fiction more if I don't know the full story behind them beforehand (especially if there are liberties taken), I went into the novel knowing that Catherine de Valois was Henry VIII's great-grandmother and that her brother only took the French throne by his brothers' bad luck. That being said, I was able to explore the gorgeously written French court with a fresh mind. I don't know which, if any, characters are fictional, and I was able to enjoy them in regard to their roles in the story.
The one thing that stood out the most to me in The Agincourt Bride was the treatment of women in the novel. Hickson pulled no punches and made this aspect of the novel historically accurate. Mette was lucky in that she had a loving and understanding husband and family, but it was the Middle Ages. Sucky things did happen. Two main female characters were raped in the novel, and it was hard for me to read. I know what I find to be graphic is probably different from other people, but I had to skip ahead at one part. Don't get me wrong - none of this was gratuitous. These scenes illustrated the horrible treatment of women in war and by society in general, as well as the depravity of a horrible individual.
While The Agincourt Bride showed us the awful situations that women had to face in that time, the two main characters - Mette and Catherine - did not let the world box them in. They each found a way to survive and thrive as best they could in a man's world. Catherine was also presented in such a way that I liked her very, very much despite almost always having read pro-English historical fiction.
The Agincourt Bride was an excellent novel that taught me a lot about history, and it has inspired me to read more about that time period. Since The Agincourt Bride ends relatively early in Catherine's life, I sincerely hope that there will be more books with her and Mette.
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About the Author
Joanna Hickson spent twenty-five years at the BBC writing and presenting for radio and television. Gripped by Shakespeare’s historical plays, Joanna began researching the King Henry V’s ‘fair Kate’ as a schoolgirl and the story of Catherine de Valois and the Tudor genesis has remained with her throughout life. She lives in an old farmhouse in Wiltshire and is married with a large family and a wayward Irish terrier.
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The Agincourt Bride Tour Schedule
Monday, August 18th
Wednesday, August 20th
No More Grumpy Bookseller
Thursday, August 21st
Monday, August 25th
Fuelled by Fiction
Wednesday, August 27th
Ageless Pages Reviews
Friday, August 29th
Monday, September 1st
00 Pages a Day … Stephanie’s Book
Tuesday, September 2nd
Wednesday, September 3rd
Thursday, September 4th
Time 2 Read
Friday, September 5th
Friday, September 5th
Peeking Between the Pages
Thursday, September 11th
Svetlana’s Reads and Views
To satisfy FTC guidelines, I am disclosing that I reviewed my own copy of the novel for TLC Book Tours. As always, all expressed opinions are awesome, honest, and completely my own.