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Elizabeth Chadwick's Romantic Medieval Historical Fiction - a guide

Updated on January 5, 2015

The Woman Herself- About Elizabeth Chadwick

Elizabeth Chadwick is fast being considered one of Britain’s top historical novelists and she has been called “the best writer of Medieval fiction currently around” by the founder of the Historical Novel Society. She writes about the 11th – 13th centuries about both major historical figures and more lowly figures. Her novels are typically and mainly centred around love, often with a strong theme of war or unrest. She has written the following books.

Linked Novels

The Wild Hunt, The Running Vixen & The Leopard Unleashed is a trilogy beginning with an inheritance, an heiress, a marriage and a tentative and unlikely co-operation

Shadows and Strongholds & Lords of the White Castle- a young boy fostered into a household to learn knightly arts and love, strength and humanity, then the man striving forward

The Winter Mantle & The Falcon of Montabard two linked novels- a rebellious lord between two paths, overthrowing the King, or seeking the King’s niece in marriage, but can he choose?

The Greatest Knight & The Scarlet Lion – two linked novels about William Marshal, the heroic loyal adviser to the King and A Place Beyond Courage about his father and To Defy a King about William Marshal’s daughter

The Summer Queen, The Winter Crown & The Autumn Throne - are about Eleanor of Aquitane

Stand Alone Novels

The Marsh King’s Daughter- a rebellious girl packed off to a convent and treasure, found by a man who helps her escape and fulfil her destiny
The Champion- a champion in tournaments, the royal court and the tourney fields of France, adolescent love and maturity
Shields of Pride- a mercenary soldier and an abused widow, a marriage of convenience and a tale of love
The Conquest- passing down the lines from mother and daughter with death, love and betrayal in equal measures
The Love Knot- on orphaned boy and the passing down of lifeskills fraught with danger through the backdrop of Civil War and love
First Knight- the kingdom of King Arthur, Sir Lancelot and Guinevere- made into a film of the same name
Daughters of the Grail- the persecution of the Cathars is the focus of this book, passing a gift down the line from Mary Magdalen from mother to child
The Time of Singing (For the King’s Favor- USA)- in a background of volatile politics, an heir to earldom
Lady of the English- the struggle between two strong women, Maude of England and Adeliza of Louvain

Format and Tone of the Novels

Elizabeth Chadwick’s strengths lie in her creation of the story and the backdrop of Medieval times. In many ways there are similarities between her writing and Ellis Peter’s Cadfael in bringing the sights and sounds of the times to life. As you could almost smell Cadfael’s herb garden, you can feel the heartache of the loss of a child or the first pulling of heartstrings in young love. Many fans cite her attention to detail in her protagonists as although she usually writes in the third person it is very much from the viewpoints of her protagonists and the feelings they have. She brings colour to the photographs of their lives and puts flesh on the bones of her creations or the historical characters she uses. Elizabeth Chadwick is a re-enactor in her hometown of Nottingham, England which is famous for the legend of Robin Hood and his band of merry men. This has allowed her to join with others in actually bringing to life some of the scenarios she portrays in her novels, and in this it seems she can write this down very effectively. Even where other novelists are perhaps more keyed in to the history of things, if they cannot bring it to the reader’s imagination it can seem quite pale and dull. Few historical novels are extremely true to the known history and indeed the best novels seem to derive from a decent chunk of imaginings of the author.

Press Release for the Newest Trilogy

Ones to Try First

Therefore, it is perhaps best to take the details with a pinch of salt, but to enjoy the circumstance of the novels and find worthwhile the pleasure of reading them. They are richly created. If you’re only going to read one, Shadows and Strongholds is very well written and probably the most popular as it has another that follows, it will tempt you to read on. This one focuses a little more on relationships and young love. If you’re more for honour and battle then perhaps give The Greatest Knight a try first. William Marshal is a truly compelling character and serious British hero. Both of these novels, while quite different, are highly acclaimed and are undoubtedly the two most talked about. The Greatest Knight and accompanying novels have been very popular in USA. Shadows and Strongholds was a free novel giveaway in a monthly magazine quite a few years ago in the UK and gave Chadwick some well-deserved publicity among those who would normal ignore the historical fiction shelves.

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    • DrBill-WmL-Smith profile image

      William Leverne Smith 4 years ago from Hollister, MO

      I very much enjoy writing historical fiction. Thanks your some good tips! ;-)

    • nakmeister profile image

      nakmeister 5 years ago from Lancaster, UK

      You are welcome Trish, I always live discovering new authors to read, hope you enjoy them as much as I do.

    • Trish_M profile image

      Tricia Mason 5 years ago from The English Midlands

      Hi :)

      I might enjoy these books.

      Thank you for bringing them to my attention.