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The Agincourt Bride    by Joanna Hickson order for
Agincourt Bride
by Joanna Hickson
Order:  USA  Can
Harper, 2013 (2013)
Softcover, e-Book
* *   Reviewed by Barbara Lingens

France in the time of Catherine de Valois (mid 1400s) was truly in upheaval and therefore ripe with story possibilities. Not only were the British under King Henry V trying to annex French lands that they claimed were theirs to begin with, but France itself was divided. King Charles VI, unable to rule strongly because of mental issues, was buffeted about by the Duke of Burgundy and Duke of Armagnac, and as a result there was much fighting among the French themselves.

The Agincourt Bride is the story of Catherine, told by Guillaumette, her nurse, chambermaid and confidante. Mette, as the royal children call her, is there for all of Catherine's ups and downs, such as when she is sent to a nunnery for training and when, under the Duke of Burgundy's questionable protection, she is first offered to King Henry V, and when finally she is married to Henry.

This is a very interesting story. The author brings the period to life, especially what happens in the princess's chamber. We see the characters in that intimate setting and learn how costumes are made and then chosen, how messages are sent and received, and how many servants are needed for all the various activities. The conversations are truly lively.

Mette has much to tell us, but from a critical reader's perspective, not all of it is satisfactory. We are not able to get inside the main characters' minds and hearts. And it is not totally believable that a servant, even though tutored in letters and privy to Catherine's thoughts and feelings, could be as instrumental and knowledgeable as she appears in these pages.

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