Recipient of a starred Kirkus review in 1957, this fictionalized twin portrait of teenage Richard II and his child bride, Isabelle of Valois, still shines—more so for at least some of the historical matter added to this digital edition.
In the course of an extended, high-friction romance with a noble younger son who throws in his lot with the usurping future King Henry IV, lady-in-waiting Isabella Clinton witnesses or reports on tumultuous events both in England and at the French royal court during and after Richard’s truncated reign. Some “enhancements” don’t enhance much, among them (dispensable) family trees and a background essay drawn from Wikipedia, plus distracting bolded words in the narrative (“I must be schooled in the courtesies of my breeding”) linked to a glossary. But several dozen inserted, mostly color, illustrations ranging from old prints and manuscript illuminations to modern photos of artifacts do extend the original edition’s rough line drawings to offer evocative (if not always exactly period) glimpses of the era’s figures, fashions and frivolities.
Uneven in value the new tweaks may be, but they do add luster to a tale that well merits a new generation of readers. (new list of recommended websites and videos added to the old bibliography) (Enhanced e-book/historical fiction. 12-14)