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Monday, August 3, 2009

Hugh and Bess by Susan Higginbotham

Hugh and Bess
Publisher: Sourcebooks Landmark
ISBN: 1402211538
Pages: 304 pgs
Genre: Historical Fiction/England
Challenges-Read’n’Review Challenge, 100+ Reading Challenge

 Publisher’s Description:

"A delightful novel full of chivalry, romance, and real-life terrors."
Historical Novels Review

Forced to marry Hugh le Despenser, the son and grandson of disgraced traitors, Bess de Montacute, just 13 years old, is appalled at his less-than-desirable past. Meanwhile, Hugh must give up the woman he really loves in order to marry the reluctant Bess. Far apart in age and haunted by the past, can Hugh and Bess somehow make their marriage work?

Just as walls break down and love begins to grow, the merciless plague endangers all whom the couple holds dear, threatening the life and love they have built.

Award-winning author Susan Higginbotham's impeccable research will delight avid historical fiction readers, and her enchanting characters will surely capture every reader's heart. Fans of her first novel, The Traitor's Wife, will be thrilled to find that this story follows the next generation of the Despenser family.

My Review:

I reviewed The Traitor's Wife, Higginbotham’s previous book about the le Despenser family, and I was thrilled when I was offered a chance to review the sequel. I love the historical accuracy and depth of story of the first one and had really high expectations for the sequel.

I have to say that as much as I loved The Traitor’s Wife, I loved Hugh and Bess more. I liked Hugh and Bess so much more than Hugh and Eleanor from the previous book. Bess was easier to identify with Eleanor for me. Eleanor had the tendency to allow Hugh to walk all over her and get away with anything. She was more spunky and strong than Eleanor and would have stopped any infidelity on Hugh’s part instead of ignoring it like Eleanor. I also liked this Hugh much more. He was sweet and gentle. He clearly loved his wife and remained faithful to her. Hugh and Bess lacks a bit of the intrigue of the previous book but makes up for it in romance. Hugh and Bess were quite the amazing couple. As much as I loved The Traitor’s Wife, the love between Hugh and Eleanor is not so intense and obvious, at least to me,  but between Hugh and Bess, the love and affection is palpable.

The historical accuracy is amazing in both of Higginbotham’s books. The exhaustive amount of research that went  into these two books makes the story richer and more complex. You really get the feel of the time period while reading. I love it when historical fictions can take you into the time period and Higginbotham is really successful in doing that. I have also seen that some people were spooked because the women are often extremely young when married off but it didn’t bother me at all because when thinking of it in relation to the time period it really made sense to marry that early. Life spans were much shorter in this time period, so, it made sense to marry early. It may, however, creep out some readers.

I would recommend this book to anyone. Of course, I would also recommend that you read The Traitor’s Wife before picking this one up. Hugh and Bess is a wonderful sequel to The Traitor’s Wife but it is also a wonderful book on its own.

*A copy of this book was provided to me by the publisher for review. My opinion is my own and has not been influenced in any way and any monies made from associate or affiliate accounts are recycled back into the blog.


  1. Great review! Also, nice to know it's a sequel because I didn't read the first book. I have this thing about reading books in order : )

  2. what a great review and good to know that it's a sequel. I'll be putting this one on my list :)

  3. Mary: Thanks. I have that same problem. I understand.

    Susan: You're very welcome.

    Karoline: Thanks!

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