Thursday, July 24, 2014

The Golden Widows by Isolde Martyn ~ Review & Giveaway

Title: The Golden Widows
Author: Isolde Martyn
Genre: Historical Fiction
Publication Date: 1st August 2014
Pages: 285
Book Source: Harlequin Mira Australia & NetGalley

Synopsis: Two young women on opposing sides find their lives wrecked by battle...can they be restored by love?

As sister to Warwick the Kingmaker and cousin to the new young King Edward IV, Kate Neville finds herself on the winning side of the latest bloody battle of the War of the Roses — and under pressure to marry again. Kate’s family want to ensure her new husband will be someone they control, such as the king’s handsome chamberlain, Lord William Hastings, but Kate is refusing. Hastings has a reputation as a womaniser and she wants a man who won’t betray her like her first husband did. But the debonair Hastings is determined to win her heart. Can she thwart her brother’s plans for her?

Elysabeth Woodville is a beautiful young woman, much adored by her husband, Sir John Grey. But when he is killed in battle on the losing side and named as a traitor, his estate is seized by the Yorkists and Elysabeth finds herself penniless and friendless. In her desperate struggle to restore her sons’ inheritance, she finds herself not only kneeling before her enemy but winning his heart. Is she is too proud to become his mistress? Or does the King of England love her enough to ignore his friends’ advice and make her his queen?

In the precarious peace of a bloody civil war, can love heal wounds and reunite families?

My Thoughts:
I was introduced to Isolde Martyn with Mistress to the Crown, which I enjoyed and her latest novel The Golden Widows, even more so. I seriously can't get enough of the historical players in the War of the Roses, whilst I'm well-read on the history, Isolde Martyn's uniquely fascinating perspective made for a refreshing read.  

The story sashays back and forth between Yorkist widow Kate Neville (cousin to King Edward IV and sister to the influential Richard Neville, known in history as Warwick the Kingmaker) and Lancastrian widow Elysabeth Woodville. Isolde Martyn's attention to detail ensures both women are entirely accessible and equally captivating.  

Elysabeth and Kate are strong, intelligent, passionate women, protective of their children. The Golden Widows explores their struggles, tears and triumphs, the fight to claim a widow's dower, reverse attainders, regain a child's inheritance and pursue happiness.  

I just love Elysabeth Woodville's story, yup I'm totally a White Queen fan and I also really enjoyed seeing the relationship blossom between Kate Neville and William Hastings, the King's chamberlain. 

An interesting aside, it took me a little while to work out where Katherine Neville, Duchess of Norfolk sat in the scheme of things ... Aunt to Katherine (Kate) Neville, Baroness Hastings (just in case you're the slightest bit interested lol.) The Duchess of Norfolk's fourth and last marriage was to John Woodville, brother of Elizabeth Woodville ... their marriage earned the nickname the "diabolical marriage" - HA wonder if that had anything to do with the 'scandalous' age difference - John at 19 and Katherine 65.  

The Golden Widows is a believable blending of historical fact and embellishment, a good fix for War of the Roses insatiables and historical fiction fans. My only complaint, I didn't want it to end.

Connect with Isolde Martyn

The Golden Widows

Thanks to the lovely folk at Harlequin Aust I have a paperback copy up for grabs. Just leave a comment with an email address if you're entering. Aust/NZ Only 

Extra Entries: 
+ 2 tweet giveaway and leave a link

Giveaway ends 3rd August and winner will be announced on my blog. Good luck!


  1. I've read quite a bit about the Woodville side but not the Kate Neville side. Please count me in with a Victorian address for the giveaway. Wouldn't want to miss this one! Thanks.

    1. yeah I hadn't read much about Kate Neville either and yet I'd read a bit about Hastings ... quite the player.

  2. I don't really know anything about this time period :(

    1. HA time to rectify that oversight Stacy :)

  3. I am a white queen fan too ;:)

  4. Elizabeth Woodville is a fascinating woman! Hopefully this book will come to the US. =)

    1. Totally agree Diana! not long til release, it's supposed to be available internationally in eBook format.

  5. Sounds like this was one that you really enjoyed. I tend not to read that much historical fiction - but have read some that I very much liked. Great review.

  6. I love to read historical fiction. This has just made my wish list. Yes please!!


  7. I love reading Tudor/Plantagenet fiction. There are not many good books about Elizabeth Woodville. I am looking forward to this one.

  8. I met Isolde late last year and have wanted to read one of her books for awhile. This one is on my TBR and I'd love to read it. Thanks for the opportunity :)

  9. Ohhhhh will need to check this out!!!

  10. I love historical fiction and The Golden Widows sounds great!

  11. I love this period of history.

  12. I love this period and you have me curious about the author's take on the war of the roses. I am glad to hear you loved this one even more than the first..always a good sign!

  13. Watching the TV series The White Queen filled in a couple of gaps that was missing from my reading knowledge. I would love to be entered into the give way. I do love the covers for Isolde Martyn's covers.



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