Historical romance meets period history

A Review of The Importance of Sons

Estimated reading time: 2 minutes

Cover of The Importance of Sons by Keira Morgan

Historical romance meets period history… love and hate, power and corruption, fear and jealousy. This feels like Tudor England but is a leap into Renaissance France through the lens of powerful women hobbled by patriarchy, a prequel to Morgan’s The Importance of Pawns.

The ambitious and manipulative Louise returns as a young mother impatient for the promise of a prophesy. Her rival is the Breton Duchesse, Anne, who offers herself in marriage to protect the political survival of her people only to see it corroded by her husband, King of France.

These are two women with intelligence, in aristocratic roles without power. Mothers to children birthed to rule. Alienated from their natural instincts and obstructed from their abilities. Surrounded by wealth and privilege and yet locked in relationships defined by ancient customs of court and monarchy. Their needs and instincts about their bodies, birthing, and motherhood form a backdrop to the issues women face throughout history, reminding us that even queens were not owners of their own wombs.

Patriarchy rules, but these women are far from insipid statues at the whim of their male counterparts. They are vibrant and textured rulers in their own right with claws and talons into the backside of politics as it is unfolding. Two strong women facing the same obstacles, but enemies to one another. One we love to hate. The other so wise we wish she could rule.

Morgan dismantles the frustrations of their apparent powerlessness and imagines their actions with a compelling and steady sympathy. Her confidence with the material and her careful weaving of fact with fiction is a speedy transport into Renaissance France. With the addition of fresh terms unfamiliar to the English ear in a prose that is clear and direct, history’s facts provide a plot with high stakes tensions. There is no doubt who we, as readers, want to succeed. But we know all along that war, death, and disease have no political allegiance. Who will rise and who will fail?

Historical romance meets period history: a Review of The Importance of Sons

—Reviewed by aJbishop, author of Darcy’s Education of Miss Elizabeth Bennet

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