The King’s Mistress by Emma Campion

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“When had I a choice to be other than I was? Should I have been more selfish, more stubborn, more rebellious? Have I been too compliant, too quick to give the men in my life what they thought they wanted? Am I a fallen woman, or am I an obedient handmaiden? As a female I was acceptable only as a virginal daughter, a wife, or a widow – unless, of course, I took vows. I have been all three – daughter, wife, widow, and one other, mistress. My lover is now long dead, and I sense death drawing near for me. I write this for my children, praying that they might understand. I began my life in a quite acceptable fashion, but the royal family laid such snares in my path that those who would throw the first stone are certain that I can never right myself even now. Yet when had I a choice to be other than I was? This is the argument of my life….” keep reading…

History has not been kind to Alice Perrers, the notorious mistress of King Edward III. Scholars and contemporaries alike have deemed her a manipulative woman who used her great beauty and sensuality to take advantage of an aging and increasingly senile king. But who was the woman behind the scandal? A cold-hearted opportunist or someone fighting for her very survival? Like most girls of her era Alice is taught obedience in all things. She marries the man chosen by her father, but their bliss is short-lived. In the wake of her husband’s death, Alice learns that he kept many dangerous secrets – secrets that result in a price on her own head and that of her beloved daughter. Her only chance to survive lies in the protection of King Edward and Queen Philippa, but she she is singled out by the king for more than just royal patronage. The whispers and gossip abound, isolating Alice, who finds unexpected solace in her love for the king.

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