Book Review: A Triple Knot by Emma Campion

A Triple Knot by Emma Campion
My rating: 4 of 5 stars
Publisher:  Broadway Books

Summary:  The critically acclaimed author of The King's Mistress brings another fascinating woman from history to life in an enthralling story of political intrigue, personal tragedy, and illicit love.

Joan of Kent, renowned beauty and cousin to King Edward III, is destined for a politically strategic marriage. As the king begins a long dynastic struggle to claim the crown of France, plunging England into the Hundred Years’ War, he negotiates her betrothal to a potential ally and heir of a powerful lordship.

But Joan, haunted by nightmares of her father’s execution at the hands of her treacherous royal kin, fears the king’s selection and is not resigned to her fate. She secretly pledges herself to one of the king’s own knights, one who has become a trusted friend and protector. Now she must defend her vow as the king—furious at Joan’s defiance—prepares to marry her off to another man.

In A Triple Knot, Emma Campion brings Joan, the “Fair Maid of Kent” to glorious life, deftly weaving details of King Edward III’s extravagant court into a rich and emotionally resonant tale of intrigue, love, and betrayal.

Having known nothing about Joan of Kent, I quite enjoyed reading this book. It was easy to get swept up and away in Joan's story which begins when she's twelve and very much grieving her father's execution. I won't spoil what happens in detail as there's a large amount of royal court intrigue and what must also be the longest petition in history to declare a marriage valid. It was all very interesting but I admit that I had difficulty vesting in Joan & Thomas Holland's love. She was twelve when she met him and I understood her crush and yearn for protection as she had suffered a great loss with her father's death. His love for her, as he was not himself a child by any stretch, tilted the romance axis for me. Their love story didn't really take off for me until after their petition was favorably granted and their marriage declared valid when she was eighteen. I was finally invested in them as a couple when they'd had a few children and by then he'd come home from a campaign a markedly old man. The contrast Joan notes in their ages was believable to me and stood out to me. In fairness, I come from parents with a considerable age gap and have seen how as time wears on, age does take it's toll and becomes not only noticeable but also the natural chasm of death can draw a line between a couple, so I found this part of their story the most interesting because it very much reminded me of my parents.

Joan's love for Thomas never wavered and her grief at his demise was palpable but I was glad that she had come full circle with Ned for another chance at a happy union. Let's just say that I was really invested in that aspect of the book but as soon as it happens the story concludes and I was left wanting more. I think I'd read an entire book about Joan and Ned's union as I found Ned one of the most interesting characters in the story. I much enjoyed that the book dovetails Joan, her grief at the loss of her father (mirrored in her daughter Maud at the end), Ned, Bruno and the embroidered white hart deftly. So well done.

This was the first book I'd read of Ms Campion but I would read another absolutely, especially covering Joan and Ned's married life. I won a copy of this book from the publisher in a giveaway in exchange for an honest review.

No comments