Saturday, 3 June 2017

The Fair Maid of Kent

I have heard it said that there is a major story within the ancestry of one's own family (in the case of your reviewer it would be the fact that his grandfather was an MI6 agent during the First World War and in the following decades) and for author Caroline Newark, the family member is her seventeen times great-grandmother Joan, who was the first Princess of Wales.

We pick up the story in the year 1341, Joan is an amazingly beautiful young girl, who was the cousin of the King of England. 

She is on the brink of a very important marriage. However, all is not quite what it seems. For Joan holds a secret, a secret so disquieting that it would be capable of wrecking her marriage and also putting at risk the lives of her loved ones.

Her husband knows something, or he thinks he does, as his suspicions are aroused, so Joan must be very circumspect and take the utmost care. There is a fine line between the truth and sophism, a line Joan dare not cross too obviously.

Disaster strikes at the very heart of the English royal family and Joan becomes imprisoned in her own chambers. Her fate resides with the Pope's Avignon-based tribunal.

Although this is a fictionalised account of the story it is drawn from copious notes based on extensive research undertaken by Caroline Newark's father into the history of his family. 

It's a vibrant and interesting read and delves into a long distant time of the history of England and other European countries of that time.

It is published by Matador in paperback and costs £9.99, it's available through good bookshops and is also available online at

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