Mahelt Marshal is the third child and oldest daughter of one of the most powerful men in England, William Marshal. Betrothed to Hugh Bigod, heir to the Earl of Norfolk at the age of eleven, and married at fourteen, she has to learn to navigate the waters of not just another powerful family, but the political clime of the times as well. Especially when it seems as though the King has it in for the Marshals.Character: Mahelt is beautifully written, from gangly girl to loving wife, gracious hostess and protective mother. Elizabeth Chadwick describes her emotions and actions so well you feel as if you know Mahelt. And Hugh is almost-perfect, if that ever existed... *grin* An honorable man who seems unable to do wrong, until he heads off to London with the family treasures against Mahelt's advice. And finds out that he really doesn't want to be on the wrong side of her graces.I really really don't like King John, and I feel awful for those caught up in the web of his machinations. And while you don't have to read any of the prior books, I will say that The Scarlet Lion provides insight into William Marshal and what he and his family had to endure to keep his vow of loyalty to the King (even John), and For The King's Favor describes the path trod by Roger Bigod towards regaining and rebuilding his earldom. And the Roger and Ida in this book made me sad to see where their personal lives eventually ended up...Pace & Plot: The plot probably isn't a surprise to any fan of medieval history, but the tale is paced well and told in a clear and realistic voice.This vivid and engrossing tale of a noble daughter's life will draw you in, so set aside a few hours for the reading!