It has been awhile since I have picked up a book such as A Triple Knot by Emma Campion. A Triple Knot tells the story of Joan of Kent, also known as “The Fair Maid of Kent”. Based on historical truths, the novel plunges the reader into the realm of King Edward III and the secrecy, treachery, and flirtatious romance that encompasses the lives of any notable persons. Even as cousin to the king, Joan is not exempt from the control of her royal cousin. As she is used as a pawn for King Edward’s own ambitions, Joan seizes an opportunity to choose her own future. Even after she pledges her vows to one of the king’s favorite knights, she is forced to marry another.
The novel as a whole does an excellent job of bringing to life King Edward’s court. The flirtatious nature and lack of respect towards marriage vows is quite evident in this novel. While there are a few scenes of a bit more racy nature, Campion handles them with taste and does not focus on them. The novel can be applauded for it’s focus on the ties that bring the characters together and immerses the reader in a turbulent setting.
I enjoy historical fiction, and even better is fiction that is based on fact, such as this novel. Joan of Kent is an interesting person, and a number of the other players in the novel are fascinating. As with many events of the era of which this book is set in, there are numerous people involved in each event that occurs. Due to this, I found it difficult to become absorbed in this novel at first. Campion leads off with a lot of back story involving a number of characters. It was quite difficult to keep track of them all and their relationships with each other. Once I muddled through, I was rewarded with the meat of the novel, which was a joy to read. While Campion tells the whole story of Joan’s life her relationship with Thomas Holland takes up the majority of the book. Like the beginning, the end began to feel quite drawn out. While I am glad to have read what happened “next” (so to speak), some of the passion of the novel seemed to disappear. It felt more of a long story with a bit of storytelling thrown in.
Overall, I enjoyed the novel. It was so interesting to read about a person who I am not as familiar with, but definitely has an interesting story to tell. If you enjoy historical fiction (this novel did remind me somewhat of Philippa Gregory’s works), then this is one to be picked up to read.
**I received this book for free from the publisher’s Blogging for Books program in exchange for this review**