The Lion of Justice by Jean Plaidy is the second book in the author’s Norman Trilogy, but I haven’t read the first one, I don’t think that was a problem though. It was first published in 1975. She wrote under several pseudonyms including Victoria Holt.
I must admit that I was a wee bit disappointed with this one when I began to read it as the writing style seemed quite chunky when compared with more modern writers of historical fiction. There’s a lot of very obvious info-dumping, however I got used to the style and ended up enjoying it although I would only give it three stars.
Scottish princesses Edith and her sister Mary have been placed in a nunnery after the death of their mother Queen of Scotland. The nunnery is run by their aunt Christina who is determined that they will take the veil. The girls aren’t enamoured with that idea though and hope that they will be able to get married in the future, this incenses Aunt Christina the mother superior and she becomes more and more violent, especially towards Edith. So when some men from the royal court visit them they see their chance to escape. Edith hangs on for a son of the Conqueror. Henry is the youngest of that dead king’s sons, and is third in line to the throne. As you can imagine Edith is quite happy to change her name to Matilda as Henry asks her to. She’s of Saxon blood and the Norman Henry’s idea is that if he does become king marrying a Saxon will make him popular with the common people. But Henry is a philanderer and already has multiple illegitimate children, that’s all such a heart-ache for the young Matilda over the years.
Henry spends a lot of time in Normandy and when he’s not there he’s often in Wales with Nesta, his favourite other woman of long standing. Actually that part reminded me so much of another heir to the throne!
Anyway, I don’t think I will rush to read the other books in this trilogy but it was fairly entertaining.