A Triple Knot
A Triple Knot chronicles the life of Joan of Kent, a 14th-century English beauty famous for her three marriages, the last making her the first Princess of Wales. Joan’s childhood was turbulent; her father was executed for treason, which resulted in her being raised at the court of her cousin, King Edward III. Since she was a Plantagenet, her marital prospects were constantly debated until Joan secretly married Sir Thomas Holland. The lovers were split apart by the Hundred Years’ War and family machinations as Joan was married off to another. She was able to reunite with Thomas only after the pope intervened.
When Thomas died, Joan was left a young widow with four children. She turned to her cousin’s son and heir, Edward, Prince of Wales. Previous novels depicting Joan’s life have her being in love with Edward from the beginning. But since Joan asked to be buried by her beloved Thomas, Campion postulates that he and not the prince, was Joan’s only love. The concept is compelling.
The novel spans twenty years of Joan’s life, and yet the most interesting parts come after the book’s conclusion. While Edward never assumed the throne, his son with Joan was crowned Richard II. For years she helped him rule as England went through the Peasants’ Revolt and continual outbreaks of the plague. Joan was obviously a very strong-minded woman, but she is rendered as a naïve, easily manipulated girl throughout the novel. The Prince of Wales is depicted as a sociopathic, self-indulgent child who lashes out when his desires are thwarted. The only character who shines is Thomas Holland, who fights valiantly for Joan even though she does not deserve him. Despite these flaws, history lovers will enjoy this interesting look at an often forgotten time in England’s history.