Friday, October 11, 2013

Isabella: Braveheart of France by Colin Falconer: Guest Post and {Giveaway}

Please welcome Colin Falconer in celebration of the release of his new novel, Isabella: Braveheart of France

Colin Falconer

Some have called her the She Wolf; playwrights, film makers and novelists have all shone light on her from different directions but all we ever see is a silhouette. Isabella of France continues to polarise opinion.

Was she a femme fatale and arch bitch; or just a misunderstood cream puff?

Those who take Isabella’s side paint her husband, Edward II, as a cruel and despotic monarch. They view her as a tragic figure, a bewitched princess trapped in a loveless marriage to a negligent husband, a passionate and intelligent women driven to extreme measures by her situation. 

But was Edward cruel and despotic? He was certainly incompetent. But not all kings are born to rule; some are ill suited for their destiny. But to paint him as the villain is surely too simplistic. A TV news style of historical reporting where there has to be a good guy and a bad guy does not give us the true picture.

Edward II
Photograph: Siebrand

Edward battled private demons. Although regal and handsome, his inner life was tormented; he had endured a strained relationship with his authoritarian father, ‘Longshanks,’ and had looked for affection elsewhere, usually in passionate attachments to certain 'favourites'. 

His relationship with squires like Piers Gaveston led to violent quarrels between father and son, and eventually banishment for Piers.

But when Longshanks died, Edward could do as he pleased - and he did. He recalled Gaveston and made him Earl of Cornwall, a title previously reserved for the nobility, much to the outrage of his barons.

His marriage to Isabella was a political alliance, as all royal marriages were then. Isabella was just 12 years old. Edward was outrageously handsome and she would grow up to be exceptionally beautiful. They were a Hollywood couple. Today they would have been the new Brangelina. 

Perhaps we would have called them Edabella.

She was certainly no she-wolf then, just a bewildered and frightened girl in a foreign court. But she had been trained for her regal duties by one of Europe’s most adept and ruthless kings and she had a natural talent for politics combined with a passionate heart. It put her and Edward on a collision course.

Historians have prevaricated over his sexuality. But today being gay is not really so shocking - and certainly not unusual. Plenty of gay men marry and have children, because they have to, not because they want to. You don’t have to be a king to find yourself in that situation. But his weakness was in his decision-making not in sexual orientation. 

It is possible that Isabella was obedient and long suffering at first. But people change. A proud heart such as hers can take only so much submission. 

If she had had a milder nature, perhaps she would have endured in silence all her life, content to remain in the background.

This she did for a while and earned sympathy from her contemporaries for her husband’s behaviour. But a different Isabella appeared later. Her behaviour during her exile in Paris was scandalous and forced even her own brother to distance himself from her. 

She finally overthrew her husband with the help of her lover; but did she also collude in her husband’s death? We cannot know the extent of her involvement in the regicide. At the least she looked the other way. 

The queen who invaded England was not the same obedient mouse who came to England in 1207 as Edward’s 12 year old bride.

Powder puff or she-wolf? The best way to decide is perhaps to think what we ourselves might have done in her situation. 

Would you have been content to stay in the background and embroider with the ladies?

Or would you have had the guts - and the ruthlessness - to have wanted more?

For Isabella, daughter of one of France’s most ruthless kings, cream puff was never an option.

About the book
ISABELLA, Braveheart of France, available now from Amazon US and Amazon UK

And also available as POD from Cool Gus publishing

"She was taught to obey. But will she learn to rebel?
Princess Isabella of France arrives at the English court to find her husband the king.
She is just 12 years old.
He is one of Europe's most handsome princes, tall young, athletic.
And deeply in love with another.
... another man.
She fights to win her husband's love as his reign descends into crisis after crisis.
To finally create her own destiny she must defy all England.
She must even defy God.
Will she do it?
And what will be the cost?"

About the author
Colin Falconer was born in North London, and spent most of his formative years at school playing football or looking out of the window wishing he was somewhere else.

After failing to make the grade as a professional football player, he spent much of his early years traveling, hitch-hiking around Europe and North Africa and then heading to Asia.

His experiences in Bangkok and India later inspired his thriller VENOM, and his adventures in the jungles of the Golden Triangle of Burma and Laos were also filed away for later, the basis of his OPIUM series about the underworld drug trade.

He later moved to Australia and worked in advertising, before moving to Sydney where he freelanced for most of Australia’s leading newspapers and magazines, as well as working in radio and television.

He started publishing in 1984, mostly humor and young adult fiction, but with the publication of VENOM in 1990, he became a full time novelist.

He has published over 40 books in print. HAREM was an enormous bestseller in Germany and THE NAKED HUSBAND was ranked #9 in Australia on its release.AZTEC stayed on the bestseller lists in Mexico for four months. He is a bestseller in Europe and his work has sold into translation in 23 countries: Brazil, Belgium, Bulgaria, the Czech republic, Croatia, France, Germany, Greece, Hungary, Italy, Indonesia, Korea, Macedonia, Montenegro, Mexico, Poland, Portugal, Romania, Serbia, Slovakia, Slovenia, Spain and Turkey.

He lived for many years in the beautiful Margaret River region in WA, and helped raise two beautiful daughters with his late wife, Helen. While writing, he also worked in the volunteer ambulance service for over 13 years His marriage ended in tragic circumstances, a story he has told in ‘The Naked Husband,’ and its non-fiction sequel, ‘The Year We Seized the Day,’ written with a writing partner, Elizabeth Best.

He travels regularly to research his novels and his quest for authenticity has led him to run with the bulls in Pamplona, pursue tornadoes across Oklahoma and black witches across Mexico, go cage shark diving in South Africa and get tear gassed in a riot in La Paz. He also completed a nine hundred kilometre walk of the camino in Spain.

He did not write for over five years but returned to publishing in 2010 with the release of SILK ROAD, and then STIGMATA the following year. ISABELLA is due to be published in 2013.

His likens his fiction most closely to Ken Follett – books with romance and high adventure, drawn from many periods of history.

Visit Colin at his WEBSITE.

Follow the instructions on the Rafflecopter form below to enter for a chance to win one of three eBook copies of Isabella by Colin Falconer!

a Rafflecopter giveaway


Follow on Bloglovin


Thank you for visiting and taking the time to comment. It means so much.

I apologize for word verification, but as soon as I changed the settings from only users with Google accounts, I started receiving a ton of spam comments...within one hour of changing the settings. The bots are on high alert apparently.

  1. I don't blame her for not standing back and letting her husband trample her! I love reading about women from history who take their fate into their own hands. Looks like an exciting read! Wonderful guest post and thanks for the giveaway, Michelle!

  2. Neither... a woman ahead of her time.

  3. Sounds like a book I'd be very interested in.

  4. More she-wolf that's for sure - fascinating.

  5. Emma @ Words And PeaceApril 22, 2015 at 6:50 PM

    she may be a healthy balance between both! Thanks for the giveaway, this book sounds refreshingly different, there's so much Tudors I can read. Emma ehc16e at yahoo dot com

- See more at:
- See more at: