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POISONED CHALICE: Mabel de Belleme Normandy's Wicked Lady (Medieval Babes: Tales of Little-Known Ladies Book 8) Kindle Edition
Mabel is the daughter of William de Belleme, known as Talvas, the Hard Shield, for his fierceness in battle…and at home. When William murders Mabel’s mother, he is expelled from his castle into exile—but Mabel follows him loyally, despite what he has done.
As the Belleme fortunes gradually return, Mabel is married to an upstanding young lord, Roger de Montgomery, a close friend of the new Duke of Normandy—William, who will one day become the Conqueror of England. Their marriage appears to be successful, with many children, but Mabel remains her father’s daughter in temperament and spirit and soon her reputation becomes fearsome.
Castles and lands are collected like pieces on a chessboard, and those who object to her harsh tactics are dealt with, not by the sword but by Mabel’s secret means. When Mabel plays her game, she seeks to win at any cost.
But when she crosses Hugh Bunel, kinsman of a man she has killed, Normandy’s wicked lady may have met her match…
Based on a true story of Norman times.
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- ASIN : B092SQGJ5C
- Language : English
- File size : 1702 KB
- Text-to-Speech : Enabled
- Screen Reader : Supported
- Enhanced typesetting : Enabled
- X-Ray : Not Enabled
- Word Wise : Enabled
- Print length : 208 pages
- Page numbers source ISBN : B092X539SB
- Best Sellers Rank: 111,900 in Kindle Store (See Top 100 in Kindle Store)
- Customer Reviews:
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Reviewed April 18, 2021
Poisoned Chalice by J. P. Reedman is the story of Mabel de Bellême, a Norman noblewoman whose reputation is less than savory. Although few details are known about Mabel’s life, Ms Reedman has used what is available to craft a fascinating story about a woman who knew what she wanted and wasn’t afraid of doing whatever was necessary to get it.
Though the daughter of Norman nobility (her father holds lands at Bellême, Domfront and Alençon) Mabel grows up in a brutal environment. Her father, William Talvas, is a man known for his harshness, treachery, and cruelty, but he has a soft spot for his daughter who acts more like a badass tomboy. When she witnesses her father strangle her mother in the heat of an argument, Mabel accepts this with a sense of pragmatism; it was her mother’s fault anyway, she reasons, for refusing to abide her husband’s wishes.
Later, when her older brother Arnulf rebels against their father and takes over the family home at Alençon, Mabel goes into exile with her father. Penniless, the two travel with a few retainers who along the way abandon father and daughter, and the two eventually make their way to Ralf de Beaumont who while not exactly a friend is at least on amicable terms with Talvas. There, William sets about arranging to marry Haberga de Beaumont, while Ralf’s wife sets about trying to make Mabel into a more pleasing woman so that an appropriate marriage can be made.
During this time, Talvas and another nobleman, William Fitz Giroie are engaged in a bitter feud. In what outwardly appears to be an attempt at resolving their conflict, Talvas invites Fitz Giroie to his wedding – but Talvas has other, more diabolical plans. While the wedding festivities are going on, Talvas has Fitz Giroie abducted and imprisoned, and has Mabel accompany him to the dungeon where she assists her father in the blinding and mutilation of Fitz Giroie.
Is it any wonder that Mabel, growing up in such an environment, would have a jaded outlook and see might-makes-right as her life philosophy?
But Mabel isn’t some one-dimensional wicked woman, although she engages in plenty of questionable actions during her lifetime. In Poisoned Chalice Ms Reedman gives us a woman who, while she may not encourage warm and fuzzy feelings, is always interesting and keeps the reader’s attention throughout her various adventures. Living in Normandy during the pre-1066 Conquest years, Mabel and her husband Roger de Montgomery are front and center to the events revolving around the young duke of Normandy, William sometimes called “the Bastard” but who history will remember as William the Conqueror.
Poisoned Chalice is a very engaging story, down to his shocking ending, when the old saying about reaping what you sow comes into play.