2.0 out of 5 stars Hard to believe an author can make William of Normandy boring…

 …but unfortunately Lide’s managed to do it. Known to history as William the Conqueror, this book covers William’s life before his conquest of England. When his father dies unexpectedly whilst returning from pilgrimage to the Holy Land, an illegitimate William inherits the Duchy of Normandy. Beset on all sides from rival claimants, he is forced into hiding when an attempt is made on his life. The rest of the book details his efforts to raise forces to regain his duchy, as well as his relationship and marriage to Matilda of Flanders.


There is nothing worse than an author who takes a fascinating bit of history and makes it dull as dirt and I only managed to finish this by skimming a great deal. William, known as a formidable and ruthless warrior, comes off more like a limp wet noodle in this one, and while I’m not generally a fan of highly detailed battle scenes these were just tedious. As for his relationship with Matilda? No, we don’t really know much about that but there were sure a couple of WTF moments for me. Sneaking out and meeting up with William in the stables? Her attendant leaves her alone to pray in the chapel and William’s able to get her off to a side room and they proceed to engage in very heavy petting when they aren’t even betrothed? 

Until I got to the *petting* scenes in the latter part of the book the writing felt like a YA book (nothing wrong with YA, it’s just not what I expected). If you like your historical fiction on the *lite* side this might suit, but if you want a book with more meat on it’s bones I suggest you look elsewhere. Perhaps I’m forever spoiled by Helen Hollick’s fabulous Harold the King and Valerie Anand’s Gildenford trilogy, but Lide’s William just bored me to tears. Not recommended.

My copy? Why I ILL’d it. A big thank you to the Eugene Public Library.