Mistress of the Maze: The Legend of Rosamund Clifford – by J.P. Reedman – independent book review – Historical Fiction (England)

This is a short (118 pages) book that retells the story of the most famous of King Henry II‘s mistresses. So, if you know little about her – this might be a good way to learn a bit more. However, it’s a largely superficial look at their story, with little emotion or exploration of their thoughts and motivations. (I gave it two stars on Goodreads.)

For example, it was never clear to me why Henry might have fallen for Rosamund initially, aside from her famous beauty. Or why he set her up in her own household. Or why he found her captivating enough to maintain a multi-year relationship. Or even why Rosamund would fall in love with Henry. He comes across as brutish and bullying.

Their story, in this version, seems shallow, focused largely around their mutual enjoyment of sex. Which is why I consider this more a sequential narration of their story, rather than a fully fleshed out historical novel — a work that explores their inner thoughts and tries to make them multi-dimensional people.

Bottom line – just don’t expect to learn more about or understand this couple any better from reading this book than you would reading Rosamund’s Wikipedia page.

Author J.P. Reedman
(photo from Goodreads)

More about the author.

You may be interested in my review of another novel by J.P. Reedman: My Fair Lady: A Story of Eleanor of Provence.