Review: The Time of Singing

In 1173, Roger Bigod is heir to the vast and powerful earldom of Norfolk When his treacherous father, Hugh, loses the family lands and castles in a rebellion against King Henry II, Roger finds himself in reduced circumstances and dogged by a bitter family dispute with his half brother over the remaining crumbs. Whilst trying to resolve the matter, he encounters Ida de Tosney, the King's young mistress. Seduced by Henry, Ida's gaze is now drawn to Roger in whom she sees a chance of lasting security beyond the fickle dazzle of the court. But she has to navigate a careful path between her dearest wishes and the King's reluctance to part with her. Every fulfilled wish has its price, and that price is losing the son she has borne to Henry. When King Richard comes to the throne, Roger is restored to his family's lands and becomes a great earl, and one of the richest men in England. He builds a great castle at Framlingham for himself and for Ida, but life is still riddled with uncertainty as Richard goes on crusade and the men left to govern the country quarrel their way into civil war. Ida struggles to come to terms with their new future...
There are few certainties in life: you will get gray hair, you will eventually turn into your mother and you can't go wrong with an Elizabeth Chadwick book!! I mean this woman is GENIUS at writing medieval novels! You can always expect (and get) brilliance at dialogue, character development and interactions, description of medieval life - the scenes are so beautifully written, just close your eyes and you're there.

There are many literary couples that stay in your mind long after closing the book on their story; Jamie and Claire, Llewelyn and Joanna, and now we can add Roger and Ida. A true love match. Chadwick brings to life one of the most charming love stories from the medieval era as only she can. The best parts of the novel for me were the scenes with Roger, Ida and their family - I don't think I've ever felt so much like a fly on the wall as I did in this novel. The mention of Roger's hats (which EC recently posted about) and Ida's sewing abilities were an extra glimpse into their lives that we as mere readers aren't usually admitted into. I loved that Chadwick included bits about Ida's son, William, growing up at court and the insights into what type of a boy he turned into and then watching William getting acquainted with his mother again was interesting.

There is an added bonus of meeting the studly William Marshall in this novel as well. Eat up ladies!

I highly recommend this novel to um, well, everyone.

Framlingham (home of Roger and Ida Bigod)

Elizabeth Chadwick website.


  1. I'm gald to see you enjoyed this so much! This has been on my TBR list for a while, but first I have to get through The Scarlet Lion and A Place Beyond Courage. Plus, I'm trying to find the best price for it on Amazon UK, since unfortunately US publishers wouldn't know a good book it if hit them in the face! I see you're reading The Venetian Mask right now--look forward to your review on it.

  2. I received three EC novels for Christmas -- they are now in my TBR pile -- I can't wait -- I've heard so many good things about them!

  3. I have a couple EC books in the TBR stack, I'll have to get to them quick!

  4. If anyone can talk readers into picking up a Chadwick novel, it's you! I'm slacking. :(

  5. I may just have to try this author! For some reason I was thinking she was a Christian Fiction author, but perhaps I have her mixed up with another.

    Framlingham was featured in the novel I just read too, A Rose for the Crown.

    I hope you are enjoying The Venetian Mask! I read it last year. There is a good photo gallery with descriptions of the masks at this website:

  6. Katherine...I have those two also on my TBR. I'm thinking I may be having a Chadwick-a-thon soon!

    Lynn & Beth...I can't wait to hear what you ladies think, although I'm pretty sure you're gonna love 'em.

    Michele...get with it chicky, you're wasting precious time.

    Arleigh...Oh, I adored A Rose for the Crown and am so excited for her new one due out in March. I'm enjoying The Venetian Mask...her other novel, To Dance With Kings was wonderful! And thanks for the link - I'll be checking that out - I've been wondering what they look like.

    Michele...yeah...awards! I love awards!

  7. Thank you.. this sounds awesome. I need to sink down into the luxury of a good Historical Fiction book. Great review.

  8. Arleigh, I think you would really like Elizabeth Chadwick's books!

  9. I swear I commented on this already, but obviously not!

    EC is definitely one of those authors that you can rely on for a good read every time!

  10. Ooh I have just ordered this from the book depository in Uk. Elizabeth Chadwick novels are not easy to get in Australia. The Love Knot and The Greatest Knight are faves of mine & The Scarlet Lion & A Place Beyond Courage are on my mammoth TBR list

  11. Just briefly dropping by Amy to say thanks for the wonderful review. I don't know that I'd call myself a genius (she says as she tears her hair out over the page she's currently writing on the WIP) but I'm really pleased you enjoyed Roger and Ida's story.


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