The Canterbury Papers

J

udith Koll Healey

This historical novel opens in the year 1200. Alais Capet, once in line for the throne, is a middle-aged spinster, an aging Princess of France who lives in Paris at the mercy of her brother and his court. Her youthful betrothal to Richard the Lionheart, King of England, was never consummated and Alais blames her stepmother, Queen Eleanor of Aquitaine. (Richard married another, selected by Eleanor). All the bitterness she felt over the failed betrothal returns with the arrival of a letter from her stepmother that contains an outrageous demand and a promise.

The demand: That Alais retrieve letters that Eleanor had written to Thomas Becket, long hidden in the wall of Canterbury Cathedral. In return the Queen is willing to give her estranged stepdaughter information on a child Alais believed dead, the love child of her youth. The letter sets Alais on a journey and adventure that transforms her life.

A masterful blend of history and imagination, the often-mysterious events in this novel are based upon a situation that was hinted at in the chronicles of the time, but never elaborated upon or proved.

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Click here to read reviews for Judith Koll Healey's 2nd novel in this series: "The Rebel Princess"