Shadows and Strongholds – Elizabeth Chadwick

The perfect read for the long journey home from Bhutan via Kolkata. Shadows and Strongholds tells of the childhood friendship and subsequent marriage between Fulke FitzWarin and Hawise de Dinan – characters I’d first met in Lords of the White Castle and which I now feel the need to go back and read again!

The novel also shows the friendship between their fathers – minor noble Fulke FitzWarin (senior) and former mercenary, Joscelin de Dinan, whose sensible wife Sybilla had inherited Ludlow castle – and the ever present threat to their power posed by rival claimants and the Welsh. I felt that I’d me these characters too – but can’t work out where.

The novel spans 12th century decades from the waning of the civil war between Empress Matilda and King Stephen and Matilda’s son Henry II, firmly taking control of the crown and the country.

One of Elizabeth Chadwick’s best, with the powerful female characters underlining the limits of female freedoms and corresponding male attitudes. link: Shadows and Strongholds – Elizabeth Chadwick