A Dubious Price, a Dubious Inheritance
Would you buy an ex-library copy of Pamela Hill's 1999 novel Countess Isabel for $175 off eBay?
I bought a copy of this one when it first came out, for around $35 (US equivalent of the list price). Robert Hale titles seem to have very small print runs, as they sell mainly to libraries, so they become collector's items fairly quickly. The heroine of Countess Isabel is Isabel de Warenne (1137-1199), a 12th century heiress who married first William of Blois, son of King Stephen, and secondly Hamelin, illegitimate son of Geoffrey Plantagenet and half-brother of Henry II. A little-known historical woman with connections to two of England's most powerful men; a perfect subject for a novel these days.
Generally I enjoy Pamela Hill's novels, and I remember enjoying this one, though I don't recall all the details of the storyline - it's been five years since I read it. But one thing I do recall is the author's seeming need to advance her theory that Isabel was a great-granddaughter of William the Conqueror through his daughter, Gundred, who married William de Warenne, Earl of Surrey. She mentioned this relationship at least a few times in the novel, and you can find it documented through many personal genealogies posted on the Internet. However, Gundred's connection to King William has been proven false. Some 19th century historians have written tracts about Gundred being the daughter of an earlier marriage of Queen Matilda's. This is equally false. I'm unsure why Hill kept insisting on this familial relationship for her heroine, Isabel; I don't recall its making any difference to her larger storyline, and her life was interesting enough in itself. Should anyone have further information about this dubious relationship, please comment.
So, make of this novel what you will. And if you can't afford the $175 that that seller is charging, why not buy it from him for$70 instead?