Sprig Of Broom – by Susan Whitfield
Sprig of Broom is a coming-of-age novel about Geoffrey Plantagenet, a count, who at the age of 15 marries King Henry’s daughter, Empress Matilda, and fathers the dynasty of Plantagenet kings. The story begins with the count on his journey to Rouen in Normandy to become a Knight of the Bath. From Rouen, he and the king’s entourage travel to LeMans where Geoffrey is wed to Matilda. And the loathing begins . . . Sir Geoffrey Plantagenet has much to learn, and over the course of his life’s journey he develops a better understanding of himself, fathers a long line of kings, endures adversaries—especially his own wife—and boldly faces the world of chaos around him. Written by a lineal descendant of Sir Geoffrey V Plantagenet, Knighted, invested 1127 during the reign of Henry I, Knighthood of the Bath.
Author Susan Whitfield’s exquisite storytelling will escort you back to medieval European history to the grand LeMans Cathedrale on June 10, 1127 where Henry Beauclerc, King of England and Duke of Normandy, gives his daughter Empress Matilda Maud Alice in betrothal to Sir Geoffrey V Plantagenet, Knight of the Order of the Bath and Count of Anjou, son of Fulk V, King of Jerusalem.
Fourteen year old Count Geoffrey finds himself in the bedchamber of his lady wife Matilda who had been married before and encounters a rigid, irritable woman who preys on his youthful innocence.
The count throws himself into his royal duties for the sake of the kingdom while the King insists on offspring and sends a young maid servant named Annique to teach him the fine art of love.
As reviewer it is my pleasure to whet your appetite with this quote from Count Geoffrey.
“The first day of winter roared in with a strong cold wind whipping trees and bushes and tents and merchant stands in town. Pastured horses ran briskly with tails high, some tagging others as they romped. I was thankful to have fine shelter and plenty of firewood, although more would be needed to keep fires burning throughout the castle before winter ended. Castle stores were filled with harvested crops, among them corn meal and flour, dried apples and other fruits, lard and herbs. Meats from hunts hung in smoke. We would fare better than most of the country’s people until planting season returned in spring.
Darkness crept in early and lingered long. The moon often hid itself from us. Loneliness accompanied me to my bed chamber at night. I found myself staying up late to play chess or throw darts alone or with anyone willing to pass time with me.
Daily jousting and warlike games of hunting amused me and kept me occupied away from Matilda and tempered thought of Annique. Some nights were spent besting fellow knights at chess or checkers. I welcomed distance and time spent with other knights outside dark cold castle walls when time allowed. I lost myself in preparing strategies to outwit the older and more experienced knights. My horse, Warrior,—the color of a cloud whitened by sun—was powerful and easily held me even in full armor.”
Let me tell you a funny story. Late last night, my husband and I were lying in bed talking before going to sleep and I started telling him the story, Sprig of Broom. I started at the beginning and was telling him all about it. Half way through my re-telling the story, he stopped me and said, “WAIT” don’t tell me the end, let’s watch it together. I laughed and told him he would have to wait to see Sprig of Broom in movie format because for now it is Susan Whitfield’s historical fiction book. This is a testament to Susan’s great writing skills.
I invite you to relive the story of Count Geoffrey (later known as Geoffrey the Handsome) and step into his shoes as fate will determine if his lady wife Matilda will assume the throne upon her father’s death. Walk the royal Castle halls, smell the stench of common places, cross the English Channel, and observe a proud father as he swaddles his offspring with no knowledge of how history will write about the Plantagenet Kings of England.
Theodocia McLean endorses Sprig Of Broom by Susan Whitfield as a historical fiction woven with threads of history and story telling that draw the reader back to a harsh and mystical time in medieval European history where Kings, Queens, Emperors and Empresses rule, where Dukes, Duchess, Knights, Counts, Princes and Princesses are born and history is written. Sprig of Broom needs to be shared in movie format someday. I purchased and reviewed this book from a Kindle format. This review was completed on September 23, 2015.
Genre: Historical, Fiction