The Time of Singing

Written by Elizabeth Chadwick
Review by Nancy Henshaw

AD 1173: Roger Bigod knows he must work hard for his rights and his desires. As the eldest son of a brutal nobleman, he ought to be heir to the earldom of Norfolk. His father rebelled against King Henry the Second and was deprived of the title. Roger knows that his unwavering loyalty to the king deserves the restoration of his patrimony, but he is ruthlessly opposed by his eldest half-brother and implacable stepmother. Roger becomes a renowned fighter and leader of men. But he has also mastered the King’s Law—the laws of England—and this last brings him his rights and deserts.

But what about his desires? His marriage to beautiful Ida de Tosny is one of passion and lasting love, but he must work to accept that she was King Henry’s last mistress and mother of his youngest son. Ida is a home-maker on a truly magnificent scale, but she must learn to accept Roger’s long absences from his estates, as soldier or as diplomat.

As always, readers will benefit from Elizabeth Chadwick’s well-known “hands-on” approach to research and elegant prose. Her theme is serious: the story of men and women who contributed to the making of England. The politics are even more fascinating than the romance.