The Love Knot

Catherine Darby, Author St. Martin's Press $16.95 (240p) ISBN 978-0-312-04996-6
Although one of the players in this charming 15th-century romantic roundelay is Geoffrey Chaucer, pictured as a nettlesome poet, we learn little about him. Instead, in the recollections of his wife, Philippa de Roet, we hear of her youthful desire for and seduction by the royal John of Gaunt. Of noble lineage, Philippa and her younger sister, Katherine, are orphans, survivors of the plague. Given shelter first by the Chaucer family, and then taken under the protection of the court, the girls are separated--Philippa is appointed a demoiselle of the royal household, Katherine is assigned to a convent tutelage. As the young women mature and eventually are reunited, it is the lusty and married Prince John who impregnates both, opting to acknowledge the arrangement with Katherine, and providing Philippa with marriage to the stocky poet, who observes the scene with dry humor and civility (Philippa's description of the union: ``Oh we rub along together very comfortably''). The facts of the Chaucer marriage and the tangled royal amours are interpreted with elan, although a stronger light on the enigmatic Chaucer would have been welcome. This is the first of English novelist Darby's books to be published here. (Mar.)
Reviewed on: 01/01/1991
Release date: 01/01/1991
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