THE MORTIMER AFFAIR Joan de Joinville’s Story


Oakworth resident Dr Alison Harrop has just published her second novel  –  “The Mortimer Affair – Joan de Joinville’s Story”  –  being an intriguing account of events leading up to and including the deposition of King Edward II and his alleged murder at Berkeley Castle in 1327.  

Born in Keighley, Alison grew up in East Morton, and uses her maiden name ‘Mitchell’ and her maternal grandmother’s name ‘Alice’ as her pen name when writing.

Her first novel “Instead of Eden”, which won a Betty Task Award, was published by W.H. Allen in 1986.  “It has been a long gap” admitted Alison, who worked for XX years as a medical doctor on The Wirral and in North Wales under her married name of Harrop.  Following the death of her husband, Alison moved back to her roots in Keighley just before ‘Lockdown’ earlier this year.

 “Although I wrote several shorter pieces during my time as a GP, it’s only since retirement that I have been able to focus on this new novel. Whereas my first novel was set in the 1960s and 70s, the period in which I grew up, ‘The Mortimer Affair’ which is set in the fourteenth century, necessitated a great deal of historical research, and has taken me seven years to complete”. 

It has always been popularly alleged that Edward II was murdered by red hot poker whilst a prisoner in Berkeley Castle.  “So much of what we know as history was originally written by the victors in any conflict” said Alison, “So ‘alleged’ is an appropriate word because this is probably not what happened.  I have developed an alternative possibility and you will have to read the book to find out more!

“Roger Mortimer 1st Earl of March, was certainly accused of ordering the murder of King Edward II, becoming the lover of Queen Isabella and the power behind the throne of England for 4 years, during the minority of young King Edward III.  Yet in later years Edward III declared that the accusation of regicide had been made in error, so what did he know, and why has this never been revealed?”

Alison’s novel is told, for the first time, through the eyes of Joan de Joinville, married at the age of 15 to Roger Mortimer.  “Joan was an intelligent, literate noblewoman who had taken no part in her husband’s earlier rebellion against Edward II but was nevertheless subsequently imprisoned for 5 years by King Edward, first in Hampshire, and later in Skipton Castle. Joan is deeply involved in the entire saga as an onlooker.  She endured much hardship and humiliation, but found the courage to survive it all; she must have been a very strong woman” 

The Mortimer Family held lands in Ireland as well as in the Welsh Marches, the border country, so the novel ranges from Wales to Ireland, Scotland and France, and covers a great deal of medieval warfare, including the Battle of Bannockburn (1314), and much political intrigue.  “But in the end it is Joan’s own story”  explains Alison.  “Joan bore her husband Roger Mortimer 12 living children and I particularly enjoyed exploring Joan’s relationships with those children, and the political changes which develop the actions and characters of the leading players”.

The ancestors of Roger and Joan eventually married into two separate family lines which subsequently led in the following century to the Yorkist claim to the English throne and to the kingships of Edward IV and Richard III.

Notes for Editors

To contact Dr Alison Harrop (Alice Mitchell) 


The Mortimer Affair” is available from You Caxton Publications and Amazon at £12.99

“Instead of Eden” is available from Amazon

Link to webpage:

Also available on Amazon as paperback or ebook.