Above painting: Louis Jean Francois - Mars and Venus an Allegory of Peace


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Friday, November 1, 2013


Welcome back to History Undressed, guest author, Colin Falconer! He's written an awesome piece for us today on Isabella of France... I can't wait to read  his new release, Isabella: Braveheart of France. Enjoy!


by Colin Falconer

They are the original glamour supercouple; everyone thinks they are just perfect for each other. He is lean, good-looking, powerful and famous; she is beautiful, elegant and young. These days we would give them one of those cutesy names like Brangella or Bennifer.


But here is the real situation: he has married her because it is expected of him. He needs a wife to shore up his public image and sons to take over the family business. And so he hides his true sexual orientation from her, at least initially.

Here is her situation: she has married him because he is appears a good match and his prospects appear excellent. There was, it is true, quite a bit of pressure from her father, who is accustomed to getting his own way with everyone.

After they are married she finds herself starved of affection, and thinks initially that it is her fault. The fact that her husband may not be straight has, as yet, not occurred to her. She has nothing to compare him to.

But she bears his children and over the years they become quite good friends. But something is missing from their marriage, as she becomes acutely aware.

Now am I describing a situation from which period in human history? If you said: ‘my friend just last week,’ you could be correct. I know one relationship counsellor who tells me that one in every three men that she counsels is ‘on the downlow;’ that is, they are married but don’t want to be - at least, not with a woman. Some are having an affair, or are actively promiscuous, with other men.

But what drew me to write about Isabella and Edward was not only the poignancy of their story - but its sheer timelessness.

What is here, behind the pageantry and the wars, played out in the palaces of Westminster, the lonely abbeys of Northumberland and the battlefields of Scotland, was a tragedy that still takes place every day in this 21st century, though it is rarely openly discussed.

The main difference is that when such a marriage of convenience comes to its sorry conclusion today, it does not bring down the King of England or result in private assassination.

Many historians seem to me to have weighed this tragic story through a prism, searching for a hero and a villain in it - calling Isabella a she-wolf, or labelling Edward a hopeless dandy. But what if there were no villains, except perhaps the same two ageless villains who still wreak havoc today - silence and shame.

It is what I love most about history the fiction that comes from it; it is not about stories that happened long ago with no relevance today. I love it because history has so much to tell us about the conflicts that dog our society, even centuries later.

Edabella were so much people of their time; yet they are so much of our time as well.

ISABELLA, Braveheart of France.

She was taught to obey. Now she has learned to rebel.
12 year old Isabella, a French princess marries the King of England - only to discover he has a terrible secret. Ten long years later she is in utter despair - does she submit to a lifetime of solitude and a spiritual death - or seize her destiny and take the throne of England for herself?
Isabella is just twelve years old when she marries Edward II of England. For the young princess it is love at first sight - but Edward has a terrible secret that threatens to tear their marriage - and England apart.
Who is Piers Gaveston - and why is his presence in the king’s court about to plunge England into civil war?
The young queen believes in the love songs of the troubadours and her own exalted destiny - but she finds reality very different. As she grows to a woman in the deadly maelstrom of Edward’s court, she must decide between her husband, her children, even her life - and one breath-taking gamble that will change the course of history.
This is the story of Isabella, the only woman ever to invade England - and win.
In the tradition of Philippa Gregory and Elizabeth Chadwick, ISABELLA is thoroughly researched and fast paced, the little known story of the one invasion the English never talk about.

Trailer link: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lGBgmrsZLMA

Colin Falconer is the author of over twenty historical novels. See his blog page to see more posts about history and historical fiction.

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