• The King's Mistress

  • A Novel
  • By: Emma Campion
  • Narrated by: Donada Peters
  • Length: 17 hrs and 53 mins
  • 4.1 out of 5 stars (191 ratings)

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Publisher's Summary

History has not been kind to Alice Perrers, the notorious mistress of King Edward III. Scholars and contemporaries alike have deemed her a manipulative woman who used her great beauty and sensuality to take advantage of an aging and increasingly senile king. But who was the woman behind the scandal? A cold-hearted opportunist - or someone fighting for her very survival?

Like most girls of her era, Alice is taught obedience in all things. At the age of 14 she marries the man her father chooses for her, dutifully accepting the cost of being torn from the family she holds so dear and losing the love of her mother forever. Despite these heartbreaks, Alice finds that merchant Janyn Perrers is a good and loving husband and the two settle into a happy life together. Their bliss is short-lived, however; it unravels the dark day a messenger appears at Alice's door and notifies her of Janyn's sudden disappearance.

In the wake of this tragedy, Alice learns that her husband kept many secrets - secrets that result in a price on her own head and that of her beloved daughter. Her only chance to survive lies in the protection of King Edward and Queen Philippa, but she therefore must live at court as a virtual prisoner. When she is singled out by the king for more than just royal patronage, the stakes are raised. Disobeying Edward is not an option, not when her family is at risk, but the court is full of ambitious men and women, many of whom will stop at nothing to see her fall from grace.

Emma Campion paints a colorful and thrilling portrait of the court of Edward III - with all of its extravagance, scandalous love affairs, political machinations, and murder - and the devastating results of being singled out by the royal family. At the center of the storm is Alice, surviving by her wits in this dangerous world, where the choices are not always of her own making. Emma Campion's dazzling novel shows that there is always another side to the story.

©2010 Emma Campion (P)2010 Random House

Critic Reviews

"A medieval lover's dream novel…the vibrant backdrop and depth of historical details place Campion in the same league as Sharon Kay Penman and Alison Weir." ( Romantic Times)
"A dynamic fictionalization of the life of Alice Salisbury...an empathetic but realistic portrait of a colorful and, if Campion is to be believed, misunderstood woman." ( Publishers Weekly)

What listeners say about The King's Mistress

Average Customer Ratings
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  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars

Good Story

I loved this book. I like when an author takes historical fact (as well as people) and can write a good story around it (think Philippa Gregory novels). There really was a Alice Perrers and it was believed she was the King's mistress. It kept my interest, the narration was superb, the story compelling. I highly recommend this one!

10 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    3 out of 5 stars

guilty as charged.

No, it's not shockingly unique among it's genre. Yes, it was entertaining. Quite frankly, Donada's voice is a gem and she can make anything come alive. This is a tale about a young girl who feels used by the crown in an ancestral way...Wealth is displayed. Plague mentioned. It's all in period costume. What more do you want really. There's even a little titillation here and there...It's not high fiber, but sometimes you need a nice dessert book.

10 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars

Wonderful Book!

This book is a wonderful read! I enjoy historical books that are not dull and academic in it's telling and this one is just the one!! It keeps your interest and makes you want to listen more! I could not commute to work as I do without good books like this one!

6 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars

I LOVE THIS STORY!!

I love anything about old England and the Kings & Queens who lived during these times. The narrator does a great job and the story line is easy to follow. LOVE IT so much I honest feel like I have lived during this time. I would LOVE more books like this.

5 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    2 out of 5 stars
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    3 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    1 out of 5 stars

Not Good

Even though an historical 'novel' - this was far too pretensious for my liking. Too much made up history.

3 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
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    4 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars

I love stories like this

that take a few known facts about a woman so long ago lost in history and give her the voice, her voice, a woman's view, that she deserves.
While I loved the story and the narrator's rich melodic voice, the constant pronunciation of a term we commonly know as a joust (jowst) as (jewst) was jarring at first the irritating as it continued. Now, if that is the pronunciation of the time period, I will apologize.
Many of issues, that continue to this day, of women being seen as chattle, having no voice or choice in their lives or of the children they bear can all be traced back to the middle ages and the so called enlightenment of "man'. I also see the mixing of church and government from the early ages as a catalyst if not the sole reason for this behavior. It is something we still struggle with in this day and age.

I commend the author for the research she did, basing the story on a real life woman and taking her life a bit farther than the research she found. You truly gave her back her voice.

1 person found this helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars

Great Writing and Narration

I happened to start listening to another 'mistress' book by Anne Easter Smith before I started this book but had to stop because I found the writing lacked good dialogue to develop the characters and the narration to be so monotone that I struggled to keep engaged in the content. I flipped over to this book by Emma Campion which is narrated by Donada Peters (who is awesome) and have not been disappointed. The characters are well developed with good dialogue and the narration varies character to character with energy that will keep you completely engaged! I can't wait to make my commute everyday to find out what happens next. If you love historical fiction I feel certain you will enjoy this one!

1 person found this helpful

  • Overall
    2 out of 5 stars
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    2 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    2 out of 5 stars

When does the story start?

I have to say tho book goes on and on and on about absolutely nothing.
I kept waiting for something, anything interesting to happen but after 2 hours I gave up.
Wasted a credit.

1 person found this helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars

Worth a listen

This is a good story. Worth a listen for sure. It kept me entertained. Enjoy

1 person found this helpful

  • Overall
    2 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    2 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    2 out of 5 stars
  • D
  • 05-13-13

Not very interesting.

I could not stay attached to the story. Also, the narrator's voice seemed a little too mature for the main character; as well as being a little harsh in tone. I did not finish it.

1 person found this helpful