Book Review: ISABELLA: BRAVEHEART OF FRANCE by Colin Falconer‏ #IsabellaTour

Publisher: Cool Gus Publishing
Released: September 3, 2013
Source: Review copy provided for participating in the author’s book tour.

She was taught to obey. Now she has learned to rebel.

Isabella is just twelve years old when she marries Edward II of England. For the young princess it is love at first sight – but Edward has a terrible secret that threatens to tear their marriage – and England apart.

Who is Piers Gaveston – and why is his presence in the king’s court about to plunge England into civil war?

The young queen believes in the love songs of the troubadours and her own exalted destiny – but she finds reality very different. As she grows to a woman in the deadly maelstrom of Edward’s court, she must decide between her husband, her children, even her life – and one breath-taking gamble that will change the course of history.

Does she submit to a lifetime of solitude and a spiritual death – or seize her destiny and take the throne of England for herself?

This is the story of Isabella, the only woman ever to invade England – and win.


Isabella of France is one of those intriguing historical figures I’ve come across who I’d love to know more about. I was thrilled to learn that Colin Falconer had written a novel about Isabella from her point of view, and the book did not disappoint! She was called the “she-wolf” of France because she raised an army against her husband (the King of England) and tossed him off his thrown. She then acted as regent for their young son, Edward III.

Isabella was the daughter of King Phillip IV of France. At the age of 12, she married King Edward II of England in an effort to secure peace between the two countries. The author portrays Isabella as a dutiful wife and daughter, wise beyond her years, eager to make her father proud of her as Queen of England, and even more eager to make Edward love her. But alas, his heart belonged to another, a man named Piers Gaveston.

Isabella’s years with Edward were filled with turmoil, both personal and political.  His barons regarded him as a weak ruler, and they despised Piers and his relationship with the king. Isabella was in constant competition with Piers for attention, and when he was finally out of the picture, another man took his place as the king’s favorite. Power hungry Hugh Despenser was even more loathed than Piers, and he did all he could to turn Edward against Isabella with success. With the threat of civil war looming and Hugh become more of a threat to her well-being, Isabella decides to act.

ISABELLA: BRAVEHEART OF FRANCE was an exciting and fast-paced story I enjoyed. I particularly liked how the author created Isabella and Edward to be sympathetic characters – at least to me. Edward was a poor ruler in part because he didn’t truly want to be a king. He admired Isabella, but simply couldn’t love her the way she wanted. All Isabella wanted was to be Edward’s loving queen and to be loved in return. When she was cast aside and made a virtual prisoner in her own castle, something drastic had to happen.

I’d recommend this book to Historical Fiction fans who love strong female protagonists, or to those curious to learn more about this fascinating medieval woman.

Rating: 4 Stars

Disclosure: I received a copy of this book from the book tour company in exchange for an honest review.

Links: Goodreads | LibraryThing | Amazon | B&N | Book Depository

Praise for Isabella: Braveheart of France:

“What an intriguing story! … I’m enchanted indeed! Loved it!” – Montreal Times

“Author Colin Falconer has brought Isabelle’s story to life … wonderful descriptive and succinct prose graces each page of this biographical novel.” – Great Historicals

“Isabella: Braveheart of France is a gripping read … this is phenomenal historical fiction that is highly recommended.” – Crystal Book Reviews

About the Author:

Born in London, Colin first trialed as a professional football player in England, and was eventually brought to Australia. He went to Sydney and worked in TV and radio and freelanced for many of Australia’s leading newspapers and magazines. He has published over twenty novels and his work has so far been translated into 23 languages.

He travels regularly to research his novels and his quest for authenticity has led him to run with the bulls in Pamplona, pursue tornadoes across Oklahoma and black witches across Mexico, go cage shark diving in South Africa and get tear gassed in a riot in La Paz.

His most recent novels are Silk Road, set in the 13th century, and Stigmata, set against the backdrop of the Albigensian Crusade in Southern France in 1209. He currently lives in Barcelona.

For more information please visit Colin Falconer’s blog. You can also find him on Facebook or follow on Twitter.