The King's Concubine: A Novel of Alice Perrers
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A child born in the plague year of 1348, abandoned and raised within the oppressive walls of a convent, Alice Perrers refused to take the veil, convinced that a greater destiny awaited her. Ambitious and quick witted, she rose above her obscure beginnings to become the infamous mistress of Edward III. But always, essentially, she was alone...
Early in Alice’s life, a chance meeting with royalty changes everything: Kindly Queen Philippa, deeply in love with her husband but gravely ill, chooses Alice as a lady-in-waiting. Under the queen’s watchful eye, Alice dares to speak her mind. She demands to be taken seriously. She even flirts with the dynamic, much older king. But she is torn when her vibrant spirit captures his interest...and leads her to a betrayal she never intended.
In Edward’s private chambers, Alice discovers the pleasures and paradoxes of her position. She is the queen’s confidante and the king’s lover, yet she can rely only on herself. It is a divided role she was destined to play, and she vows to play it until the bitter end. Even as she is swept up in Edward’s lavish and magnificent court, amassing wealth and influence for herself, becoming an enemy of his power-hungry son John of Gaunt, and a sparring partner to resourceful diplomat William de Windsor, she anticipates the day when the political winds will turn against her. For when her detractors voice their hatred,and accusations of treason swirl around her,threatening to destroy everything she has achieved, who will stand by Alice then?
Includes a readers guide
wished. There he stood, regarding me with an element of deep suspicion that did nothing to improve my mood. I did not need this, not at this precise moment, but if Windsor would condemn me without a hearing, then so be it! ‘I won’t talk to you now! I don’t have to answer for my actions to you!’ And then suddenly, overwhelmingly, I wished he would wrap his arms around me and allow me to lean against him. What I would not give for a moment of ease, to realise that I was not alone? I would like
‘Are you sure about that?’ ‘Yes, my lord.’ I sighed. Beverley was a man of few words, his eyes those of a terrified deer, facing the hounds. Pray God he would use those words on my behalf. ‘How is that? How can you be so sure?’ ‘I was in attendance on his Majesty constantly in those last days, my lord.’ A few petals of hope began to unfurl beneath my heart. Beverley’s voice grew stronger as his confidence grew. Here was something he could speak of with authority. ‘I never heard the matter of
meeting of the next Parliament. I felt my courage draining away again. You’ve lost, Will. It’s a hopeless cause to get them to recognise my innocence. I admire you for it. I love you for it. But you should never have taken them on. You’ll lose your chance of promotion… Oh, Will! Why did you risk it? ‘But you do admit to the validity of my arguments,’ Windsor pressed them, unaware of my premonition of disaster. ‘We think that the new Parliament will consider the force of your argument, Sir
picked my way through the mess of offal and waste in the gutters to the door. Was this the one? It did not seem to be the house of a man of means. I knocked. The woman who opened the door was far taller than I and as thin as a willow lath, with her hair scraped into a pair of metallic cylindrical cauls on either side of her gaunt face, as if she were encased in a cage. ‘Well?’ ‘Is this the house of Janyn Perres?’ ‘What’s it to you?’ Her gaze flicked over me, briefly. She made to close the
gesturing without words for me to vacate the chamber. There was no question of my sharing his bed. I missed my sable mantle. The damsels gossiped, engrossed in our obvious estrangement. The Queen was anxious but such was our relationship that we both kept our own counsel. Until the tension, colder indoors than out, became more than she could tolerate. ‘Have you quarrelled with the King, Alice?’ ‘No, my lady.’ It was not exactly a quarrel. ‘Have you displeased him?’ ‘Yes, my lady.’ Definitely.