book review

Review: The Agincourt Bride (Catherine de Valois #1)

The Agincourt Bride by Joanna Hickson

Joanna Hickson - The Agincourt Bride

When her own first child is tragically still-born, the young Mette is pressed into service as a wet-nurse at the court of the mad king, Charles VI of France. Her young charge is the princess, Catherine de Valois, caught up in the turbulence and chaos of life at court.

Mette and the child forge a bond, one that transcends Mette’s lowly position.
But as Catherine approaches womanhood, her unique position seals her fate as a pawn between two powerful dynasties. Her brother, The Dauphin and the dark and sinister, Duke of Burgundy will both use Catherine to further the cause of France.

Catherine is powerless to stop them, but with the French defeat at the Battle of Agincourt, the tables turn and suddenly her currency has never been higher. But can Mette protect Catherine from forces at court who seek to harm her or will her loyalty to Catherine place her in even greater danger?

When I started this book, I really wasn’t sure if I was going to like it. However, this is one of those books that creeps up on you and you’re suddenly in love with the characters and the story and are unable to put it down. By the time I finished this book, I was in love with it.

Cover

I’m not a huge fan of this cover, because I’m not a huge fan of people and faces on covers. I do like the leaves around the side, and the title is very pretty.

Plot

The Agincourt Bride tells the story of the first eighteen years of Catherine of Valois’ life, from when she is first born and requires a nursemaid up until she gets married. Personally, I didn’t know much about Catherine’s life and so I enjoyed learning about what she went through and what her life was like.

I was a little confused at the beginning, as the first chapter takes place after the events of the whole series. After that, the book goes back to Catherine’s birth and it didn’t seem as if the same character was telling the story. The narrator is Mette, Catherine’s nursemaid and loyal friend, and she guides us through Catherine’s life. The plot of this book gets better and better as it goes on, and I was devouring it by the time I got to the end. The ending itself is very sudden. I didn’t realize that the book was part of a series and so I wasn’t expecting such a sudden ending to the book. However, the ending itself is a very good cliffhanger and I am desperate to read more.

Characters

Mette, the narrator, is one of the main characters, although the story doesn’t really focus on her that much. I found the fact that a historical fiction book was written in first person a little strange to start with, but it ended up being a nice read and it suited the story. Mette herself is a commoner who has managed to grow close to the princess. She has an interesting life, and I enjoyed her relationship with Jean-Michel a lot, and I do like her character. I did care about her character, but not as much as I usually tend to in first person books.

The cause of this may be because Catherine was the focus of the story. I really liked Catherine, although she was a bit of Mary Sue at times, and I really felt for her during some parts of her story. I enjoyed seeing her development as she grew up, and the way she gained confidence to do more and stand up to the rest of her family. I also liked the relationship between her and Henry by the end of the book, but that may just be the fangirl inside me.

The Little Things

I did find that the language used in the book seemed a little modern for the period. Some phrases didn’t seem natural coming out of the mouth of a 15th century French royal.

I loved the letters that Catherine wrote to various characters, such as her brother Charles and Mette. It was nice to see her thoughts on the events that were going on, and they also broke up the story a little in a good way.

The descriptions of the dresses and the settings in this book were really nice, and I loved them. Then again, I always fall in a love with a good description in historical fiction.

By the time I finished reading this book, I really did love it, and I would recommend it to fans of historical fiction, France and royal families.

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