I've been tagged by Lady D for a post on A Writerly Life, but I've changed it slightly, to keep it on-topic (as everything I write on this blog has to be related to Edward II!)
Fiction about Edward II I like:
Brenda Honeyman's The King's Minions and The Queen and Mortimer: absolutely my two favourite Edward II novels. Beautifully written, touching and sympathetic to both Edward II and Isabella - something you rarely see - with great characterisations and lovely touches of humour.
Susan Higginbotham's The Traitor's Wife: a big, beautiful novel covering the period 1306 to 1337, seen through the eyes of Eleanor de Clare. Historically accurate, and a great perspective on Edward II by one of the people who knew him best.
Chris Hunt's Gaveston: Hunt has a great talent for description, and the love affair between Edward II and Piers Gaveston is vivid and fantastically well written. Moving, one of the most historically accurate novels I've ever read, and with lots of hot sex scenes. :-)
Juliet Dymoke's The Lion of Mortimer. Although the title is very misleading - the main characters are three generations of the Montacute family, not the Mortimers - a very nice, if short, dramatisation of Edward's reign, also with some lovely characterisations.
Paul Doherty's Cup of Ghosts, a murder mystery set in 1307 and 1308. A great, and very unusual, portrayal of Edward and Isabella's relationship - I don't want to describe it here, in case I ruin the plot for people who haven't read the novel - and a lovely Piers Gaveston too.
The She-Wolf by Pamela Bennetts: unusually, this one begins in 1325, and while this choice necessitates a lot of flashbacks and exposition to get the reader up to speed with the situation, it's a powerfully-written novel of hatred, jealousy, revenge, lust and madness.
Edward II Fiction I don't like (much):
Edith Felber's Queen of Shadows: Isabella, the proto-feminist, constantly moans about women being subject to men, and tells everyone "I am queen!" and refers to her husband as "Edward, the king" approximately every five pages, which gives the unfortunate impression that the other characters are suffering from amnesia and can't remember who Edward and Isabella are for more than about ten minutes. Also very inaccurate in places, though I do really like the depiction of Edward (except for the completely untrue statements that he committed atrocities in Wales and murdered Jewish people).
Notorious and Infamous by Virginia Henley, two romances set in Edward II's era. The most risible 'As you know, Bob' dialogue I've ever read, and deeply offensive portrayals of gay men. Bleugh. Just thinking about it makes me feel ill.
Harlot Queen by Hilda Lewis. I have mixed feelings about this one. It most unfairly accuses Edward II of cowardice at Bannockburn - that'd be the man who "fought like a lion" (Trokelowe) and who "struck out so vigorously behind him with his mace there was none whom he touched that he did not fell to the ground" (Scalacronica), then? Some weird characterisations too, for example the younger Despenser, who is all swishy and camp with girlish hips, yet also a brutal wife-beater. Still, the ending is terrific. Unlike most Edward II novels, he survives after 1327, and the last scene has Edward and Isabella finally achieving, umm, closure (to use a horrible modern word) on their relationship many years after his deposition - which is deeply moving.
Alice Walworth Graham's The Vows of the Peacock: narrated by the earl of Warwick's daughter Elisabeth (with an 's' for some reason) Beauchamp, one of Isabella's attendants, who manages to be the same age as the queen (i.e., born about 1295) even though her parents, historically, didn't marry until 1309. The novel gets bogged down in waaaaay too much description, and the odd choice of narrator means that we only read about most of the exciting events of the era second-hand.
Maurice Druon's The She-Wolf of France. Almost all the characters - at least the English ones -are ugly and contemptible, and also really boring. Poor Edward is shrieky, tantrumy and apparently deformed physically, while poor Isabella has 'little carnivore's teeth' (???). Too much telling and not nearly enough showing, relationships very weirdly portrayed by a man who seems to have no understanding of how human emotions work, and the dialogue is laughably bad. Yes, it's translated from the French, but I can't imagine that Edward's dying words "Oh you brutes, you brutes, you shan't kill me!" sound any better in the original. Crap dialogue is crap dialogue, whatever the language. I dislike this novel so much it's the only Edward II book I've ever given away.
Edward II non-fiction I like:
Caroline Bingham's The Life and Times of Edward II. Published in 1973 and a little dated now, and not always totally accurate, but a great overview of Edward's reign and sympathetic to him, while not glossing over his many faults and mistakes. It's also lavishly illustrated. A great book for the non-expert to learn about Edward II.
Harold F. Hutchison's Edward II: The Pliant King. For a book published in 1971, surprisingly advanced in its discussion of Edward's (presumed) sexuality. You get the feeling that Hutchison really likes Edward and is very sympathetic towards him, although he doesn't whitewash him.
J. R. S. Phillips' Aymer de Valence, earl of Pembroke 1307-1324: Baronial Politics in the Reign of Edward II. Very academic - it's based on the author's doctoral thesis - but extremely readable, with lots of great information. I come back to this one again and again. Ditto J. R. Maddicott's Thomas of Lancaster 1307-1322: A Study in the Reign of Edward II.
Michael Prestwich's Plantagenet England 1225-1360. A big, gorgeous book, extremely readable, covering political, social and economic history. The kind of book you can read cover to cover - all 600 pages of it - or dip in and out of.
Non-fiction I'm not so mad about:
Paul Doherty's Isabella and the Strange Death of Edward II, a gripping account of Edward and Isabella's marriage and Edward's survival, but with numerous sloppy errors and an unconvincing depiction of Isabella as an evil bitch-queen who wanted Edward dead and never gave him a second thought after his deposition (which is demonstrably not true).
Natalie Fryde's Tyranny and Fall of Edward II 1321-1326. Very useful in many ways, but the author never passes up a chance to sneer at Edward - why anyone would write an entire book about someone they obviously don't like baffles me - and full of silly errors. Much of it is so dry and scholarly that even I, more obsessed with every aspect of Edward's reign than most people on the planet and with two degrees in medieval history to boot, can't read it without my eyes glazing over.