Title: Solomon’s Crown
Author: Natasha Siegel
Publisher: Dell/Penguin Random House
Length: 354 Pages
Category: Historical Romance
Rating: 5 Stars
At a Glance: This novel exceeded my expectations in every way. It is a sublime read for lovers of Historical Romance.
Reviewed By: Lisa
Blurb: Two destined rivals fall desperately in love—but the fate of medieval Europe hangs in the balance.
Twelfth-century Europe. Newly crowned King Philip of France is determined to restore his nation to its former empire and bring glory to his name. But when his greatest enemy, King Henry of England, threatens to end his reign before it can even begin, Philip is forced to make a precarious alliance with Henry’s volatile son—risking both his throne, and his heart.
Richard, Duke of Aquitaine, never thought he would be king. But when an unexpected tragedy makes him heir to England’s royal seat, he finally has an opportunity to overthrow the father he despises. At first, Philip is a useful tool in his quest for vengeance . . . until passion and politics collide, and Richard begins to question whether the crown is worth the cost.
When Philip and Richard find themselves staring down an impending war, they must choose between their desire for each other and their grand ambitions. Will their love prevail if it calls to them from across the battlefield? Teeming with royal intrigue and betrayal, this epic romance reimagines two real-life kings ensnared by an impossible choice: Follow their hearts, or earn their place in history.
Review: “Kisses do not a kingdom make, nor love a conquest end.”
Natasha Siegel prefaces her spectacular debut novel, Solomon’s Crown, by ensuring readers understand it is a fictionalized portrayal of the relationship that existed between Richard the Lionheart and King Philip II. Speculation that they did indeed have a romantic connection—which is based upon personal observations that they shared meals from the same dish and slept together when in each other’s company—are acknowledged, but is overshadowed by the fact that, in the end, they were bitter rivals and political enemies. In Siegel’s version of their story, however, they are allowed their happiness. Though it is an intensely delicate journey to get there.
This book is gorgeous, lush and lyrical, its prose vivid and its characters calculating. Philip in particular is in conflict with himself and his duties as king. His loyalty, first and foremost, is to crown and country, and leagues above his own happiness. His aim is to right all the wrongs committed by his father, King Louis, and prove he, unlike is father, is a strong and competent leader. Philip is further bound to duty by an arranged marriage to a child bride, Isabella, whom he eventually grows to love in his own way, as a close confidante and friend. She is given a more significant role in this story than a means of conflict or a simple source of tension between Richard and Philip, though. As she ages she is proved kind and compassionate, and while she understands her place as Queen Consort and her obligation to provide an heir to the throne, she also becomes a source of strength and comfort to Philip, perhaps his greatest advocate, and a friend to Richard.
“Does it worry you?” I asked. “The destruction we are capable of? For each other’s sake?”
The threat of war in Solomon’s Crown is a constant, looming large over the relationships between Richard and his father, between him and his brothers, and, perhaps more interestingly, with Philip. Richard is the future king of England, after all, and they and France were long at odds. This throws a shadow over their relationship as Philip will forsake his love for Richard for the benefit of his kingdom. But when a crucial point is ultimately reached, Siegel puts heart and soul into the romantic promise between them, delivering them to their place in the sun.
“It seemed our wars and our lands existed only to bring us together.”
This novel exceeded my expectations in every way. It is a sublime read for lovers of Historical Romance.
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