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Extended Audio Sample The Kings Mistress: A Novel, by Emma Campion Click for printable size audiobook cover
3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 3.00 (879 ratings) (rate this audio book) Author: Emma Campion Narrator: Donada Peters, Wanda McCaddon Publisher: Penguin Random House Format: Unabridged Audiobook Delivery: Instant Download Audio Length: Release Date:
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History has not been kind to Alice Perrers, the notorious mistress of King Edward III. Scholars and contemporaries alike have deemed her a manipulative woman who used her great beauty and sensuality to take advantage of an aging and increasingly senile king. But who was the woman behind the scandal? A cold-hearted opportunist - or someone fighting for her very survival?

Like most girls of her era, Alice is taught obedience in all things. At the age of 14 she marries the man her father chooses for her, dutifully accepting the cost of being torn from the family she holds so dear and losing the love of her mother forever. Despite these heartbreaks, Alice finds that merchant Janyn Perrers is a good and loving husband and the two settle into a happy life together. Their bliss is short-lived, however; it unravels the dark day a messenger appears at Alice's door and notifies her of Janyn's sudden disappearance.

In the wake of this tragedy, Alice learns that her husband kept many secrets - secrets that result in a price on her own head and that of her beloved daughter. Her only chance to survive lies in the protection of King Edward and Queen Philippa, but she therefore must live at court as a virtual prisoner. When she is singled out by the king for more than just royal patronage, the stakes are raised. Disobeying Edward is not an option, not when her family is at risk, but the court is full of ambitious men and women, many of whom will stop at nothing to see her fall from grace.

Emma Campion paints a colorful and thrilling portrait of the court of Edward III - with all of its extravagance, scandalous love affairs, political machinations, and murder - and the devastating results of being singled out by the royal family. At the center of the storm is Alice, surviving by her wits in this dangerous world, where the choices are not always of her own making. Emma Campion's dazzling novel shows that there is always another side to the story.

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Quotes & Awards

  • "A medieval lover's dream novel…the vibrant backdrop and depth of historical details place Campion in the same league as Sharon Kay Penman and Alison Weir. Romantic Times

  • A dynamic fictionalization of the life of Alice Salisbury...an empathetic but realistic portrait of a colorful and, if Campion is to be believed, misunderstood woman. Publishers Weekly
  • In THE KING’S MISTRESS, Alice Perrers at last comes into her own as a keen observer, not a villain, of English history. The High Middle Ages, the role of women, court intrigue, lust and love, all come alive through Alice's eyes. Yet the panoply of powerful people flaunting their influence and toying with other people's lives sounds amazingly modern. This is a rich novel to enjoy and ponder. Karen Harper, author of The First Princess of Wales
  • A fascinating, extensively researched look at a much maligned woman. Emma Campion does Alice Perrers the same service that Anya Seton did for Katherine Swynford. Susan Higginbotham, author of The Stolen Crown
  • THE KING’S MISTRESS is an extraordinary novel, exquisitely detailed, epic in proportion, and as lush as the fabrics Emma Campion's Alice Perrers chooses for the queen. Kate Emerson, author of Secrets of the Tudor Court: Between Two Queens
  • Arguably the most notorious 'wicked woman' of the fourteenth century, Alice Perrers has been loathed throughout history as a greedy, manipulative harlot.  Emma Campion explores the life of an infamous villainess with skill and understanding, stripping away the layers to reveal the very human, vulnerable woman beneath. Well researched and beautifully written, THE KING’S MISTRESS will give readers much to think about even after they have read the last page. Ella March Chase, author of The Virgin Queen's Daughter

  • From her beginnings as a merchant's wife to her life as King Edward III's powerful mistress, Alice Perrers comes alive in Emma Campion's richly imagined novel. Beautifully written and utterly absorbing, this is an epic story you won't want to put down! Michelle Moran, author of Cleopatra's Daughter
  • From the mercantile riches of early medieval London to the halls of intrigue in Westminster, Emma Campion weaves a sweeping, sumptuous account of a tumultuous era and of an irresistibly fallible woman, whose bold rise to power comes at an extraordinary price. C.W. Gortner, author of The Last Queen and The Confessions of Catherine De Medici

Listener Opinions

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 by Meagan | 1/5/2014

    " This book was beautiful. In some parts it took a while for it to get going which can always be a bit annoying. Once it hit where she was Edward's Mistress however the book flew. Going into the book I knew nothing of Alice, which kinda had me laughing at the fact that the book summary called her 'the notorious mistress of King Edward III'. But I enjoyed Alice as a character, granted that's probably because it was told from her point of view, it does help to sway someone by doing that. However, I have encountered first person narratives where I hated the speaker (Twilight.) This book reminds me of all of the Elizabeth Chadwick novels I have read which is probably why I enjoyed it so much. The focus was much more on the conflicts going on with the character rather than everything around her. My only problem is that in the beginning Alice seems to devoted to prayer and religion that it's suddenly dropped and only picks up again once her daughter Bella enters the convent. Plus it was hard to keep track of the child's ages. One minute they would be like two then the next talking in full sentences and running around. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 by Rosemary Prawdzik | 12/20/2013

    " A very different perspective in the much maligned mistress of Edward III. Was she the scapegoat for the disaster that was the last years of beloved Edward's reign? I enjoyed this book very much but would have liked a little more perspective on the major political players at the time. The Black Prince was the golden boy and John of Gaunt was in the thick of things but their characters were barely there in this novel. "

  • 1 out of 51 out of 51 out of 51 out of 51 out of 5 by Nora | 12/19/2013

    " Dull and plodding. I was unable to finish this because I was so uninterested in Alice's character. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 by Sydney Young | 11/30/2013

    " Good historical book with information on England during the time of Chaucer's life. I liked the story and writing just fine, but it did sometimes feel as if it was just a historical dialogue. Reminds me a bit of Forever Amber or Katherine, books that were big during my mom's day in the 60s (which I naturally read, having found them in her bookshelf). "

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